Students get creative as the school searches for member of alumna
Earlier this year, the school was contacted by a gentleman who had come across an old book by his favourite author Somerset Maugham, hidden in a small book shop in Penang Island, Malaysia. The traveller and keen enthusiasst of the author was delighted when he found that the book had been labelled with the name of a past Beaconsfield High School student! This has since led us on a hunt to find the alumna - Carol - and reunite her with her book.
But, while we have been plugging away over social media and other means, we thought it would be fitting to challenge our students to create their own versions of the journey the book took from a quaint English town many years ago to the bustling streets of a Malaysian city in the 21st century!
Read on to immerse yourself in a sole book's expedition across many continents...
Stackley, 12000 miles - Khushi Kothari (The winner)
Many people say books are non-living objects.
This, is the story of my life.
I am a book. My name is Carol. My author, Steve Stanley, he hated me but couldn’t bring himself to destroy me and all things me, so he sent his apprentice, Bob, with me to a place so far away that no one knew the name of Stackley, my birth village.
I was sold to the highest bidder.
My new owner was a person who loved collecting unique and obscure things, like me. He once said to me, “You are unique Carol. I don’t know if you can hear me but, yes, you are precious and unique.”
I lived on his desk with a collection of maps on the opposite wall. I use to feel as though they called out to me, as though they were trying to tell me things about all lands discovered or not. As though there was a hidden secret, a very important one at that, lying just out of my reach.
I soon found out that my new home was in a town named, Paverstone, and boy did it live up to its name. It had the most amazing and beautiful pavestones. They were said to have names of their builders or any text the builders wanted on the stone written on them. They made striking patterns.
Now I was loved and read every day. Mr. Bodkin, my new owner, liked to read very slowly, so as to savor each and every word. He read a page a day. I have 695 pages in me. So it took him nearly 2 years to fully read me. I relished every second of it. I felt as though finally God, if there is a God, had decided mercy was the answer to my problems. I enjoyed every smile that tugged on those lips, every twitch of that hand, every movement Mr. Bodkin made, as though my salvation was very near.
The day he finished reading me, it was raining hard and it felt as if a storm was on its way. Mr. Bodkin tucked between my 2 companions, Samirah and Ava, facing away from those wonderful, entrancing maps so I had no way to pass my time. He left me.
And the storm hit, not outside but within the house. Days passed and now years have gone by but the storm refuses to lift. I have a multitude of webs on me and the feel of them made me realize my greatest fear.
I won’t ever be picked from this spot, ever again.
So it was a relief when 13 years later I felt those same hands grasp me again. Though there was no curiosity or carefulness in them other than a harsh urgency that threatened to rip me apart.
I was tossed. Into the fire.
The flames leapt for me and as I looked up at those intriguing maps after all those years, a place was marked with a name and a number.
Stackley, 12000 miles
And then I remembered a man crying softly on the corner of his bed, the man who gave me life, Steve Stanley crying the day before I left. I had thought he it was because he thought his skills were deteriorating, not because I was leaving.
And I now look up at that snarling face looking at me as if I was the biggest mistake of his life.
Oh God! I realize, as those flames engulf me, I am 12000 miles from home.
* * * * * * *
And now in spirit I have somehow reached that house where I was created, again, where now an old, old man resides instead of that weeping man I once heard. He is on the verge of dying.
* * * * * * *
“Ah! So peaceful, isn’t it?” I asked the spirit lying beside me, one spring day, the spirit who smiled back at me.
I was back where I truly belonged, back with the one person who truly cared for me. If not physically but in spirit. Heaven reunited us. ‘So maybe there is a God’, my spirit thinks. ‘Yes, there is definitely someone there.’
So I beg to differ. No, books aren’t non-living objects, they are living friends. Friends who will be there forever.
The Curious Story of the Book that travelled 12,000 miles - Shanessa Fernandes
Now you’re probably thinking how on earth a book would travel 12000 miles around the world, well that’s what I’m going to be telling you.
