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Children's Fiction General

Carved Box, The

by (author) Gillian Chan

Kids Can Press
Initial publish date
Aug 2001
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Aug 2001
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Aug 2001
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Out of print

This edition is not currently available in bookstores. Check your local library or search for used copies at Abebooks.

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 10 to 14
  • Grade: 5 to 9


Fifteen-year-old Callum Murdoch knows he's a fool. He's just arrived from Scotland, and he's already handed over his money to a total stranger. And for what? A filthy, half-starved dog and a carved box that he's been warned never to open. Now he'll have to explain his impulsive action to Uncle Rory, the only relative willing to give him a home. Callum is unprepared for the grinding physical labor of farm work. 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 face life in the New World. But when the mysterious carved box is accidentally broken open, Callum is faced with astonishing revelations -- and difficult decisions.

About the author


Après avoir enseigné l'anglais pendant 10 ans, Gillian Chan a réalisé son rêve : celui d'écrire des livres. Elle a d'abord écrit des recueils d'histoires, avant de se lancer dans la rédaction de romans, lui permettant ainsi de combiner son amour de l'histoire avec l'écriture. Pour écrire Un océan nous sépare, l'auteure s'est rendue plusieurs fois à Vancouver pour s'imprégner de l'atmosphère et pour mieux raconter le cheminement de sa jeune héroïne. Gillian Chan a obtenu plusieurs récompenses pour ce livre.


After being an English teacher for ten years, Gillian Chan realized her dream of becoming a writer in 1994. Her first book, Golden Girl and Other Stories, was shortlisted for the Mr. Christie's Book Award. A companion collection, Glory Days and Other Stories, was also a Christie nominee, and made the shortlist for the 1996 Governor General's Literary Award. When she turned to writing novels, Gillian was able to combine her writing with her love of history, writing such books as The Carved Box and A Foreign Field.
During her preparations for An Ocean Apart, Gillian travelled to Vancouver several times, walking the streets that would have been familiar to Mei. Her husband read and translated Chinese newspapers for her from the period in which the story was set. She has just finished writing a new title about the War of 1812 for Dear Canada's "little brother," the I Am Canada series.


Gillian Chan's profile page


  • Short-listed, Diamond Willow Award, Saskatchewan’s Young Readers’ Choice
  • Short-listed, Tiny Torgi Literary Award, CNIB Library for the Blind
  • Short-listed, Red Maple Award
  • Winner, Our Choice, Canadian Children’s Book Centre
  • Winner, Explora-Toy Award, Hamilton and Region Arts Council

Editorial Reviews

The Carved Box is thoroughly satisfying historical fiction with just a whiff of fancy.

Quill and Quire

... a highly readable tale of a young man’s relationship with his pet, his family, and himself.

School Library Journal

[Gillian] Chan has created herself a tough challenge for a first novel and has well earned her stripes to write another.

The National Post

Other titles by Gillian Chan