Empathy Lab UK
I've got all kinds of updating to do!
I've been on the SCBWI Writing Retreat and loved it. The visiting authors were Patrice Lawrence and Justin Davies, both inspirational and wonderful.
The W&A Festival was amazing and a huge TY if you're reading this and you're one of the people who came or are watching back. I do hope you enjoyed it and found it useful and worthwhile. I've had some amazing feedback and comments, so thank you ;)
I don't think I have properly mentioned Empathy Lab UK. I did a very quick post that said how thrilled I was that Call Me Lion was selected as one of the 2023 Read For Empathy titles, but there is so much more to share.
I am now officially and Empathy Champion. Look, I even have the badge to prove it!
The excellent two day training I received from Empathy Lab UK means that I can use my book to deliver empathy based talks and workshops in schools and libraries.
I already have my first all day booking in early May at Haberdashers Boys School and I'm very excited to be delivering workshops all around empathy. If you'd like me to do this at your school or library please contact me to make it happen.
I plan to create an entire page on my website all about this amazing initiative, but in the meantime, if you are a school/library reading this post and want to find out more about Reading For Empathy or Empathy Day which is on 8 June then please visit the Empathy Lab UK website where you can find out everything you need to know.
The festival is getting so close and I'm experiencing a feeling of excited nervousness about it all. I've loved putting it together and working with such an incredibly dedicated and productive team. I'm amazed at the generosity and openness of all of our speakers and I know that the live sessions will be great too.
If you have no idea what I'm talking about then where have you been?! You can scroll back through my blog post or alternatively take a look at the article I wrote all about it which you can read here: W&A Article
I strongly advise, if you are a writer and/or illustrator, that you take some time to have a look at the W&A website as a general site. It's packed full of helpful advice, useful articles and signposts of support. There are all kinds of wonderful opportunities available to buy too, including Masterclasses, Courses and Talks.
The best is the festival (of course). All the details of what is available and how to book is on the link below, but don't delay because there is only a week before the pitch deadline closes (the chance of getting your book pitch in front of our live agent panel for discussion).
Hurry people and please tell the world - I really don't want anyone to miss out on this wonderful weekend.
Find out more about the festival
Regular readers of my blog might remember that I was lucky enough to visit a selection of libraries in South Wales as part of their Summer of Fun campaign.
One was Torfaen Library where I met Bettina Robinson who shared Call Me Lion with her Chatterbooks Group. For those of you who don't know, Chatterbooks is an amazing initiative run by libraries that sets up children's book groups. It is an absolute honour as a Children's Author to have my book selected as the readers choice by the Torfaen Chatterbooks Group. Added to this I have also been sent these fabulous reviews
WARNING: Before you read there is a spoiler alert in one review.
Reviews for Call Me Lion – Camilla Chester
“This book is very pleasant, and also very unforgettable… It’s about a kid who finds it difficult to speak, but there’s so much more to him. So many thoughts come into his mind, wisdom, smartness, but no-one seems to understand him. But when someone new moves next door, things might change…
The book was heart-warming, and a very different book to what I would usually pick up. But the premise of this book was so intriguing and original, it was unavoidable to pick up.
A very warm and enchanting read. Yes, it is maybe a change of taste compared to the other books I have read, but it’s fantastic! I give it four and a half stars.” Santino 11
‘This was the best book I’ve ever read!’ Naomi 8
‘I really appreciated this book as my younger brother has selective mutism too’ Olivia 10
‘I liked this book, about a boy with selective mutism trying to make friends. My favourite part is when Richa tells Leo that she can’t read or write. I liked all of the characters; I don’t have a favourite. 4 out of 5 stars Josh 8
I loved this book, it was very interesting to read as I had never heard of selective mutism before. I loved the content and the style of writing. It is about friendship and happiness and a boy called Leo who has selective mutism. My favourite character is Richa because she is a really good friend to Leo and is a great dancer. My favourite part of the book is when Richa reveals her secret and Leo helps her to learn. I also love it when they find a good way to communicate. 4.5 out of 5 Megan 11
How wonderful are they?!
Thank you so much to Santino, Naomi, Olivia, Josh and Megan and of course Bettina for your wonderful words and kindness. Now your reviews are on my blog you officially part of my journey. I'm so glad you enjoyed Call Me Lion as much as you did. All the best to you all and KEEP READING!
