Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Knock Knock: My Dad’s Dream for Me

Beaty, Daniel (Author)
Collier, Bryan (Illustrator)
Little, Brown 2013. 40 pages
First published: 2013
ISBN: 9780316209175 (hardcover)
9780316400947 (e-book)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

character, figurative language

Award

Boston Globe-Horn Honor Book – 2014

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

Every morning, an African-American boy and his father play a game of Knock Knock. His dad taps on the bedroom door, where his son pretends to be asleep, until his father approaches and is right beside him, then he jumps into his dad’s loving arms. One day the knock does not come. The father disappears and the boy struggles to make sense of his loss. A letter finally arrives, encouraging the boy to turn his trials into triumphs, despite his grief.

Based on a spoken-word poem by the author that delivers an incredibly powerful message about his real-life father’s disappearance due to incarceration, this adaptation is appropriate for younger readers. Filled with a message of hope, children are guided through ways to transform sadness into strength: “KNOCK KNOCK to open new doors to your dreams. KNOCK KNOCK for me, for as long as you become your best, the best of me still lives in you.”

Full bleed watercolour and collage illustrations are emotive and potent, following the journey of a joyous boy into a passage of sadness, where his rainbow is turned upside down. The sky is a darker shade of blue and the buildings a patchwork of confusion. Dream-like imagery enters, with the father superimposed across the page and the son walking a path toward a better future.

An author’s note at the back helps contextualize the autobiographical loss to which the book refers.

  •  

    Share personal experiences of games and rituals you share or have shared with a parent, like the Knock Knock game in the story.

  •  

    As you read, discuss details in the text and illustrations that reveal how the protagonist is affected by his father's absence.

  •  Notice the hat in the illustrations. Why do you think the illustrator chose to include it in images throughout the story?
  •  

    Discuss the meaning of the stanza, “for as long as you become your best, the best of me still lives in you.” Create an illustration of your future self that represents your hopes and dreams.

  •  

    Go for a picture walk and make predictions about the story. Discuss the artwork.

  •  

    Discuss the dreams that our parents have for us. Make a class list of these dreams.

  •  

    At home, ask a parent or a caregiver what dreams they have for your future. Choose one of the wishes to create a picture in the same collage style as in the book. Add a sentence to your picture. Group everyone’s pictures together to create a classroom quilt.

  • To construct his/her identity
  • Health and Well-Being
  • Personal and Career Planning