"BLOGGING ALONG" with Joyce Knock

Walk with me on my journey!


February 2016

ME? A 2nd book!

I am MOST fortunate to be  a member of a group of writers called the DW TEAM……headed by Matt Davenport.  The TEAM’s mission is to find out what works, share it with the TEAM and  support each other!!!    Matt encouraged me to write another book  and he provided  direction in helping me decide the book’s story line.

This whole “author thing”   is a surreal experience for me at times. First I write my first book in 2006 when I was volunteering in my grandson Levi’s 1st grade classroom.  And… ONLY  took almost 10 years to get it published.  And, here I am in 2016 and I am on the cusp of having a 2nd book published.

My 2nd book entitled “I am kinda shy and quiet.  Is something wrong with me?” is in the proof reading stage and will soon be published! I am very excited!!      ###


Name calling..harmless or NOT!

February 24, 2016

Kids calling other kids names.  Harmless, part of growing up or damaging words that can affect a child in many damaging ways?

Adults  calling children names. Adults calling other adults names.  Okay? Who cares?

Comments?  ####

Is there anything wrong with me?

February 19, 2016

To date I have read my book, “I am NOT dumb and I am NOT a stinky butt!” to over 700 Kdg.-2nd graders in the Des Moines Elementary Schools.  The week I read it 12 times reminded me why I am in “retirement of sorts”.   However, it has been a FUN and EXCITING experience that  I have been allowed to share my book with  so many wonderful children….they have been GREAT listeners!!  I have learned a great deal from those 5-8 olds and they have touched my heart! How could you not love a child who says, “you’re nice” and then gives you a big hug!!

Thank goodness for   ALL the caring and hard working teachers and counselors who create a caring and productive learning environmentfor these children. For many children I believe that their   time spent at school  is the most accepting, kind, and safe time of their day.  Their  teachers  wear many hats…counselor, parent, listener, “giving hugs person” and support and caring person.  AND…in the  meantime they are attempting to teach these young students to read and write.  Among those over 700 students are a fair number of students who do NOT speak English [1 school had 70 ESL students], have serious emotional  issues and some are so needy for attention that their behavior is often not appropriate for the classroom.  It is said that those that need to be loved or cared for the MOST often exhibit the MOST inappropriate beaviors in order to get some attention.  

Among these  700 hundred students there are also MANY students who  are either very quiet or  shy.  They are often very soft spoken and because they are quiet do not always demand or receive the needed attention they need and deserve. Thy are “good kids who just happen to be a quiet person.”

In an earlier blog I spoke about the quiet and shy child and I asked the question “Do we need to change them?”  My answer  to that question will be in the form of my 2nd book entitled, “I am kinda quiet and shy.  Is there something wrong with me?”   This book will also feature Billy as the main character as he acknowledges that he is shy and quiet and  questions whether something is wrong with him.  I think YOU will enjoy his story!

Purchase date for the book will be SOON!!  Watch for it!  ###


Shy kids: Change them?

Note:  The terms White and Black will be used in the following writing because that is the wording used by the Des Moines School District in their reporting.

Over the past few weeks I have read my book “I am NOT dumb and I am NOT a stinky butt!” to hundreds of children ages 5 to 9 in kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade. Each reading was a new and different experience.  In  one school  the racial breakdown was 50% White, 30% Hispanic and 10% Black.  In another the breakdown was 68% Black, 15% Hispanic and 5% White. All were children having their first experiences in a  school setting. Some were talkative while others were rather  quiet and shy.

Hence my  question.  Shy and quiet kids: Should we change them? 

Please enter the discussion and leave some comments!  THANKS!    ###

Reading and learning to read! Lessons learned!

February 10, 2016

The week’s highlights!

  • READ “I am NOT dumb and I am NOT a stinky butt!” to 9 sections of students in kindergarten – 2nd grade.  THANKS to a grant from the Ronald McDonald Charities I was able to donate 77 books to students, teachers, counselors and librarians.  Was thankful  for ALL the counselors and teachers who greet these students DAILY with hugs, conversation and open acceptance!  Comments by students were:  “You are nicer than I thought you would be!” “My mother calls me a baby all the time and I just hate it!”  “Do you know who wrote that book you read?”  “On my bus it is the 5th graders and a 4th grader that are the bullies….and the bus driver doesn’t  know what is going on.” “Someone called me the “b” word.”

  • Met with my 76 year old adult student who is improving his reading [currently 2nd grade level] through the Drake Literacy Program.  I am so proud of him and his willingness to learn…he is doing a geat job of learning new words and decoding others!  And I love his determination to keep learning!!!

  • What I have learned this week!  I was reminded…..that when I give something of myself to others  it replaces the sadness that I  feel and  and helps to heal my broken heart!    ###

Tragedy + “my book” = A new life!

In 2014  my life  changed  in ways I could never have imagined. On September 21 the tragic  death of my beloved grandson, Levi,  brought me to my knees and my life came to an utter standstill.  Thinking, walking, eating, and sleeping  became  painful and seemingly unbearable  struggles each day.  My soul was so heavy with grief that at times  even breathing was a challenge resulting in  numerous anxiety attacks.

What today seems ironic is that just a few weeks prior to that unimaginable day I had begun the task of getting my “unpublished book” published.  At the time I never  imagined  that Levi’s death and my “unpublished book”  would ever be connected.  However, the sale profits from my published book + donations provide the funding for the Levi Knock “pay it forward” Foundation created in Levi’s memory.

My heart still feels broken and a part of my soul will always grieve  the loss of that dearly loved and cherished young man.    However my life journey has taken on a new direction and meaning….one that is helping to heal my inner soul!   ####






I was a bit naive!

Did it really take me 10 years to get my  book pubished?   After writing “I am NOT dumb and I am NOT a stinky butt!”  I had numerous opportunites to read  it to  classes at Clive Elementary School.    Encouraged by the positive reception from 1st graders I decided to reach out to publishing companies to determine which of them would want to publish my book.  A bit naive….you think?

After what I thought was sufficient research and planning I penned several letters to noted publishing houses providing them with the necessary information about my book.  Patiently I waited for what I thought would be their most certain positive responses.    Quickly I begin  to realize that these publishing houses were NOT as impressed with my book as I was.  In the following months  I received numerous kindly written rejection letters, the “dear johns of the writing world” and heard NOTHING from many others.  Slowly I came to the realization and acceptance that my book was probably not going to rise beyond its primitive “unpublished form.”  Reluctantly accepting the reality of my book’s unpromising future the book  was tossed into a drawer.   On occasion, when tidying up my work space,  I would read it again  and fantasize about the book’s future.                              ###




The 1st published author!

My book, “I am NOT dumb and I am NOT a stinky butt” was written….NOT published….when my grandson, Levi, was in 1st grade.  I was helping his teacher, Micah Rayner, publish books the students had written in class.  Levi’s book , “How To Make A Flashlight”, a step by step manual describing the process he used to make a flashlight, was the only “published Knock family” book that year!

So why did it take almost 10 years before my book was published?  That is a very good question!   ####



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