World Book Day 2023
I've had an amazing week visiting different and uniquely wonderful schools; Hertford Heath Primary School, Bushmead Primary School in Luton, Codicote C of E Primary School, High Beeches Primary School and St Dominics Primary School (both in Harpenden) where I met many dedicated teachers and enthusiastic children.
This year I was additionally lucky to take part in the wonderful Hitchin Children's Festival at the superb British School Museum.
I'm hoping to get some photos and when I do I will update again with my highlights.
A thousand thank yous to all of you for making me feel so welcome and special.
Delighted to say that I'm now officially fully booked for World Book Day Week and will be visiting the following schools: Hertford Heath Primary, Bushmead Primary, Codicote Primary, High Beeches Primary and St Dominics Primary.
I am also part of the World Book Day Hitchin Community Festival on Saturday 4 March which is being held at the British Schools Museum.
The Hitchin Festival is being run in partnership with both the museum and the fantastic children's bookshop Next Page Books
For more information about the festival including my event which is at 1pm on Saturday 4 March please visit the British Schools Museum website where you can also get tickets.
Hope to see you there!
Read For Empathy List 2023
Absolutely thrilled to announce that Call Me Lion has been selected by The Empathy Lab as one of their 2023 Read For Empathy books.
This is a huge honour and means that my little book with the big heart will reach further into schools, libraries and the hands of readers who need Leo and Richa in their lives.
You can see from the image above that Call Me Lion is in great company with some of the best children's books being published today.
The work of The Empathy Lab is inspirational and their message is that empathy is a skill that can be taught and using well told stories is one of the best ways to do that. If you want to find out more about what they do and the authors, illustrators and people they work with please click on the link below to visit their website:
The Empathy Lab UK
World Book Day Author Visits
Very excited to announce that I have three school visits booked for WBD week. This means that I still have two free days if you are reading this and would like to make a booking for your school please contact me to make it happen!
Not only am I visiting Hertford Heath, Codicote Primary and High Beeches, I am also thrilled to say that I have been invited to part of the World Book Day Hitchin Festival 2023 on Saturday 4 March. This is a children's book festival organised by a fabulous book shop called Next Page Books who have joined forces with British Schools Museum to bring something fabulous to Hitchin.
For me the best thing about being a Children's Author is meeting readers. I absolutely love doing author visits, particularly in schools so I am thrilled to be 'getting out there' again after the horrible covid years.
Writers & Artists Yearbook Event
I've got a new, freelance, part-time job working as the Children's and YA Events Manager for the events team at the Writers & Artists Yearbook which forms part of Bloomsbury Publishing. The yearbook is the bible for all writers and illustrators at every stage of their careers and it's a total privilege and honour to be working with such a fantastic group of people.
Not only is the team amazing but I'm working on putting together an fantastic festival that runs online over the last weekend in March. The graphic on this blog shows the incredible line-up of talent that we have taking part.
If you're reading this as a writer or illustrator for children then I highly recommend buying a ticket for this amazing weekend. Everything will be recorded, so if you can't make the weekend do still consider the weekend pass. I guarantee it will be money well spent on your career.
All the information and how to get a ticket is here: Children's Writers and Illustrators Festival 2023
When you wake up to stunning views, are surrounded by like minded people, laugh until your belly aches, play improv drama games, make clay sculptures, do writing exercises, explore the countryside, eat glorious food, breathe clean air, talk children's books, listen to readings, join in-depth discussions and share thoughts and opinions whilst feeling safe then you know you're on a writing retreat.
I've just returned, feeling refreshed, reassured, comforted, supported and ready to go. Thank you Scattered Authors Society and to the wonderful Folly Farm Centre for such an amazing and inspiring few days.
New Year Resolutions
I was very touched by the comments of support I received after my last blog. Thank you to all of you who reached out on social media and privately to me. It is really encouraging to know that when I show my soft underbelly people are kind.
We're about to leave behind 2022 and what a year it's been. My highlights have been the launch of Call Me Lion, particularly the party and my Scottish Book Shop tour. I know that there is so much more for the little book with the big heart and can't wait to see what happens next for Leo and Richa.
I'm writing again, something for me and for the pure fun of it and that leads me into my NY Resolutions:
1. Write only for the joy of it
2. Limit my social media time
3. Do not compare myself to others
4. Be kind
Happy New Year to you all - I've got a strong feeling that 2023 is going to be a magical one for me.
Onwards we go!
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