Penny Thomas, Publisher at children’s and YA publisher Firefly Press has acquired UK and Commonwealth rights in Call Me Lion by Camilla Chester from Veronique Baxter at David Higham Associates.

‘I’m not stupid. I’m not weird. I’m not ill. I’m Leo. I’m Leo and I’ve just turned ten. I’m Leo, I’ve just turned ten and I still can’t talk. There are lots of things I can do. I can dance, I can understand complicated words like humiliation and catatonic and I can bounce freestyle on my trampoline. But none of this matters when you can’t talk.’

Leo loves to dance. But he thinks it’s impossible to have friends when he can’t talk. So why is Richa, the girl who has just moved in next door still trying? There’s a heatwave in Luton and it’s too hot for him to think about all of this complicated stuff. But Leo’s life is about to change…

Call Me Lion is a testament to the power of friendship, understanding, communication and expression in all its forms.

‘This is such a wonderful, bittersweet but happy book,’ said Thomas. ‘The characters bubble with life and energy, and we are delighted to be publishing their story.’

Camilla Chester said: ‘Firefly is exactly the right publisher for both myself and Call Me Lion. I feel in very safe hands and excited about the next part of our journey.’

The novel is slated for publication in summer 2022.

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