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CHILDREN WITH ABSENT PARENTS
Knock Knock: My Dad’s Dream for Me
By Daniel Beaty

Reviewed by Chrysanthius Lathan


Home > Archives > Volume 29 No.2 - Winter 2014/2015

Reviewed by Chrysanthius LathanAdd to Cart Purchase a PDF of this article

Knock Knock: My Dad’s Dream for Me
By Daniel Beaty
Illustrated by Bryan Collier
(Little, Brown and Company, 2013)

Recently, while browsing Facebook and procrastinating, I came across a disdainful post shared by a friend. It was a bashing of a picture book about a kid’s father going to jail. Bunny rabbits were the main characters. People went wild. “Why are the bunny rabbits brown?” one person demanded. “Having kids tell family business,” another griped. “Can our kids just have normal picture books without being reminded that their dad is gone?” another person asked. My reply: “Why not let them know they’re not alone in this world?”

The first poem I ever had my middle school students listen to was a live performance of “Knock Knock,” by Daniel Beaty. By the end of the poem, they were speechless. But, boy, did they have lots of words and tears to share on paper! It turned out that each and every child had a common thread with Beaty—needing love, guidance, and presence from a parent. Many of them shared another thread with Beaty: They were searching for the courage to find themselves and grow despite parental absence. “Have you ever shared this with anyone?” I asked them. “No, we can’t,” they replied. “Family business.”



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