THE EBONY BOX

I have just returned from the most amazing and moving school visit, Westquarter Primary on the edges of Falkirk. Audra McKee, their teacher, had contacted me to say how much her class were enjoying CHILL, and asked for a visit. When I arrived, they were busy still making their own maps (showing the setting of the books), and their own Ebony Boxes containing the worn leather bag, piece of tartan, ring and silver dagger which Samuel and Fiona discover in CHILL. I signed each of their maps before I left. But what amazed me more than anything was that they had wanted me to visit their school so much that the pupils themselves raised the money for the visit. I didn’t know this till it was time to leave. They had a cake sale to actually pay for the workshop, and to enable them to buy copies of CHILL, SHIVER and DARKER ENDS. When I first heard from Audra and she told me that the pupils loved CHILL so much that they wouldn’t let her stop reading at break-time, I didn’t quite believe it, but when I walked in the door of this quiet classroom, I knew she had meant every word. They told me things about CHILL that I hadn’t thought of it in years, and explained that what they loved was the sense of injustice, that Patrick – a poor boy – was not allowed to be friends with, or marry, the wealthy daughter, Catherine Morton. They felt they knew and had met all of the characters. I think a lot of this must be down to their excellent teacher, who knew how to use the book. I was able to show them pictures of the real place where the books are set, and to explain how I lived there myself, how I was trapped by blizzards, and was then inspired to write the story because I missed living there so much afterwards.  So a massive thank you to those wonderful pupils of Westquarter Primary. I left there with tears in my eyes, and drove home smiling. They have promised to send me their own Ebony Box, with treasures or relics inside, which I will keep in my writing room with pride. If these pupils do not deserve libraries and access to books, then I don’t know who does… because their teacher has spent weeks enthralling them on several levels, just through studying one book.

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2 thoughts on “THE EBONY BOX

  1. “Thank you so much for this amazing piece of writing you wrote about us and I can see you loved coming in to see us. ” Carys
    “We were so surprised by your lovely comment and we are so proud that you think we are the best school.” Kaitlynn
    “The teacher let us read the fabulous comment you wrote about us. We are very proud of ourselves and we were excited that you came to visit us because you are the best author ever.” Emma
    “I was stunned that I actually got to see the real author of Chill and Shiver! This was the best experience ever!” John
    ” Chill is the most amazing book in the world and I can’t believe I have saw the real author! Good luck with your future book!” Nathan
    ” I was stunned when I saw the amazing author, Alex Nye!” Ross T.
    “You are my favourite author. If you hadn’t written Chill, we wouldn’t have been inspired to make our own ebony boxes. ” Chloe
    “I am amazed that you were actually in our class room! I can’t believe how much you inspired us with your book and we even thought the people were real !!” Rachel
    “When you first came in, I was really excited to hear what you were going to do in your workshop. The comment you wrote above was amazing.” Ross C.
    “When we read the book, it sounds like we are actually there because it’s so realistic.” Brandon
    “It’s so amazing to see the author who wrote Chill.” Gillie
    “When you came in on Monday I couldn’t stop smiling. It was an amazing experience to meet you and I hope your future books are as nail-biting as Chill!” Ellie
    “I was excited when you came in because I love the book Chill.” Kerr

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    • I love all these comments, and I hope you are all doing well in P6 now. I still think of that visit with affection. It was just the best, thanks to all of you and Ms McKee x

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