Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Through My Window

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Through My Window

It's hard for me to believe that one of my favourite children's books in the world, one that I grew up on and read practically everyday, is turning 30: Through My Window, one of the first books (if not the first) featuring an interracial family living in a multicultural urban community, and even a stay at home dad.

Written by Tony Bradman and Eileen Brown, the book features the mixed-race Jo who stays with her dad (of European descent) at home waiting for her mother (of African descent) to arrive from work on a day she's not feeling well. There's no discussion about the origins of this dynamic (should there be?)--that is, dynamics of gender, culture, race, mixed-race, that the authors feel need to be explained to a child's young mind. There is simply a beautiful tale about a family who is radical without knowing it. To top it off, Jo's mother brings her a present at day's end: a doctor's kit, complete with mini white coat. A truly empowering story even to revisit today.

There have been several disempowering events happening these days in Canada, particularly for women, and I think it's important to sometimes return to the fundamental things that once reminded us of how to create and maintain hope and look forward to the future, to keep looking through the window and try to find something new…even on our sick days.

And of course to keep imagining. A life lesson that never gets old.

You can read more about the historic book here.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

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Adebe DeRango-Adem

Adebe DeRango-Adem is a writer and doctoral student at the University of Pennsylvania. Her work has been published in various North American sources, including Descant, CV2, Canadian Woman Studies and the Toronto Star. She won the Toronto Poetry Competition in 2005 to become Toronto’s first Junior Poet Laureate. Her debut poetry collection, Ex Nihilo, was longlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize. She is also the co-editor, alongside Andrea Thompson, of Other Tongues: Mixed-Race Women Speak Out. She was recommended by current Poet Laureate of Canada George Elliott Clarke as a young black "writer to watch".

You can write to Adebe throughout March at

Go to Adebe DeRango-Adem’s Author Page