School visits and Skype sessions and teacher notes
Upcoming Book events:
Teacher notes for books 1-6 click on the picture below
(work in progress)
(Scroll down for skype sessions)
I offer school, library and festival events
I also offer skype/facetime sessions with schools. Pupils can see the Tribe and the Shed and who lives in there as well as me reading them a story and answering any questions they have. Please see bottom of page for Skype sessions details and the opportunity to apply for a virtual visit from the Shed for a nominal cost.
Primary School Visits
Here are some examples of the sort of thing I could do with your school. The books focus on small acts of kindness as well as themes such as belonging, loss, fear and friendship all in the most gentle and caring way that you might not notice if you didn't need to hear it. They also cover music, reading, nightmares, refugees, environmental issues of bees, planting flowers etc. They contain conversation starters for topics that schools and parents sometimes need a help to start. Having been a teacher myself, I am more than happy to work with the school to weave in any themes that need addressing.
Younger Primary Class: 5-8yrs old
Introduce myself and the characters, read one of the stories, do the craft activity from the book. This can be extended from a single lesson to a whole morning with more activities, conversations and building on the theme. I can leave teachers with ideas of how to continue on the themes in the book with writing, drawing, themes to work on.
For example: Read Honey for Tea. Make alder cone bees, say some funny rhymes about bees and discussion on helping and kindness. A session outside looking at the playground and surrounds to see how bee friendly the grounds might be. Planting seeds for flowers for bees. Finish with another story.
Extended activities for teachers could be making a bee friendly garden, botany, kindness, getting on with friends who ‘sting’, write a story about their bee or poems about bees, alliteration, buzzy fuzzy bees knees.
Each book has a small act of kindness in it and a craft activity and there are conversation and story starters to work with.
Older Primary School Class: 9-11 yrs old examples:
Introduce myself and what I do. Read a story and do the craft. They then write their own story for a younger class where I give them a simple craft (or they find their own) and they write a story where it is used. Writing instructions (good skill for science!) at the end. Using photography to illustrate the story like my books, or draw. Can they tell it with stop motion animation and no words? (if the school has access to cameras/computers/tablets we can do some stop motion animation. I can link any current theme the class are studying to the books with discussion with the teachers.
I can leave teachers ideas on how to build on what we have done after the visit and am really happy to be flexible in what I do and I like to discuss with the school what they would like so it really works for them and the children. Schools are welcome to club together if they are near each other and combine costs for a day visit with me. I am also happy to do an inset with staff at the end of the day.
I have DBS and was an outstanding teacher before becoming an author, teaching teenagers crafts, chemistry, history of art and ancient history. I can also work with older secondary aged pupils on textiles, felting, art portfolios, stop motion animation, general discussions on who you might want to be in life, being an author, artist etc as well as the books and crafts with younger children.
Secondary School Visits
I was a secondary school teacher for 20 years and love working with teenagers. I am really happy to do a visit with older pupils on being an author and artist, working in the industry, advice on art portfolios, needle-felting textile art sessions or stop motion animation, writing children's books etc.
I do events for adult groups, e.g. Forest School Groups, School Inset Days etc where I can address either a particular topic you have in mind or I will read you a story and we will do the crafts whilst discussing how the books and crafts can be used in your teaching. I am happy to do local evening events for groups at a reduced rate.
I offer skype/facetime sessions with schools. Pupils can see the Tribe and the Shed and who lives in there as well as me reading them a story and answering any questions they have. You can book me by my contact form at the bottom of the page or via authors aloud. There is a small fee for this. I usually charge £50, but once a month I offer a place for £20 which you can apply for if needed. I can send signed and dedicated books to the children and send you a booking form template for book sales if you would like one. Happy to follow up the visit with a letter, or to read some stories etc.
Please email me direct if you would like to book a slot. Dates and times are subject to me being available.
