With the launch of the Lighthouse only four months away, we wanted to share a first glimpse at our newest book!
You heard right! Little Voice’s newest book The Lighthouse is targeting a release date for this October! Can you guess why? On October 10, 2017, the world will be raising awareness for mental health as part of World Mental Health Day and we want to join in!
As many of you know, The Lighthouse is a story that will support children and adults alike in raising awareness for mental health, but it is also a story we hope will shine the light on the stories, situations, and people that often struggle alone in silence. Where one reader can relate to the feelings shared in our book, we hope the other will learn to recognize the signs of a friend in need and in turn, become the lighthouse that reminds them that they are not alone.
With our countdown officially on for the launch of The Lighthouse we are excited to share a sneak peek of our newest characters and the story that we are so proud to share with all of our readers.
Stay tuned for the launch of our pre-order this upcoming August and be the first to reserve your copy! This journey has already transformed the way the Little Voice team thinks, talks, and reacts to mental health … we hope it will have the same powerful impact on you.
This past January, Little Voice was very excited to announce their latest children’s book that would focus on mental health. The decision was a no brainer and instantly became a powerful journey for both author Amanda Bernardo and illustrator Samantha Clusiau-Lawlor.
For many years, Amanda has been an advocate for mental health. She has fought to create awareness for Alzheimer’s disease and has, more recently, opened up about her personal struggle with anxiety.
I have never really opened up about my anxiety. I never wanted to appear weak, I never wanted to feel judged, and I never wanted to have it define who I was or who I could become. Anxiety can be something different for everyone. I never got anxious about work or deadlines, or speaking in front of large crowds; instead, the smallest of details that for many would seem insignificant would replay over and over and over again, until I would feel sick. I hated how certain thoughts could sometimes keep me up all night or even worse, trigger a panic attack. I hated it because I couldn’t control it and if I couldn’t be in control of my anxiety, then a part of me felt like I wasn’t in control of my life. Over the years, I have learned to deal with my anxiety. I guess in many ways I started trying to drown out the thoughts that would make me sick and instead focus on the little voice that inspired me to live life to the fullest. I am extremely proud to be launching this next book in the Little Voice series not only because of how close to home it hits, but because I know it will serve as an important tool to truly start a conversation around mental health. This is our little way of breaking the stigma, but more importantly, our big way of reminding all those suffering from mental illness that they are not alone.
– Amanda Bernardo, Author
This past June, Samantha shared her story for the very first time publicly in a three part series titled Aftertaste. The short series shared Samantha’s journey with an eating disorder and served as the beginning to her own advocacy work towards mental health.
Having struggled not only with a mental illness, but also the fear of sharing my story with others, I know how difficult it can be to share parts of you that for many years you even hid from yourself. As I shared in my short series Aftertaste, I was scared to seek help, I was scared to open up, and I was scared of what others may say when I finally had the courage to say “I have an eating disorder.” I had to first find it in myself to be okay before I could begin to be okay with others. Sometimes those first steps can be the hardest and the scariest but what I learned in sharing my story is that we are not alone. We are each fighting our own battles every single day, but if we do not open up and share out stories with others, we will only continue to let the stigma define us. I am so excited for this next book in the Little Voice series and hope that my art, accompanied by Amanda’s poetry, will serve as an important tool that I only wish I had growing up. This will no doubt be one of the most powerful projects I have ever had the privilege of working on and I can’t wait to share it with all of you.
– Samantha Clusiau-Lawlor, Illustrator
Today, Little Voice is extremely excited to share with you the cover of our newest book: The Lighthouse.
We are also very excited to announce that a portion of every book sale will be donated in support of the National Canadian Mental Health Association. We hope that our newest children’s book will not only start an important conversation around mental health but that it will also support the programs and services that help to build resilience and support recovery from mental illness in communities across Canada.
Over the next few months we will be working to finalize The Lighthouse and will be sharing updates on how you can pre-order your very own copy. Please continue to follow our journey until then!
A special blog post written by Little Voice’s author Amanda Bernardo in support of Little Voice’s 2017 Walk for Alzheimers.
I can’t tell you how much it means to me to be involved with the Alzheimer Society of Ottawa and Renfrew County. I have accomplished a lot in my life thus far, but there is no joy or pride greater than my efforts in supporting and creating awareness for Alzheimer’s disease. – Amanda Bernardo
When I was eleven years old, my grandmother travelled from Italy to Canada for the very first time. It was at the tender age of eleven that I also learned about Alzheimer’s disease for the very first time.
My grandmother, Teresina Bernardo, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 1995 and at the age of sixty-six. A few years later, she came to Canada for the very first time. At this early stage in the disease, the signs were evident but not alarming. I remember her often repeating the same questions over and over again but I was still too young to understand the full impacts of the disease. It wasn’t until our own trips back to Italy that I began to see how much this disease could deteriorate someone.
A lot of children grow up fearing spiders or heights, but from a young age I feared what could one day be my own inevitable fate.
