back to Writing by Students

Alice's Secret Library - by Haadiyah


Aside from the fact that you have written four chapters (wow!), this is a very impressive piece of writing for so many reasons. You have combined all the elements of powerful writing: structure, plot, interesting characters, dialogue, devices to add tension and powerful and well-chosen vocabulary. A huge well done!

Let's read!

Alice's Secret Library - by Haadiyah

1 - The annoying day

Alice was at school. She had to endure ten more minutes of History, with Miss Calisse talking non-stop. Although History was Alice’s favourite subject, she couldn’t wait for it to end today. She kept fidgeting with her stationery and rocking her chair, which made Miss Calisse quite annoyed with her.

“Alice! Why can’t you pay attention? You are usually the most attentive in class, but I can’t understand you today!”, Miss Callise said, red blotches appearing on her cheeks. “Stand up please”.

Alice stood up. “I’m really very sorry Miss Calisse”, she apologised, “I only kept rocking my chair. I didn’t really do anything wrong, but I’ll behave now”. She was made to sit down but Miss Calisse barked at her. “I’m not done with you, Alice! You rocked your chair, didn’t pay attention in class and completely ignored me twice!”

The class looked shocked at how angry Miss Calisse was, especially at Alice, who normally behaved herself. They didn’t think that the normally sweet-tempered teacher would scold her so.

“Alice, you have earned a mark for yourself,” Miss Calisse continued, her temper slightly controlled now.

Alice groaned inwardly. Marks were how teachers punished students. Alice usually didn’t receive any, unless she had done something really wrong, which had only happened twice. However, she didn't say anything, even though it wasn’t fair for Miss Calisse to punish her. Keeping her voice as calm as possible, she said, “What do I have to do, Miss Calisse?” 

“You will stay at home after-hours and do the story I have set as homework”, Miss Calisse answered. “You cannot leave until you are finished, and you must see the Headmistress afterwards and hand in your work to her”. “She will give it to me the following day”. “Now pay attention to the lesson, before I award you two more marks”, she finished coldly.

She returned to the lesson. Alice tried hard to concentrate. She wanted to go and read in her library. Alice had a library all to herself, one that nobody knew about. And now, visiting it after a week in her Aunt’s house, had to be delayed further.

Alice came home feeling very angry, not to mention annoyed. She had done the story, which took her about 3 hours to finish. The only thing that made her tell herself ‘Go on, go on’, was the prospect of visiting her library later on. Then she had to talk to the Headmistress, who explained the reason that Miss Calisse was cold and irritable, was that she had a sleepless night, due to a toothache she had the previous day. Fuming, she walked up to her room and put her bag on the bed. She closed her room door and curtains. She was lifting a beautiful gold chain around her neck without removing it, when the door opened. Jenny, the housemaid, had entered the room. Quickly dropping the golden chain, Alice spun around.

“Miss”, Jenny said to Alice. “Your mother told me to tell you to please take a shower and clean your room, as your father’s friend and his family are coming to dinner today. “She says that you have to stay on the table until the meal is over, as she doesn’t have time to come home and give you a separate meal, and I am too busy to do so, too”. She also says that your Swimming Coach had to reschedule the class to today and you will have to join, as your school ends early and you have enough time to squeeze this in with everything else”. “To make things easier for you, she told me to write a plan for the rest of the day for you, and sends her love”.

Alice’s face displayed nothing but shock as she took the paper from Jenny and watched her go. Now, she had to spend the entire day without entering her library. Then, a wonderful idea came into her head. She was going to enter her secret library. That was for certain.

2 - The secret library

Alice’s day progressed on, just as her mother had planned. Her father’s friend arrived at eight, bringing his family, which included twins, completely alike. Everyone had a very delicious dinner, and perfect puddings to finish it off. At around ten, all the guests left with many ‘goodbyes’ and ‘see you soon’. Mr.Turner, Alice’s father, retired to his study at eleven, leaving Mrs.Turner, Alice’s mother, and Alice to finish cleaning. As the clock struck twelve, both Alice and her mother were in their rooms, Mrs.Turner asleep. 

Alice however, had no intention of sleeping. She was going to read in her library tonight! Alice picked up the golden chain from around her neck. Keeping it on, she opened a book locket, and pressed the letter ‘L’ from the beginning of a story hardly visible inside. Suddenly, the room vanished in a mixture of place and color. When it stopped spinning, Alice was taken from her dark room into the place she thought was the best in the world: The library, her library. The books were all placed one over the other, to form a long staircase that stretched on further than Alice’s visibility, like a long, never ending steam train. Golden, dancing sunlight bathed the library, making it very pleasant. Alice knew she had hours, days to read. Today was Friday and there was no school tomorrow, or the day after. Alice chose to spend the 6 hours remaining of the night before sunrise, meaning she would return home at six in the morning. Then, she would sleep for as long as she wanted, for her mother let her sleep long on Saturdays. Alice sat down under the shade of a Red Oak tree and relaxed.The soft, springy grass and moss on the floor was better than any bed in the world. She had been dreaming of coming here when she was at her Aunt Maple’s house and somehow, the real thing was ten times better than the dreams. Alice turned her thoughts to how she had come to discover her library. It was a curious story, which Alice thought no one would believe; one of her reasons for not telling anyone about her library.