Virtual school visits are a great way for me to read one of my books to school children and answer some of their questions without me having to spend any time travelling - and they have a lot less impact on my carbon footprint than a regular school trip! Details of technical requirements here
We were lucky enough to have the opportunity to work with Karin as a prize for a writing competition we entered within our local authority. Prior to Karin's visit, she contacted me to find out as much as she could about the class and endeavoured to tailor her session to the needs and abilities of the children. (Year one and two mixed class) Karin's books are just perfect for children of this age. They reach out to the children in such a way that was a privilege to see. Before her visit, to get the children enthused, we read the story "Small finds a home." The children immediately identified with the messages of friendship and kindness and adored the characters in the book. The photos which accompany the stories bring the characters to life. The books also have the animals showing you how to make things from the story at the back.Karin arrived and the children were in awe. She introduced herself and the shed that she compiles her stories in. Then, the best part, the characters from the story! The children loved being able to meet the characters and ask questions about them. "Honey for tea" was the story we were treated to and the children were mesmerised from the off. After the story, we made alder cone honey bee's which delighted the children. We then all went outside with the simple instruction "to find things that your bees might like." The conversations and observations the children made were wonderful to observe. The delight as they found various flowers and colours that they had never noticed around the school grounds before, but we're now so obvious now they had their buzzy bee! The conversation from a group of boys about how bees make honey from the flowers and how we should plant more, all this from a simple yet such effective activity.After break, we planted seeds which the children took home. We completed the morning with Karin's third book "A paper boat for panda." The children were desperate to make the paper boats from the story so after Karin's visit, we followed the instructions from the back of the story and each made our own!I still have mine! :-) The children loved their morning with Karin, the children were engaged throughout and the messages through her stories cover so many important topics for children. The books have enthused my class and myself. We just can't wait for the next lot of books! Thank you! Kirsty MacDougall-WilliamsClass teacher
The children listened with rapt attention to the story reading – we take particular note of authors who are great at reading aloud their own work, as this is a skill quite different from being able to write! Karin reads aloud with great expression and sensitivity; she also involved one of the children in the reading, enlisting his help to turn the pages of a second copy as she read to ensure that all children could see the illustrations.
Both the activities involved paper-folding, all that was needed were simple things that could be found in most locations – A4 paper, scissors and pencils. She instructed the children clearly and with enormous patience, often folding and unfolding repeatedly so the children could see exactly how the shapes were changing. The emphasis was on them understanding the process well enough to be able to do it themselves; although help was
always given to those who asked for it.
While the children were adding to their creations with little drawings that were important to them, Karin led a conversation about the content of the books: about how it makes someone feel when you do something kind for them; and about how everyone likes different books, but how all of those books, however different, will need a book mark.
The children in the sessions were visibly inspired and didn’t want to leave. Some stayed longer just to draw on paper left behind – which was also encouraged – and others had gained the confidence to try different ways of folding the paper, for example one boy found a way to add a fold that gave the animal fox ears.
We are already planning to invite Karin Celestine back to Warwickshire; where we’d like to arrange for her to do a longer session within a school environment. In the run up to this event Karin has been extremely helpful and interesting; supplying us with the information we need to be able to talk about the books and their underlying themes to the many teachers and parents who come in to the shop; in effect she has supplied us with very
valuable teaching notes
For Kenilworth Books
Helping Hedgehog Home
"Karin Celestine creates worlds full of curiosity, kindness and adventure that can happen in any back garden or window box. Her characters open our eyes to the small wonders around us, and open our hearts to the small creatures we share our lives with." Gill Lewis
"The latest in this series of quietly exquisite little books, continues with the theme of kindness and empathy. But there’s a good dose of science and invention too and the excellent take home message that ‘A Good Idea’, delivered at the right moment has the power to change lives. Satisfying storyline that the littlest children can follow and bigger ones enjoy, and illustrations with a charm somewhere between ‘Flower Fairies’ and ’Tales Of The RiverBank. Perfect Easter reading!" Nicola Davies
"...Adventurous, funny and clever, the clear and easy to read text make this book perfect for young readers and to share with the family or classroom. There is much room for both discussions about the natural world we share and for flights of the imagination. Each character has its' own unique personality, and as a community display a great gift for compassion and willingness to get along. They bring their own gifts to the situation and, because of that, the problem is easily solved. The illustrations are endlessly charming; made with felt creatures Celestine handcrafts herself, painstakingly places and photographs. The result is the creation of a marvellous, artistic, inventive and very real world...." Read the full blog post review by Fallen Star Stories here
"Celestine makes her animal characters and props, poses them in natural surroundings and photographs them as illustrations for her stories. This instantly gives her books an endearing touch of Tales of The Riverbank – for those of us old enough to remember the TV show -- but with very much her own twist and her own special take on nature. In BERT’S GARDEN, Bert, who is vole, “always makes sure there are extra wild strawberries for the circus mice who pass by in the summer.” In that one sentence and the accompanying picture, Celestine conjures up a whole world – a whole life – beyond the immediate story; the sign of a true storyteller. Bert’s story is a simple one, and he ends up making a bug house for some visitors to his garden. They return his kindness a thousand-fold. We are even given tips on making a bug house of our very own. But BERT’S GARDEN is about more than caring for our environment. It’s about caring for each other. And there’s no more important story than that. It is, quite simply, a delight."
