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Sir Callie and the Champions of Helston (Hardcover)

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Sir Callie and the Champions of Helston By Esme Symes-Smith Cover Image
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Other Books in Series

This is book number 1 in the Sir Callie series.

Staff Reviews

Callie is lucky. They may not be a prince or from a royal family, but the family they’ve found in the forest, Eyrewood is a beautiful muddle of people who find love and support more important than cookie cutter definitions. When Callie’s father is summoned back to the castle, Callie goes with him and discovers the damage and trauma that afflicts those forced to be something they are not. Magic, knights, witches, dragons, and a lord in power who is willing to risk anything and anyone to keep the world as he sees it, the dangers to the Crown and Callie’s friends are imminent.  But as Callie’s sense of who they are strengthens, that confidence empowers those around. Change is coming to Helston, and the battle for what that change will look like is just beginning.

— Linda

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.

Praise For…


"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.” 
Kirkus Reviews

"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."

"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

Product Details
ISBN: 9780593485774
ISBN-10: 0593485777
Publisher: Labyrinth Road
Publication Date: November 8th, 2022
Pages: 400
Language: English
Series: Sir Callie