Gillian Chan
The Carved Box


The Carved Box by Gillian ChanFifteen-year-old Callum Murdoch knows he is a fool. No sooner has he arrived from Scotland than he hands over his savings to a stranger for a filthy, half-starved dog and a strange, carved box. How will he explain this to his Uncle Rory, a man he has never met and the only relative willing to give him a home? Was his impulsive decision inspired by loneliness? Or was it the subtle glint in Dog’s eye?

Callum is unprepared for the grinding physical labour of working on a farm. His only source of comfort is Dog. She seems to know all his secret wishes and fears. With Dog by his side, Callum gains the courage to assert his independence in the New World. But when the mysterious carved box accidentally breaks open, Callum is faced with some astonishing revelations—and some difficult decisions.

Praise for Gillian Chan’s The Carved Box:

Shortlisted for the 2003 Red Maple Award

“This is history come alive, and kids will want to read this (and teachers would do well to give this book a read too!).” —The Hamilton Spectator

The Carved Box is a thoroughly satisfying historical novel with just a whiff of fancy.” —Quill and Quire

“A very good first novel, notable for its evocation of time and place.”
The Globe and Mail

Page extent: 232 pages
Setting: Scotland; Canada
Period: contemporary

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  Gillian Chan trained as an English and Drama teacher. She has written seven books and has been shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award, Mr. Christie’s Book Award as well as many other national and international awards for young readers, and is the winner of the OSLA White Pine Award as well as the Nautilus award for the best young adult book. Gillian Chan’s website can be found at