"She took another sip of tea. 'No I have no children.'" — Mary, The Christmas Box
The Christmas Box is a double miracle in its story and success. Richard Paul Evans, who had lost a sister when he was young, wrote it for his mother and his own two daughters as a bedtime read. After gifting twenty copies to family members one holiday, they quickly shared it with friends around Salt Lake City, Utah. The story of MaryAnne Parkin, a childless mother, and the family of three who moved in to care for her became a quick word-of-mouth success. Simon and Schuster bought it a year later and now, twenty-five years and eight million copies later, The Christmas Box is a modern classic.
THE ANGEL STATUES
In The Christmas Box, Mary frequents an angel statue in her backyard which commemorates the memory of her lost child. Today, twenty-five years after the publication, thousands of families gather beneath real ones on December 6th and place white lilies on their bases in remembrance of their own lost children. It began in Salt Lake City, Utah in 1994. Now, there are over 100 statues in the world. Here is a public Google document with all the locations. Turns out I drive past a statue each day on my commute in Lake Forest, California. You can find more information about how to fund one in your city on Evans' website here.
WHO IS RICHARD PAUL EVANS?
Richard Paul Evans has written more than thirty-five bestselling novels that have sold more than thirty-five million copies of his books in print worldwide and been translated into more than twenty-four languages. He lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, with his wife, Keri, and their five children. Evans overcame a Tourette syndrome and ADD when he was younger in part by writing. I really enjoyed this interview with him and Christopher Paolini, whose teenage debut novel, Eragon, is one of my favorites.
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