It all started in a girl called Sarah’s house. Sarah lived in China (which in case you are wondering is in East Asia). She loved to read and write stories. So, for her 13th birthday her parents got her a notebook, and this is where it all begins…
Once Sarah received the notebook, she wrote in it every day. She also took it with her everywhere like school, parties, sleepovers and so on. It was like a lucky charm for Sarah. (it was like her best friend)
Every Monday after school, Sarah went to her best friend Eve’s house. One Monday afternoon after school they were doing their English homework which was due in the next day. After they had finished, they started talking about what they were going to do for their week. “It’s my cousins’ birthday”, exclaimed Eve.
“That sounds nice, are you getting her a present?” asked Sarah.
“Yes, in fact I’ve already got it, it’s a notebook and I’m posting it to Chile tomorrow morning before school”, replied Eve. She slowly picked up the notebook and showed Sarah. “Wow, it looks just like my notebook!” They carried on playing and talking for a few more hours until Sarah had to go back home. She put her notebook into her bag, but little did she know her notebook was going to go on a little adventure…
When she arrived home, Sarah had dinner with her parents and brother then started to head to sleep. She was so tired she didn’t write even in her notebook.
The next day, as Sarah was packing her bag, she realized there had been a huge mix up. She had accidently taken the notebook Eve was supposed to give to her cousin. She had remembered Eve telling her that she was going to post before school, so she rushed to Eve’s house.
When she got there, Eve’s mum told her that Eve had already headed to school so quickly Sarah rushed to the post office. Eve had just left the post office, so she ran to her and asked her if she had already sent the present to her cousin. Eve said she had done it yesterday as she thought she was going to forget today and so today she was just checking if it was on its way.
Sarah explained what had happened to Eve, but they couldn’t do anything now… It had probably already reached Austria by now…
Maxwell Minion - Megan Evans
Imagine Berlin Airport. Like most airports, it was mostly grey, with airplanes clustered around like chickens in a coop. One British Airways airplane had a set of stairs, leading up to the door, and a crowd of people as colourful as the airport was streaming up it. Look closer at people, and you would spot some subtle differences, but the initial impression was one of sameness.
You certainly wouldn’t be able to pick out Helena Balena. There was nothing about her wavy brown hair, her greyish coat, and her denim bag that stood out in any way. It was true she sported a rather ridiculous pair of earrings, but again, she wasn’t alone. She wouldn’t have liked this. Helena knew that she was not only different, but superior, for she was a writer.
Note the choice of words. I did not say she was a published writer. I definitely did not say she was a particularly good writer. But the fact that Helena had produced about five hundred pages of soppy, half-rate romance gave her a feeling of superiority. At the moment, she was boarding the plane, pencil tucked behind her ear, clutching the weighty manuscript to her chest. She couldn’t afford to bind the book quite yet, so the paper was loose in its envelope. Her friend had recommended a publisher in London who would almost certainly recognise Helena’s genius.
She got on the plane, ignoring the hostesses welcoming her on board, and sat down. She waited, adjusted the seat, and was about to fall asleep when someone sat next to her.
Helena had read books about lovers meeting in this way, but she doubted this was going to happen today. True, he looked vaguely dashing in a black slate suit with a black tie. It was when you looked up that the effect was completely spoiled. His chin was pointed and vaguely feminine. His nose was long and angular, and his mouth was small and frozen into a grimace, showing off his yellowing teeth. His black hair had been oiled back and combed over to death. Worst of all, he stank of sweat and tobacco.
He looked at her and smiled, and she grimaced and held her manuscript closer to her chest. Still, it had been a long journey from her home in Munich to Berlin, and as soon as the pre-flight announcements started, she toppled forward and fell asleep onto her tray.
Maxwell Minion was confused.
His boss, Doctor Asparagus, had directly told him that on this journey, Maxwell would be sitting next to the confederate that would give him the plans for the Doomsday Device. The confederate would remain in England. It was true that the woman was holding a large, brown envelope. Yet, she hadn’t made contact with him and didn’t look like she was going to for the whole journey.
Max wasn’t sure he trusted Doctor Apocalypse’s successor. The new arch-villain was a small, smelly man who happened to be allergic to the regulation white cat. Every time Max saw him, his eyes were red and watery, and he had a small packet of tissues in his pocket. The name, Asparagus, was supposedly chosen because it was the most evil thing he could think of. Worst of all, he gave the impression that he was frightened of his minions. If a spy turned up, Max got the feeling that Doctor Asparagus would give him the keys, and invite him inside for a cup of tea.
