Knock Knock; My dad's dream for me (2013) from Little, Brown, and Company is a beautiful story told well both through Beaty's writing and Collier's illustrations. A young boy shares his joy of his father's presence in his life; their morning routine and what his dad means to him. And my first thought was "how nice, the book is going to share the loving relationship between dad and child." Did not happen; dad is suddenly gone and the young boy is sad, misses his dad. He writes his feelings down for his dad in a letter and leaves it on his desk. I loved this illustration as Collier sends the boy flying up into the sky, searching for his father, on his paper airplane letter.
I was left wondering what happened to this daddy and because of that, as a reader, I was even more affected. I missed the dad too; I could feel the son's confusion and loneliness. Dad answers the son back in an letter on his desk, telling the young boy that he is sorry he can't be there too and gives hiim important growing up instructions and we see the son emerge as a young man, wearing his father's ties, maturing into a man.
This story stunned me because I teach all these wide-eyed beautiful children, many of whom have something in common with this young man; they miss their dads. They easily talk about it often blurting it out during story time or when the topic of family comes up. "My dad's in jail." "My dad doesn't live with me." "I don't have a dad." My heart shudders for them. Ive read other books about loss to my students but this one sends forth a more raw emotional connection between the reader and the father/child relationship.
End notes are included for both illustrator and author and Beaty writes that his father was his caregiver until he was incarcerated. I think it is easy to feel that emotion throughout the book. I received my copy from the publisher and still my thoughts on this book are my own. Always.