Five years ago when she was six year old, Alice found an old house which looked centuries old. She had gone inside and explored, when she found an old, yet very beautiful locket with a pendant shaped like a book. Alice took the necklace home with her. Then, when she opened the locket, she saw what was clearly the beginning of a story. Alice could only recognise one letter, ‘L’. Then, touching it with a long finger, she accidentally pushed it down and saw, for the first time in her life, the place where she loved to be, more than any other in the world.

Throughout the years, she had learned valuable information, such as the fact that if a book had a torn page, dented cover or had been soaked, it returned to its original state at once. That was why all the books looked brand new. She also learned that by shouting out a book’s title, she would be taken instantly to it’s stair. Another important information that Alice learned was how to read a book. It wasn’t just the normal way of simply picking up a book and reading it, Alice could do that for years. No, the way to read a book in Alice’s secret library was to rub the title and put your head through the book, which Alice, feeling quite excited now, decided to do.

3 - The Book

Alice was putting her head into a book titled: How He Got Away, by Ben Casterfore. In another mixture of place and color, the library disappeared and Alice was taken into the story, just where she had stopped two weeks ago. The book was like a film. There were no words to say that ‘Jack was chasing Redovah into the woods’, but Alice saw Jack chasing Redovah into the woods!

“Scott, make sure he doesn’t follow us”, Redovah said to a mean faced man. “You too Alexander”. “He might eat the bread instead of us”, Redovah said with a thoughtful face. “The rest of us will run, don’t forget that Bent Casser is after the treasure too.”

‘Redovah was a tall, brave man who was looking for the lost treasure of Roberts’, Alice remembered.

“Sir”, said the man called Scott. “Isn’t Bent still in the wrong sea?” “Jeskins (Scott pointed at a scowing man staring at the dark forest) was supposed to head him off in the wrong direction, to make sure he gets lost!”

“What a brainwave!”, Redovah exclaimed. “To send him in the wrong sea!” You followed my instructions clearly then!” “So then, have you managed to carry it out?” He turned to Jeskins, who answered him in a hissing voice.

“Indeed it has, sir”. “I would not have returned amongst your men, if it had not been”. I would have remained until I succeeded”.

“Good, very good”, Redovah told him. “Scott was right in volunteering you then, wasn't he?” Alexander and Caskey, another man, gave short nods before Redovah continued. “I am guessing that Bent has come on the right sea, by now?” “So we will have to continue with the original plan”. “Good luck men and well done”. “See you in a few days”. And the scene melted and changed.

 4 - The perfect day

Three days later, after constant switching between her house and library, Alice was woken up by her mother, who told her to get changed for school. Alice put on her school uniform: A neat, snowy white top, with a black skirt and a white and blue tie. She plaited her neat, straight, jet-black hair into two and picked up her backpack. Alice ate her breakfast as fast as she could. As soon as she finished tying her shoes, the school taxi arrived. The school offered free taxi transport to students who lived too far away from the bus. Alice remembered with a sinking heart, once the taxi had started moving, that her first subject was History. She usually felt a jolt of excitement when it was History time. Today, however, she didn’t feel good. Until she heard the welcoming sound of laughter and chatter, the pleasant sounds you hear at school, Alice was dreading what Miss Calisse would do to her. Would she give her another mark? Extra school hours? Send her to the Headmistress? As it happened however, she did none of those things!

History time arrived. Alice slumped onto her chair, thinking whether she would feel better in the dark forest of How He Got Away, by Ben Casterfore, when Miss Calisse arrived. All the students stood up when she did until she asked them to sit. They all sat. Miss Calisse however, remained standing. “I want to say something before the class, and I want your full attention”, Miss Calisse began, her merry voice returned. “I had a toothache on Thursday and nobody in this class knew, of course as we don’t have a class on that day”. She paused. “That night, I hardly slept, and left for the dentist early in the morning”. “I am sorry if I lost my temper with the class, especially Alice”. She now turned to face the slightly happier Alice. “Alice, dear, please stand up”. Alice did. Miss Calisse was now speaking directly to her. “Alice, I’m sorry I lost my temper with you”. “Thank you for bearing with me and by the way, you did a wonderful story!” “To thank you, I am giving you this book voucher, which would allow you to get any book you wish!”

“Thank you Miss Calisse!” “I would love to go to the bookshop, but I will buy a set of books, using my money and your voucher”, Alice said. “Then, I can keep it in the classroom, so if anyone wants to borrow them, they may!” The class cheered. Miss Calisse thanked and apologised to Alice again. Then, the lesson progressed and everyone agreed it was the best they had ever had!

Alice, who had arrived home an hour ago, and was now sitting on her bed, thought that this was the perfect day. Her mother had sent another message through Jenny, saying that her badminton class had been cancelled as the teacher was ill. Alice, with the happy prospect of reading for the rest of the day, took up the golden chain and after pressing the ‘L’, disappeared in a mixture of place and color.