In the November/December 2013 Horn Book Magazine, reviewer Robin Smith asked author Daniel Beaty about making his own childhood experience relatable to many readers in his picture book Knock Knock. Read the review here.
Robin L. Smith: Your own story is so specific — your dad was in jail — but we never find out what happened to the father in the book. Why not?
Daniel Beaty: My goal in not specifying the reason for the father’s absence was to create space for as many children as possible to find themselves in the story. Ultimately, I believe the experience of abandonment, regardless of the reason, creates similar feelings of confusion, fear, and loneliness for children. I wanted Knock Knock to inspire children and families to know that even with an absent parent, they can still find tremendous joy and create extraordinary lives.