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Reviewed by Rosie Malezer for Readers' Favorite
Camilla of Grayville is a wonderful story of social interaction, written by William Baga and illustrated by Donna Secour. Hidden within the gray walls of a town called Grayville, the inhabitants hide behind their phone screens and ignore all that takes place around them. One day, a young girl named Camilla accidentally drops her phone, which lands near a book. Out of curiosity, she begins to read it. Camilla is mercilessly teased and bullied for her actions, before one of the men of the town stands up for her. Inspired by this, others begin to put their phones down and start reliving their ambitions. An old woman who does not understand the phone craze witnesses this and encourages them to pool their ideas. After a wonderful invention is created, Camilla is determined to inspire more people to rediscover their dreams... away from their phones.
Never before have I been so transfixed by a story – one which I can fully relate to. William Baga’s tale of phone zombies who decide to start living real life instead of toying and tinkering on social media and the internet is one which struck a chord with me. Being Deaf, I am only able to communicate with those who are watching rather than those who are listening while busying themselves on other things. When people are fully focused on a game or on social media constantly, relationships start to become so strained that they eventually disintegrate. Sure, it is easier sometimes to communicate with people from behind the screen, but it is so wonderfully refreshing to actually look up and see somebody who is noticing what is happening around them in the world, noticing the beauty in nature and more – and before you know it, you suddenly find that you have a new friend in the world that you can connect with in person. I cheered and hollered by the time Camilla of Grayville’s story had been told, and wholeheartedly recommend this to readers aged 13 to 100, as the digital age of isolation seems to affect almost all of us at some stage in our lives.