Still, if it hadn’t been for him, they wouldn’t have invented the Doomsday Device.
Maxwell breathed in, and slowly slid the package from the woman’s hands. She was obviously too tired to notice. There was one worrying moment where she snorted and almost opened one eye, but that passed quickly. He took the package, and decided to change seats. She probably didn’t know he was one of Doctor Asparagus’s minions, and she would be furious that he had stolen the package.
He grinned, holding the tickets to Sydney Airport in the other hand. He was going to go to the Australian base after this, and then Doctor Asparagus need only to threaten the UN. He would be the most powerful man that had ever existed. Not that Maxwell didn’t know he could change that.
Helena stepped off the plane in a trance, avoiding the smelly, oily man who had been sitting next to her. She struggled through the grey corridors of Heathrow Airport, shambling and occasionally bashing into her inferiors. It was only when she was in Arrivals, standing around the conveyor belt and waiting for her baggage, when it hit her that the brown paper envelope containing her manuscript had disappeared.
There are no words to describe her temper tantrum. She caused considerable damage to the luggage of a large group of Japanese tourists. She broke a computer screen by throwing one of her shoes at it. She threw the contents of her handbag all over the room, and she caused such a fuss that people had to call Security to detain her. Hardly anyone listened to her cries that she was the greatest writer in the world.
Maxwell Minion had just got off the long haul fight to Australia. His suit had completely wilted. His hair, rather than drying, had managed to get even oilier. His white shirt was covered in a brown stain. His eyes were red, and you could tell from the smell that he had had a quick cigarette just before walking in. It was so pungent you could almost taste it.
He strutted up to the arch-villain, holding the package. Doctor Asparagus was smiling and trying to stroke the white cat, which was digging its claws into his lap. Not that that mattered; Maxwell hardly looked at the Doctor. His eyes were on all the other minions in their identical dark suits. He could the feel jealousy crystallising off them, as if he was the new leader already. This was the reason he had joined the Society. The doctor grabbed the parcel with a white-gloved hand. The cat scampered off his lap and went to wash itself in a corner. The doctor smiled, and sneezed. Maxwell stepped back out of habit, before leaning forward, grinning,
“I guarantee, you will not be disappointed.”
“I know I won’t,” said the doctor, ripping open the parcel and grabbing the first page. For a moment, the only sound was a slight rustle. Then, the doctor turned to Max,
“This isn’t right,”
“It is,” said Max, “That woman was sitting beside me. According to you, she was my confederate.”
“Would you like me to read the first paragraph?”
Max gulped and nodded,
“He was dashing as the day was long and tall and splendid as a palm-tree,” said the doctor, in a poor imitation of a woman’s voice, “I did not think I had lived until the day I had met him. He was my incredible soul-mate, with the most intense and fantastic brown eyes. As soon as I laid my sapphire gaze on him, I knew he had to be mine, he had to…”
Max was starting to blush now. The doctor glared at him,
“Really? Doomsday plans? I don’t think so.”
It was a strange experience for the Aborigines on the plains. They couldn’t sleep. All through the night, they could hear these two voices shouting,
“You lost the Doomsday Plans!”
“No, you did!”
One of them trembled and looked to the skies, thinking, not for the first time, that the gods were crazy. A younger Aborigine turned down the volume on his iPod and smiled. He remembered hearing about the Doomsday Machine on the radio. He took out his Nokia Brick, and started to dial the police.
The Curious Case of the Book that Travelled 12,000 Miles - Helisha Verma
I sat behind all the other book, forgotten, unloved. My name is Eleanor and Park, daughter of Rainbow Rowell. I stay at the back of the bookshelf, all wrapped up in a smooth plastic cover, with my best friend The Fault in our Stars, son of John Green. We have been here for exactly 217 days waiting to be owned by someone else except for WHSmith. But no one wants us. Why? Because were paperbacks that no one wants cause were flimsy. So annoying.
