Daniel Beaty, Author
Bryan Collier, Illustrator
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, Fiction, Dec. 17, 2013
Suitable for Ages: 4-8
Themes: Fatherless sons, Separation, Loss, Hope
Opening: Every morning, I play a game with my father. He goes KNOCK KNOCK on my door, and I pretend to be asleep till he gets right next to the bed. Then I get up and jump into his arms. “Good morning, Papa!” And my papa, he tells me, “I love you.” We share a game…KNOCK KNOCK.
Synopsis: Every morning a boy plays a game with his father. Then one day the knock doesn’t come. The boy’s father is gone and is not there to help him get ready for school, cook his breakfast or help him with homework. One day he finds a letter from is father on the desk in his room. His father is sorry that he won’t be coming home and gives hims advice “for every lesson I will not be there to teach you.” He encourages his son to “KNOCK KNOCK down the doors that I could not.”
Why I like this book: Daniel Beaty’s powerful storyline is based on his own experience as a child when his father is incarcerated. In writing this heart-wrenching story, Beaty doesn’t indicate where the father in KNOCK KNOCK has gone. Many children who have an absent father due to incarceration, divorce, abandonment, military deployments and death, will identify with this story. Even though the story is sad, it is also about love, survival, and hope. Beaty’s text is simple and lyrical. The plot is engaging and moving. The last few pages are filled with inspirational words from the father. Bryan Collier’s stunning illustrations are done in watercolor and collage and support the sentiment of the text.
Daniel Beaty is an award-winning writer, performer, educator and empowerment expert. KNOCK KNOCK has won the Huffington Post Best Picture Book of the Year, the Boston Globe-Horn Books Award Honor and the ALSC Notable Children’s Book Award. You can visit Beaty’s website here.
Bryan Collier has illustrated more than 25 picture books, including the award-winning Dave the Potter and Fifty Cents and a Dream. He has received three Caldecott Honors and five Coretta Scott King Award, including the 2014 Coretta Scott King Award for KNOCK KNOCK. You can visit Collier’s website here.