No act of kindness is ever wasted – Aesop, teller of tales c590BC

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 the 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 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 little reading circle that takes place on our front display) 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.

Alongside the books is a delightful, and growing, cast of characters created in the creature workshop which happens to be in a shed at the bottom of the garden. Karin Celestine is a needle felt artist as well as a writer. She uses just wool, and the power of observation to create the most wonderful creatures – from hares and foxes, through to polarlopes (a cross between a polar bear and an antelope) and beautifully coloured beetles with fair-isle knit wings. On her website you can see all the creatures that she has made that are waiting for homes (you can buy them from her website or ask her to make you a foxmousepandalope) or you can join one of her workshops and learn to make your own creatures. Just a little is addictive!! We started off with just one tiny weasel and now we have a whole tribe of creatures living in the bookshop that includes a bear called Sophie, a Tyger called Blake and a hedgehog called Quilliam.

There are now six Celestine and the Hare books, all published by Graffeg; and Karin Celestine runs a thriving, creative business of creature-making alongside her writing work. Author Karin Celestine is a former teacher and her knowledge of supporting children on difficult issues is glows brightly in these books. Before setting up Celestine and the Hare, Karin spent 20 years teaching chemistry, crafts and ecology. As an experienced teacher, with a particular interest in working with the children who find a traditional classroom context difficult, Karin has many ways of weaving into her books and her schools’ events conversation-starters on topics such as: how to talk about the power of kindness, preparing for when someone close to us dies, and how it feels to be displaced and taken away from your homeland as well as friendship issues. These are all issues that children think about, see on the news or hear discussed in the playground. She also has various tactics using crafts and nature to help those for who struggle to sit behind a desk. You can find out more about Karin’s work with schools on her author page about book events here:

You can find out more about Karin’s work with schools on her Author’s Aloud page:

All books by Celestine and the Hare are published by Graffeg, which is one of our favourite publishers – their work is beautiful and brave and unlike anything that is being created by the big publishing houses. You can find out more about Graffeg here