I was thrilled with Whatever It Takes asked me to take part in their Authors on Tour initiative for 2023. I was allocated to half day visits in two different primary schools in Leicester. The first was Rolleston Primary School in Glen Parva. It was raining heavily when I arrived and unfortunately the security of the school stopped my presentation from being loaded. I had to do my author talk from memory which was a first. It all went well and even the staff joined in with the dancing!
Next it was to the North side of Leicester for my afternoon visit with Sandfield Close Primary School. Luckily the presentation worked fine and the children were thrilled to meet an author in the flesh as they'd only had virtual visits before. It was one of the biggest workshops/masterclasses I have ever delivered as the whole of Y3 and Y4 wanted to take part. We did some fun empathy based exercises and used Call Me Lion to think like writers. I like these before and during photos of the school hall.
A huge thank you to the staff and pupils at both schools for welcoming me so warmly and for embracing Call Me Lion. It was a total joy to talk to so many of you who knew all about Leo and I even met a real life Richa who spoke Gujarati. Wonderful! Thanks again to Whatever it Takes for such an incredible programme. Hope to work with you again.
I am delighted to be taking part in Authors on Tour 2023. On Tuesday 20 June I will be visiting Rolleston Primary School and Sandfield Close Primary School, both in Leicester. Can't wait!
I've recently started offering mentoring and/or coaching services for children's writers. I'm completely flexible and can tailor make my services to your needs. I charge a standard hourly rate of £35. if you're interested in finding out more please visit my coaching/mentoring page and then, if you'd like to go ahead, please contact me
Yesterday was my first visit to a school to deliver Empathy Awareness talks and workshops. I was lucky enough to be invited to the famous Haberdashers' Boys School in Boreham Wood, a very impressive prep school in extensive, pristine grounds.
The staff and boys were all very welcoming and I delivered four workshops to each year group (Y3-Y6) and a short 'meet the author' overview assembly to the entire school.
One of the activities we did was to add post-it notes to flip charts dotted around the room with the prompt: Sometimes I Feel... See the photograph below for some of the boy's responses. You'll see that some of the results were very moving. The exercise allowed the children to realise how we can all feel differently and helped them understand the varying perspectives of their classmates.
You may remember that Call Me Lion was shortlisted in the Oxfordshire Book Awards way back in September last year. They just announced the winners and there was no sign of Call Me Lion in amongst the titles. I am still waiting to hear news about the Portsmouth Y5 Awards which I'm guessing will be the same news. HOWEVER...
Here is Call Me Lion as one of only four finalists in the SCBWI Crystal Kite Award. This is a very special achievement as voting is only by SCBWI members. Not only that but I am alongside my friends. I know and respect all of the fellow authors in the final line-up so whoever wins I am happy (obviously I hope its me ;)) I'm totally thrilled to still be in the running and very grateful to all my fellow SCBWI members who read and voted for Call Me Lion. If that's you then THANK YOU! It really means the world.
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!
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