Anyways. That’s how life was going. Big, cool, wanted hardcovers laughing at us as they get a home other than our rusty metal shelf when we don’t. Until today. The 217th day. The day a hand reached for TFioS, and then me. FINALLY. We got taken to the counter where our new owner to-be would buy us.
“Hello, there. Looks like you’ve chosen some paperbacks. Want hardcover versions of them?” Shut up Orgy. We just got picked up. Some space, man. “Heck no. Hardcovers just take way too much space. Paperbacks are great.” “Okey-dokie.” Orgy said as he scanned and bagged us.
Soon me and my best friend (TFioS) came to know that her name was Heather. She would read us so much, that we were finished in a week! Then she traded us with her bestie, Thashvini for The Sun is also a Star and Cogheart. Thashvini took longer, two and a half weeks to read us.
After that, me and TFioS were separated (soooo sad!). I got given a girl called Nandini got me. She read me in two days and seemed to really love me. She re-read me after that, but this time we were together in a plane. Guess where we were going? India! Her cousins lived there so that’s why. Anyways. After we got there, went to her cousin’s house and the humans had dinner and stuff, Nandini gave me to Jasmita, her cousin. It took her ever so long to read me, struggling to read English and all, so it took Jas three weeks just to get to chapter 57.
Jasmita’s dad worked at the port so she was sitting on one of the cargo boxes about to be shipped when her friend called. So, she left me. On top of the cargo box. And forgot. So, I then got loaded on the boat and shipped to who knows where! Later I found out I was going to Malaysia when a crewmate shouted out “Malaysia ahead!”
So that was that. I got loaded into a truck and when some dudes were unloading the boxes and one of them saw me, and then slipped me into his bag. Later I realised he had gotten me for his teenage daughter, Carol. She read me but seemed pretty bored. How dare she? So she just left me at the library counter of Malaysia. That’s when the librarians opened the book and read the name inside. My front page said “Heather Hales, Beaconsfield High, England. And I got sent all the way back.
That’s my story of how I travelled half way across the world.
#FindCarol Case - Nikita Khosla
Books. I (13, year-old Angelina Starr) have always loved books, I think that they contain knowledge and wonders that humans can only dream of and give us a way to communicate with creatures that we never thought existed, a new adventure page by page. Honestly reading is my escape, my escape from the crazy, hectic mess referred to as my life, they offer me a utopia, a perfect world almost something that no other object on the planet can offer. So, working in my dad’s bookshop located in the suburbs of mainland Malaysia may seem like a chore but is the complete opposite for me something that my siblings will probably never comprehend.
Now this story that I am about to tell you in course involved books as I am like the sky bleak and grey until the masses of beautiful stars came and lit up my universe. Anyway, my story is going to sound a little odd, ok maybe more than a little but a grand story it is nonetheless.
It all started when I was unpacking our newly delivered books out of their heavy cases that are kept in our store’s storage room and whilst doing this I stumbled on a rather unique book. It was unlike the many others packed into the large crate as for starters it was not new and instead had a thick layer of dust that coated the entire exterior of the book’s cover. Intrigued by this mystery book I looked at the first pages and written inside I found a name and below it was an address and postcode: it read Carol, The Beaconsfield High School, HP91RR.
Now to me this seemed pretty weird considering the store was placed in the centre of a very small town, the type of town that you would encounter in various American films where everyone knew everyone and in my 13 years of living here, I have never encountered anyone named Carol. Being the curious 13 year-old that I was I took it upon myself to investigate the case myself and I had even named it, The #FindCarolCase.
My first steps were to search up the name of the school as well as the postcode and address which even if I do say so myself were extremely smart techniques as in front of me on my PC was the school’s website making the location clear: the school was located near the suburbs of London and in fat was an all girls grammar school a fact that made it slightly harder to determine exactly how it had ended up in my hand but I was not ready to give up just yet, I had only just started. After what felt like years of research but was only just a months worth, several emails and many expensive international calls I am proud to present to you the full story explaining The #FindCarolCase.
