Sir Callie and the Champions of Helston (Hardcover)
Other Books in Series
This is book number 1 in the Sir Callie series.
November/December 2022 Kids Indie Next List
“Sir Callie slashes gender norms with the cold bite of a steel blade. Nonbinary Callie dreams of being a knight, but the rigid rules of the kingdom are hard to escape. A captivating page-turner that will have you on the edge of your seat!”
— Jess Cooper, Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Cincinnati, OH
In a magical medieval world filled with dragons, shape-shifters, and witches, a twelve-year-old nonbinary hopeful knight battles for the heart of their kingdom. A thrilling middle-grade series opener that explores identity and gender amid sword fights and magic, and proves anyone can be a hero.
“These heroes come in all shapes and skills—I cheered for them throughout their exciting journey.” —#1 New York Times bestselling author Tamora Pierce
When their ex-hero dad is summoned back to the royal capital of Helston to train a hopeless crown prince, Callie lunges at the opportunity to finally prove themself worthy to the kingdom’s "great and powerful." Except the intolerant great and powerful look at nonbinary Callie and only see girl. But Callie has always known exactly what they want to be, and they’re not about to let anything stand in their way.
Trapped in Helston’s rigid hierarchy where girls learn magic and boys train as knights, Callie discovers they aren’t alone—there’s Elowen, the chancellor’s brilliant daughter, whose unparalleled power is being stifled; Edwyn, Elowen’s twin brother desperate to win his father’s approval; and Willow, the crown prince who was never meant to be king.
In this start to an epic series packed with action, humor, and heart, Callie and their new friends quickly find themselves embedded in an ancient war—and their only hope to defeat the threats outside the kingdom lies in first defeating the bigotry within.
"Everything you could possibly want from a middle grade fantasy." —The Nerd Daily
About the Author
After cutting their teeth on a steady diet of fan fiction in the Southwest of England, Esme Symes-Smith wandered north to Wales for their degree in literature and creative writing, then promptly migrated to Missouri after meeting their wife on Tumblr. Esme has been a ghostwriter, an editor, a frozen-yogurt seller, and a caffeine purveyor. They now wrangle preschoolers for a living and have a severe tea problem.
ALA Rainbow Book Top 10 List
"Everything you could possibly want from a middle grade fantasy....Fierce, sharp-witted and unapologetically queer."
—The Nerd Daily
★ "Tenacious, vulnerable, and gritty, Sir Callie is a hero that belongs on every library shelf. This is an important book that will capture every reader’s heart and imagination."
—SLJ, starred review
★ "In this uplifting debut, Symes-Smith skillfully crafts an emotionally rich adventure starring an intersectionally inclusive cast of courageous characters."
—Publishers Weekly, starred review
★ "A can’t-miss, one-of-a-kind (for now!) page-turner, bursting with heart...Among the best of the year—and a debut, no less."
—Booklist, starred review
“Fierce, heartfelt and determined....Callie and their friends refuse to give up or stop questioning the discrimination within their society.”
"Young readers will find a worthy hero in Callie."
"Symes-Smith has forged a razor-sharp story of bravery, emotional resilience, deep honor, and adventure!'
— Ash Van Otterloo, author of CATTYWAMPUS
"This warm hug of a book is a love letter to classic fantasy novels and a joyous celebration of found families, finding your place, and making your way in the world on your terms (and with your chosen pronouns). It's thoughtful, inclusive, and an absolute joy."
— Jamie Pacton, author of THE LIFE AND (MEDIEVAL) TIMES OF KIT SWEETLY
"A groundbreaking, magical story about fighting for who you are...Callie is a character every middle grade reader deserves to have on their shelves."
— Nicole Melleby, author of HURRICANE SEASON
"A groundbreaking story with engaging, unforgettable characters, whose personal journeys will mean the world to so many young readers."
— A. J. Sass, author of ANA ON THE EDGE
“Sir Callie is the hero I needed while growing up, and I am so grateful this story exists for kids today.”
—H.E Edgmon, Author of THE WITCH KING