“There’s a little voice inside each and every one of us.”
So begins the children’s book Little Voice, by local author Amanda Bernardo and illustrator Samantha Clusiau-Lawlor. Both Ottawa natives, the talented young pair collaborated on this positive project design to remind young readers that the inspiration to reach our aspirations and goals is within all of us if we just listen to that “little voice.” Gorgeously illustrated with colourful and expressive images, the book’s characters share centre stage with their ambitions, and with the little inner voices pushing them to reach for the stars. The characters struggle with doubts and fears just like the rest of us, feeling different, alone, uncertain, and scared. Yet in listening to their little voices that remind them of their intelligence, creativity, drive, and inner strength, the characters find the motivation to aspire high and fulfill their dreams. Whether wishing to perform better at school, meet athletic goals, rediscover that creative spark, or find the rainbow in the rain cloud, each character has a little voice pointing in the right direction. Every reader young and old can feel inspired by the positive and motivating message of Little Voice.
“The Voice” Amanda Bernardo found natural comfort in the written word, both as a reader and author – she even attempted to write a mini-novel at seven years-old! This love of reading and writing led Amanda to pursue an Honours degree in English Literature and History from Carleton University. “I have always been in love with the power that can be found behind a single word and the even greater power behind a collection of many. We often don’t realize how powerful words can be, or how the echo of such words can inspire or touch countless lives. I have always recognized this emotional connection that can be established and I wanted to utilize it to inspire others.” At only 24-years old, Amanda decided to share her own struggles with trusting her “little voice” with children who may be experiencing the same doubts. Amanda’s words are simple and poetic, with a rhythmic lilt that propel the story along. Yet despite the simplicity the message is powerful, and children will be as transfixed by the pleasant cadence as they are encouraged by the words of Little Voice.
As with Amanda, the “the Artist” Samantha Clusiau-Lawlor also found her calling at a young age. Sam was determined to transform her childhood hobby of drawing into a marketable skill, while maintaining her passion for the art. As a result of her hard work, Sam graduated last spring with honours as a graphic designer at La Cité Collégiale. A lifelong dream to illustrate a children’s book came to fruition when Amanda contacted Sam out of the blue. Given significant artistic freedom and flexibility by “the Voice” to make her words come to life, “the Artist” visualized the text through a child’s perspective and tried to incorporate an inspirational message in each image. The task was accomplished through vivid and charming characters and their accompanying “little voice.” The ambitions, struggles, and successes of each character are clearly yet creatively represented on the page.
A portion of each book sale is donated to The Alzheimer Society. The authors’ wish to give back and raise awareness, with a mind to the author’s grandmother, who has been struggling with the disease. Donate to the authors’ The Little Voice Forget Me Not Project, which includes supporting the Alzheimer’s Society Walk for Memories this January.
With the holiday season in full-swing, Little Voice makes a fantastic and inspiration gift for any child. A book launch will be held at Raw Sugar Café on Somerset Street West on Monday, December 15. It is a great opportunity to pick up your copy of the book and meet the duo who brought Little Voice to life.