The Chessmen Thief book launch and competition

Children dressed and mimicked the poses and facial expressions of some of the wonderful chess pieces in the collection.

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Western Isles Libraries, along with e-Sgoil and Museum and Tasglann nan Eilean, has been delighted to help with the launch of Barbara Henderson’s latest book.

Barbara Henderson with her latest novel, The Chessmen Thief.

The Chessmen Thief, inspired by the Lewis Chessmen, is a thrilling historical adventure story about 12-year-old Kylan and his struggle to escape from his Norse captors and return to his home in Lewis.

The book is published by the islands-based publishers Cranachan Books.

As part of the launch, Barbara visited Museum nan Eilean to chat to Archivist Seonaid MacDonald about the collection of Lewis Chessmen held in the Stornoway museum.

Some of the children posing as the chessmen.

A competition was also run challenging children to dress up as one of the chessmen, mimicking the poses and facial expressions of some of the wonderful chess pieces in the collection.

Schools from across the Western Isles and the mainland entered with a fantastic collection of intimidating and dramatic poses.

Stornoway Primary won the local prize for their entries, while Sgoile Bhaile a Mhanaich – Balivanich Primary School, Benbecula – won the overall prize.

The book launch can be viewed on e-Sgoil’s webpage for The Chessmen Thief where archivist Seonaid McDonald can be seen talking about the chess pieces in the museum’s collection and describing which one is her favourite.

The Chessmen Thief is Barbara’s sixth book for children. Her other novels for children include Fir for Luck (2016), Punch (2017), Wilderness Wars (2018) and Black Water (2019).

She is also a puppeteer and drama teacher, living in the Highlands.