my dad's dream for me
Boston Globe/Horn Book Picture Book Honor, 2014
Fathers and sons
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It was the same every morning. The boy would pretend to be sleeping when his father went “Knock Knock” on the door. Then he’d “surprise” his father by leaping into his arms once he came in the room. That is, until the day his father didn’t knock anymore. The man is simply gone, poof! Like he was never there at all. Bewildered and lost, the boy writes his father a letter and leaves it on his desk in the desperate hope that maybe his dad’s in the apartment when the boy’s not home. He tells his dad that he was hoping that when he got older he’d teach him how to dribble a ball or shave or drive or fix a car even. Then, one day, there’s a letter from his father sitting on the desk. “I am sorry I will not be coming home,” it begins. It then proceeds to encourage the boy to seek his own path and grow to manhood without him. “Knock Knock with the knowledge that you are my son and you have a bright, beautiful future.” Years later when the boy has grown, his father returns to him. In his Author’s Note, Daniel Beaty discusses the effect his own father’s incarceration had on him when he was only three. As he puts it, “This experience prompted me to tell the story of this loss from a child’s perspective and also to offer hope that every fatherless child can still create the most beautiful life possible.”
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