Branching Out Books was created by Karen Li and Rachael Constantine to offer a new style of reading for children and their carers. Their recent publication ‘Letters from Lockdown’, written by Karen and illustrated by Rachael, is a wonderful anthology of poetry inspired by the positivity, hope and kindness that shone during challenging times. With profits supporting The Benjamin Foundation and our friends at Finnbar’s Force, we spoke to Karen about the book, why they decided to support our charity and how you can get your hands on a copy to remember this snapshot in time for years to come.
“I wanted to reach out to families to bring some hope and positivity.” Karen explains. “During lockdown, families were still in crisis and I realised that ‘Letters from Lockdown’ could reach out to them on a bigger scale.
“I’m a Hypnotherapist and Counsellor working mainly with children. During lockdown I couldn’t see clients face to face but I could find a different way of working. By writing stories in rhyme, I could express how myself and many others were feeling.
“I’ve written the poems from different perspectives; the poem ‘Message to Mum’ for example is from a child’s point of view. There’s also poems about homeschooling, new ways of learning and I began to realise that they all started to tell a story: That lots of positive things, such as family time, have come out of lockdown and we need to remember this.”
Karen made videos of the poems and shared these on social media.
“Lots of people said that the poems resonated with them.” She adds.
“With proceeds from the book, I wanted to support local charities working with young people. I chose The Benjamin Foundation as one of the charities as they have previously supported our family. Their help was a turning point for us and it would be nice to help others in the same situation.
“I hope that it raises money for you but also brings awareness of your charity by reminding people that you’re here, as well as raising spirits and giving hope to others.”
Thank you to Karen and Rachael for their kind support of The Benjamin Foundation. ‘Letters from Lockdown’ is the perfect way to collect a snapshot of history and, with a space for a personal dedication to be written, the books also make wonderful gifts.
Purchase your copy (priced at £5 each or a bundle of 5 for £20) on the Branching Out Books website: https://www.branchingoutbooks.com/buy.html
Karen and Rachael are currently working on their next book, titled ‘The Anger Monster’ which will be available soon.
"It was good to meet some different people. Often networking is the same people at all events - to meet some new people was refreshing."