It all started a year ago when a young student named Carol was finishing her last day at The Beaconsfield high school ready to face the wonderful upcoming challenges that life lay in the near future. It was a leavers tradition that at 3:30 as soon as they were let out the classroom they were to throw the nearest book that they has at the time and it just happened that the book that Carol threw on the momentous day was the one I held in my hand. Carol in a state of utter happiness threw her book and it happened to land in the cleanings supplies cupboard that was open at the time.
During the summer holidays the school cleaner (Dave) opened the cupboard to find Carol’s book and instead of just chucking it to the side like many people would have done he decided to keep the book and give it to his daughter Lisa as she like me was a keen reader. As soon as he got home to his flat in high Wycombe, a neighbouring area to Beaconsfield he gifted the book to his daughter Lisa who was 11 at the time. She thanked her father and left him in the living room with the fulfilling company of the Tv as she ran to her bedroom to read her new book.
Lisa similar to many keen readers read the book several times before packaging it in bubble wrap and placing it in a large, brown envelope with a stamp on it to send to her new pen pal Celine in France so that she too could enjoy it. Unfortunately, it happened that Celine was a not an avid reader and had spent the last two years trying but failing to finish the first beano so Celine decided to send it to her cousin named Nicole who lived in Malaysia. It took two months for the book to actually reach Nicole as Nicole attended a prestigious boarding school and only went home once a month to collect her mail. Nicole also happened to be my best friend, we meet up as often as we can and we call each other every single night without fail so that we are fully updated on what’s happening where. Nicole read the book and then being my best friend decided to gift it to me and dropped it off at the store yesterday while I was out.
Now that you know the full story of how the book reached me you too have probably come to the conclusion that it really was fate. This book in my very hand has travelled 12,000 miles and has probably been read by many others. However I am not finished yet as I know I am on another mission to re-unite Carol with her book.
The Curious Case of the Book that travelled 12,000 miles - Anaya Lally
Hello! I am a book. I have travelled to many places. Let’s start from the beginning. I belong to Beaconsfield High school. I started with only a couple of girls reading me. One day a blonde girl took me of the shelf. She looked about thirteen. She took me home and read me every evening. In about 5 days she finished me. I was expecting to be shoved back into that disgusting smelly bag again, where all her practice books are very stuck up.
Six days had passed. Eight days had passed. Fifteen days had passed. My due back date had passed. One month had passed. One-year had passed. I had been sitting in the back of her shelf for ages. I was astonished at how rude she was to me! She would sometimes open her shelf, I would get my hopes up, then they would be crushed when she closed the shelf.
One day I heard screaming. This was unlike any other screaming I’d heard before. I had heard books screaming out their stories in high pitched voices and low-pitched voices, but this screaming was ear-piercing, trust me. The blonde girl then came running up the stairs to her room and open the shelf. At the time I was re-reading my story. She stuck her hand inside the shelf and grabbed me. Even now I am shocked she chose me. She probably wanted to get rid of me though. She took me downstairs and just handed me to the screaming girl. The girl had stopped crying and was muttering thank you. Then suddenly everything went black.
I have realised now that I was in something called a suitcase. Never ever put me in one of those again. Eventually after a day I was out of that thing. Everything was so different there. It was extremely hot and there were some weird creatures. The screaming girl who I soon realised was called Elsie. She took me everywhere. She grew to love reading my story repeatedly. She especially loved taking me to the zoo. She loved to watch the spiders. Those things to this day give me the creeps. Once when she was eating ice-cream, she put me on a table and never picked me up again.
I was there for about 5 minutes until someone had else picked me up. It was a tired looking man. He shoved me into a suitcase. I was so annoyed, but this time the suitcase was battered and old looking. If think about it now I think he couldn’t afford a better one. The trip was not enjoyable, but it ended quickly. The man opened the suit case and took me out. He handed me to a young boy, and he said something about me being his souvenir. The boy acted very appreciative and happy. Soon as the man left the room the boy’s innocent face turned into disgust. He took one look at me then tossed me into the outside trash. I was stunned at the time. It didn’t take long until a sweet-faced librarian approached me. She didn’t speak English, but she knew bits of it. She traced me back to Beaconsfield High school, home. Which is why I am here now, 12,000 miles from home. This is my story of the curious case of the book that travelled 12,000 miles.