Knock Knock

Knock Knock9780316209175_p0_v1_s260x420Knock Knock: My Dad’s Dream For Me

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.


About Patricia Tiltonhttps://childrensbooksheal.wordpress.comI want "Children's Books Heal" to be a resource for parents, grandparents, teachers and school counselors. My goal is to share books on a wide range of topics that have a healing impact on children who are facing challenges in their lives. If you are looking for good books on grief, autism, visual and hearing impairments, special needs, diversity, bullying, military families and social justice issues, you've come to the right place. I also share books that encourage art, imagination and creativity. I am always searching for those special gems to share with you. If you have a suggestion, please let me know.

31 thoughts on “Knock Knock

    • I loved this book! Although any child dealing with a separation can find comfort in the story, it is really a great book for kids who have a parent in jail. We need more books for kids with absent parents — especially those that are incarcerated.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Wow! Thank you for sharing this one. I’ve just added it to our bookstore’s next order. So often we have someone come into the shop and say “I’m looking for a book about….” and you can fill in the blank and it always feels great when we have just the right title. We have one book about this topic, The Night Dad Went to Jail ( but what I like about Knock Knock is that the reason the father is gone is left untold, which allows for a much wider audience.

    By the way… the other day we didn’t have a good answer when someone asked “Do you have a picture book about Cerebral Palsy?” So, I’m on the lookout in case anyone has a good suggestion.


    • As always, I appreciate your thoughtful comments. Yes, I fell in love with this book! You will too. The illustrations are beautiful and the text is brilliant. I agree, there is such a need for a book like KNOCK KNOCK. I like that the story can help many children dealing with separation. But, I really liked that it was based on the author’s own experience with an incarcerated parent — so few books out there. And, I reviewed the Night Dad Went to Jail.

      I’ve been searching to for a PB on mild cerebral palsy, because there are a lot of kids who wear leg braces and could benefit from a book that is tailored to their issue. Many of the books are about kids in wheel chairs, and are okay. I have found a YA novel about a girl with cerebral palsy that I plan to read soon. It’s self-published. Let me know if you find any PBs.


  2. I see lots of Wows!! in the comments and I’m adding to them – Wow! What a powerful presentation! That video knocked me flat. I have seen this book and Love the cover. It’s on my want list, but you have given it a whole new dimension. Thanks Ms Tilton.


  3. I was moved to read about this book and to hear the author talk about his experience with such conviction. Many children deal with abandonment issues (and many adults as well). This is a healing book in many ways.


  4. Oh that second line in your synopsis is heartbreaking, but I imagine it is for a child dealing with loss. Love that there are books like this to help children nourish their hope. Thanks, Patricia.


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