Chums launch children’s book “Best friends for Ever” about friendship

By Davina Hyde, Local Democracy Reporter

Two friends that met at a charity event have launched a children’s book about friendship.

The book’s illustrator, Claire Beale, and mum and author, Stella Twene (pictured above), launched their debut children’s picture book “Best friends for Ever” on December 2.

The launch was to take place in Kennington’s Durning Library, but a breakdown of the heating system prompted a last-minute change of plan, and the Kennington Coffee Shop sprang to their rescue and hosted the event.

The story, which is aimed at 3 to 8 year olds, tells what happens when Paddy the fox and Bella the deer were, by chance, born at about the same time in different parts of the forest.

Disaster strikes them both when they are still only a few months old.

One of them loses their way and the other steps out into the sunshine.

Illustrations by Claire Beale for Best Friends for Ever

Author Stella was looking for an artist for her story when she met Claire at an NHS event at a local hospital in October 2019, and  since then they have met several times via Zoom and during gaps in the months of lockdown.

At the launch Stella spoke about the theme of friendship and what it means to her, with the important message that goodwill and trust are necessary for the friendship to flourish.

Claire Beale said: “As a fine art painter this was my first foray into book illustration.

“Stella’s story was very visual and its message of tolerance and harmony between unlikely creatures appealed to me.

“It took a year to work through the scenes and the process drove some tweaks to the narrative and dramatic moments to make the story flow.

“Making the drawings has been immensely enjoyable and Stella was encouraging from the start.”

Arthur Leck, Library Manager, said: “Stella and Claire are welcome to come back with their book when we restart our Wednesday Story Time sessions”.

Andrew, who runs the Kennington Coffee Shop said: “For my regular customers it was a bit of a surprise to find themselves in the midst of a book launch. But everyone enjoyed it and I am sure we shall be hosting similar events in the future.”

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