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Knock Knock: Daniel Beaty and Bryan Collier’s 2014 BGHB PB Honor Speech

Knock KnockRemarks delivered by editor Alvina Ling.

On behalf of Daniel Beaty and Bryan Collier, I’d like to accept this honor for Knock Knock: My Dad’s Dream for Me.

Thank you to Roger Sutton and to the committee — Nina, Claire, and Amy — for recognizing this quiet, serious, fairly dark, but ultimately uplifting book. Awards for books like this can be especially important — this is a book that can be seen as fairly niche, although sadly perhaps not as niche as it should be, considering its subject matter of absentee fathers.

As many of you probably know, this book came to be because Bryan Collier saw Daniel Beaty’s powerful spoken-word poetry performance of “Knock Knock” on YouTube. If you haven’t seen this yourself, you simply must — it’s raw, and powerful, and beautiful, much like the book it inspired. It was an autobiographical poem inspired by Daniel’s childhood growing up without his incarcerated father. Bryan loved the poem’s message of hope, of not letting the past define our future, and he contacted Daniel about the possibility of working together. When Bryan brought me the poem and introduced me to Daniel, I immediately saw the potential, and the rest is history.

It’s been such a pleasure and inspiration working with Daniel and Bryan on Knock Knock, and we’ve been so honored and awestruck by the amazing reception it’s received.

Daniel and Bryan are sorry to not be with all of us today. They say:

Thank you to the members of the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award committee for their hard work and recognition of our book Knock Knock.

We would love to be there and celebrate with all of you, but other commitments have taken us away. However, you are in our hearts and we are with you in spirit. Love, Bryan Collier and Daniel Beaty.

Thank you.

For more on the 2014 Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards, click on the tag BGHB14. Read Bryan Collier’s 2014 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award speech for Knock Knock.

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