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A Walk Through a Window

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A Walk Through a Window

by kc dyer
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If you had a chance to step through a window to the past, would you take it?A Walk Through a Window is the story of Darby, a young girl forced to spend the summer with grandparents she doesn't know in...
If you had a chance to step through a window to the past, would you take it?A Walk Through a Window is the story of Darby, a young girl forced to spend the summer with grandparents she doesn't know in...
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  • If you had a chance to step through a window to the past, would you take it?

    A Walk Through a Window is the story of Darby, a young girl forced to spend the summer with grandparents she doesn't know in a place she feels she can never belong. But when a boy down the street extends a hand, it is more than friendship he offers. Together they discover a magical stone window frame that transports them to the very centre of the dramas of our past: the Underground Railroad; the coffin ships of the Irish Potato Famine; and even the Inuit as they crossed the Bering Land Bridge into North America.

    Over the course of the long, very strange summer, Darby is forced to question part of own her life. And as tragedy threatens her family, that magical walk through a window offers Darby new insight into the people she has always taken for granted -- and changes forever her perception of Canada.

    From the Trade Paperback edition.

  • Chapter One

    Escape was clearly the only option.

    "This is the wrong address," Darby said to the cab driver. "Just take me back to the airport -- I'll figure something out there."

    "I'm sorry, dear," the driver said apologetically, and gestured at the scrap of paper clipped to his dashboard. "I've been given strict instructions to drop one Miss D. Christopher at this here address. And if I know Etta, she'd be mighty upset with me if I misplaced her granddaughter."

    Great. Darby stared glumly out the window at the scene unfolding outside. "You know my Nan?"

    The cab driver popped the trunk and heaved himself out of the car. "Everyone knows your nan, kiddo. She's a good sport. So's your grandpa."

    Darby didn't budge. From the cab window she watched as a woman with vivid red hair stepped up and placed her hand on the shoulder of some guy operating a ladder on a fire truck. Even from inside the cab Darby could see the way the woman's lips pinched together.

    She was talking to Ladder Guy. After a few words he nodded and yelled up to his partner. The bucket lowered with a jerk, the woman stepped inside and the contraption rose up to near the top of the tree.

    Bad enough to be stuck in some little one-lobster town for the summer. Bad enough to have to fly here as an unaccompanied minor in a cattle car disguised as an airplane. Bad enough that no one bothered to show up to meet the plane. But when the taxi pulled up in front of Darby's grandparents' house it was hard to decide which was worse: a man she had never met perched high in the branches of an old oak tree, or the crowd below, as they laughed, chatted and cheered on the fireman in his cherry picker, trying to talk the old coot down.

    Darby recognized Gramps from a couple of old pictures that her dad kept in a bottom drawer. She'd never met either of her grandparents in person -- at least as long as she could remember. Nan had to be one of the grey-haired ladies waiting at the bottom of the ladder. She hadn't seen her face yet, mostly because Darby didn't want to meet anyone's eye. Why any of this was happening was a mystery. She could feel her face flaming.

    The cab driver opened the door and offered his hand to help Darby out. She ignored it, grabbed her backpack and stepped onto the street. It must have rained earlier, and one of her new white runners splashed square into a rusty puddle by the curb.


    "Was trying to help you avoid that," muttered the driver, as he stalked around the back of the vehicle.

    Darby thought about getting mad at this, but the truth was the scene in the front yard had used up all her available emotions at the moment.

    She felt the cabbie's hand on her shoulder. "Yer grandpa is just having everyone on, Missy. The man has a sense of humour that's funny as a three-dollar bill."

    She shook off his hand and forced herself to look around the crowd of people. The two grey-haired women stood out from the rest. While everyone else chattered and laughed, they stayed put right near the truck, watching the other lady take her trip up in the cherry picker. Darby took a deep breath, shouldered her pack and headed over.

    At the treetop, the red-haired woman was having more luck than Ladder Guy. She had barely said two words before the old man was reaching his hand out to grasp the side of the bucket. He stepped smartly into the cherry picker just like it had been his plan all along.

    Ladder Guy steered the bucket down and Darby's grandfather waved to the cheering crowd as they descended. The shadows began to lengthen and people started to wander away.

    One of the old women on the ground embraced the red-haired woman...

About the Author-
  • kc dyer was for many years a teacher in public, private, and Montessori schools. Currently, she writes full-time and lives just outside Vancouver. She is the author of four previous YA novels, most recently Ms. Zephyr's Notebook. Her second novel, Secret of Light, was nominated for the Chocolate Lily Award in 2005.

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    Doubleday Canada
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