"Karin Celestine’s world may be soft and woolly, but it has all the challenges of our own. In this gorgeously illustrated story, Bert is annoyed by newcomers, but they help in his beautiful garden. Celestine’s stories are heart-breakingly honest, and her heroes are vulnerable as well as strong. You will want to crawl right into her photographs to live.’
Bertram Likes to Sew
I wish I had someone to read this to me when I was small as it would have made sense and make me feel great. A really delightful read.' - Mister Finch
'How I would have adored this book and all your work when I was little kid. It’s like a cross between the flower fairies books and tales of the river bank.
Not only charming and heartwarming but full of the compelling fascination of the tiny; minute tea cups and a world where blackberries are as big as your head.
I only wish these had been around when I was 6.'
'It’s so gentle, kind, deep, profound in such a light and accessible way. I think we all know as writers that the sparest of words are the hardest to find….but you have done it so beautifully.
I especially love the bit about learning how to ask questions…made me smile.
I think lots of littl’uns will find comfort knowing that you don’t have to like what everyone else is doing.
I want to shrink and live in Bertram’s world.’
'Totally charming, thoughtful story’ Julia Green
'IReally love this quirky, gorgeous book. Gentle-but-firm story about determinedly being yourself. So beautiful you'll want to climb into the pages, and has a craft activity and natural history, too." Mimi Thebo
If you haven’t yet found these beautiful little books, pick one up and have a look. We’ve never found a book so small that is so warm and so heartbreakingly profound. The creatures in this delightful little tribe have lives that revolve around the tiny pleasures that the world can offer – from having honey made by bees in the garden, to the joy of making a new friend and giving them the warm home that they need. With so many awful things in the world, and so much hate, these books are about the huge power of simple kindness. If the next generation grows up knowing these stories, then there is hope. But these are tales that we should all read – not just the children. These are stories about how it feels to be alone and displaced, what it means to be with friends who love you, the pleasure and pain of a beautiful memory, and the need for comfort after a facing a nightmare. They are utterly beautiful little stories – and the creatures that Karin Celestine makes are brimming with character. They are definitely completely real. The Warwickshire Tribe (that you see here with their books in the window) have little choklit parties at night in the bookshop when we have gone home. But they always tidy up after themselves and leave a few biscuits for us too." Kenilworth Books
"Karin Celestine’s wonderful, life-affirming books encourage us all to keep in touch with and to nurture the playfulness, exploration and hope of childhood. These are books that make the world a better place."
Wonderful Review from Playing by the Book
"The stories are funny, touching and really embody something fundamental about what it is to be a person; with a subtle but definite message of love, kindness, positivity, honesty and courage. And for fans of King Norty (which I think is probably everyone) he makes his first appearance in these stories, being absolutely the King Norty we know and love.." Review by Sara Barratt
Featured in the Observer and Guardian online as the top picks for Christmas books!