Bibliographic Info: Beaty, Daniel (author), Collier, Bryan (illustrator) Knock Knock: My Dad’s Dream for Me Little, Brown and Company (2013) Format: Hardcover: ISBN 978-0-316-20917-5 40pp $18.00 Reading Level / Grade Level Equivalent: 3 Interest Level: 3-8 Genre: Realistic Fiction Major Themes: African-Americans, Emotional Development, Fathers, Separation, Realistic Fiction
Summary: A boy whose father has gone missing finds inner strength after receiving an advice-filled letter from his absent parent.
Review: This celebrated and award-winning picture book about a boy’s unexplained separation from his father is emotionally moving and poignant. It’s major theme, coming to terms with the loss of a beloved parent, is universal. The text is beautifully portrayed in watercolors and collage. An advice-filled letter from his father is transformed into a paper airplane motif and threaded throughout the story. This motif simultaneously communicates both nurturing support and inspiration. Being denied a parent is an extremely traumatic experience for any child to overcome. This inspirational picture book shows the love that parents can instill in young children, and the courage that children may find in themselves to achieve their dreams.
Bibliotherapeutic Usefulness: For the child who has experienced the denial of a parent, Knock Knock: My Dad’s Dream for Me may be useful in helping him or her come to terms with this difficult loss. While the book’s premise is about a tragic circumstance, the text and illustrations possess the emotional power to encourage strength in adversity.
Significance: The author is an award-winning writer, performer, and educator. According to his website, Daniel Beaty’s purpose is “transforming pain to power.” His encouraging children’s books have been shared across the globe. Beaty has performed at The White House and The Kennedy Center.
Storytime: Knock Knock: My Dad’s Dream for Me is appropriate for older grade school children (3rd grade and up). The story is a good choice for a read aloud to introduce a teaching unit about separation and loss. The story may be used to inspire group discussion of its theme.
Awards: 2014 Coretta Scott King Award winner for Illustration, 2014 Boston Globe-Horn Book Picture Book Honor Book, 2013 Parents’ Choice Award Winner for Picture Books, ALSC Notable Children’s Book, Notable Children’s Book in the English Language Arts, Children’s Book Committee at Bank Street College Best Books of the Year, A Huffington Post Best Picture Book of the Year
I chose to review this book because it has a profound ending.
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Written by Tom Schween, founder of storytimeWOW! Posts include links to Amazon.com where you may purchase the materials presented. Use your local library to check out books for free.