Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Freedom to Read Week: Caitlin Smith Reads and Releases Three Wishes

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Three Wishes, released for Freedom to Read Week

In support of Freedom to Read Week, the Open Book team participated in the Book Crossing program. Each person selected a book from the Book and Periodical Council's list of challenged books, read it and released it where it will be found by another reader to enjoy and pass on.

Open Book's Fundraising Director, Caitlin Smith, writes about her choice, Three Wishes: Palestinian and Israeli children speak (Groundwood Books, 2004) by Deborah Ellis.


I was working at PEN Canada back in 2006 when Three Wishes: Palestinian and Israeli children speak by Deborah Ellis was challenged by the Toronto District School Board. PEN got involved and protested the restriction. I remember that the girl who was proud of her suicide-bomber sister was a particular sore point, and some people felt that students were too young to understand the complex issues in this book. I also remember that the daughter of Miranda Hill and step-daughter of Lawrence HIll, a young student herself, spoke eloquently about the book and the ability of young people to understand many complicated concepts.

I’ve now had a chance to read this book, and I was very moved by it. When the Israeli boy talks about the Children’s Memorial at Yad Vashem, I was so sad. I think these children have a great capacity to change things, and many of them want to live in harmony with one another.

In the end the Toronto District School Board allowed the book to be available only behind the counter in the school library and only to children in grades 7 or higher. What a shame! The free exchange of ideas is the only way that tolerance will triumph.


Caitlin Smith is the Fundraising Director at Open Book. She has over 30 years experience in book publishing and fundraising.

Buy this book at your local independent bookstore or online at Chapters/Indigo or Amazon.

Check back throughout Freedom to Read Week for more BookCrossing posts from Open Book team.

Thanks to Groundwood Books for donating a copy of Three Wishes.

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