As the years passed, I slowly lost my grandmother. The disease began as a form of forgetfulness but evolved into something no words can describe. My grandmother is now eighty-eight years old and has been “living” with this disease for over 20 years. Now, in the late stages of this disease, she is no longer able to communicate or look after herself. Living oceans apart from one another, Alzheimer’s disease ultimately stripped me from a relationship with my grandmother.
I’ve known Alzheimer’s disease for a very long time and truthfully, for many years, I wasn’t able to talk about my experiences, or my fears, without tears falling from my face. Even today, I still struggle to share my story but I realized a long time ago that without talking about this disease, without fundraising behind it, without supporting the men and women who volunteer day in and day out to make a difference, nothing would change.
I only wish I was able to share this with my grandmother but I know deep down inside she is proud of me and all that I have accomplished in her name.
I truly appreciate the Alzheimer Society of Ottawa and Renfrew County’s recognition of my efforts; I will forever be a part of this lifelong fight for a cure and will continue to support organizations like this that do wonders to support the families affected by this disease.
Being a part of this movement and community is something I will truly cherish forever.
I hope you will join us on Saturday, May 13, 2017 as we walk for all those in our community, our country and the world who continue to battle with Alzheimer’s disease, for the families who become full-time caregivers, and to the Alzheimer Society who continues to offer programs and services that help to make a difference in the lives of all those affected by this disease.
For the past two years, readers have asked the Little Voice team when the next Little Voice book could be expected.
To be honest, for a long time, I did not know. I knew what the Little Voice series would look like but hadn’t put pen to pad in a long time. I guess you could say I had a major case of writer’s block. When I first set out to create Little Voice, I knew I wanted to create a publishing company that would utilize literature as a means of creating awareness while giving back to my community. The next Little Voice book had to fill this criteria in order for the writing to truly flow. I always refer to the first Little Voice book as the general mantra of what Little Voice is all about. The series that would follow would be more specific, tackling important issues that face the next generation.
– Amanda Bernardo, Author
And so, today on January 25, 2017, to coincide with #BellLetsTalk, the Little Voice team is finally ready to announce their next book. Together, with the talents of Samantha Clusiau-Lawlor and the writing by Amanda Bernardo, the Little Voice team will be launching Book #2 as the official start to the Little Voice Series.
The next Little Voice book will focus on mental health and will serve as a tool to educate children and as a means to help end the stigma.
Mental illness is something Little Voice has advocated for in creating awareness for Alzheimer’s disease, in Samantha’s own story with an eating disorder, and Amanda’s struggles with anxiety. The reality is, we are all impacted by our mental health. For some, it takes major moments in life to recognize that help is needed, while others continue to suffer in silence in fear of being judged. This needs to end.
By creating this new book on mental health, Little Voice hopes to continue to support conversations like #BellLetsTalk while inspiring children everywhere to break the silence and seek support if needed. By sharing our stories, we realize that we are not alone and that our mental health is something that is always worth prioritizing.
We look forward to keeping you updated on our future plans for Book #2 and hope to share an official title with you soon. Stay tuned and until then, please take part in today’s #BellLetsTalk.
Every time you talk, text and join in on social media on January 25, Bell will donate 5¢ more to mental health initiatives.
A special blog post from Little Voice’s illustrator Samantha Clusiau-Lawlor.
Did you know that eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness? Coming from someone who has suffered from one, I am saddened by this statistic but not surprised.
My own journey with an eating disorder, which you can read about here, left me depleted, emotionally unstable and trapped for years. In 2016, I managed to seek recovery for the first time. Through therapy, coping techniques and various resources, I am proud to say that I have been able to stay on the recovery path. I had to gain much needed weight but more importantly, had to work on the emotional side of things in order to find food freedom, and self-love.
2016 has been an amazing year for Little Voice and we couldn’t have done it without you!
Each year, Little Voice sets a number of goals that will enable us to plan for the future and make a difference in our community! This past year, Little Voice aimed to increase our outreach, launch our movement, and increase our donations to the Alzheimer Society of Canada. Here’s a look back at 2016 and how we managed to reach our goals:
Thanks to our community, Little Voice was able to increase our outreach efforts through a number of media outlets:
Meeting our readers in person has always been a great opportunity for us to answer your questions and see the impact our book has had in your homes and schools. We hope to put on many more events this upcoming year and to meet many more of you at our local events.
The Little Voice Movement
This past Summer, Little Voice launched our official movement. The movement was our way to give back, not only to the Alzheimer Society of Canada, but to all those searching for a way to fundraise in their communities.
Thanks to CTV and Upfront Ottawa, we were able to share our movement with all of you:
By registering to become an Little Voice Ambassador, you can create your own inspirational movement in your community. Whether you choose to support your school, an important cause, or your future, Little Voice will donate $5 dollars from every book sale you’ve made to support your movement.
You can learn more about our movement on our website and sign-up today … for free!
The Forget Me Not Project
Every year, since publishing Little Voice, we have challenged ourselves to grow our donations to the Alzheimer Society of Canada through the Forget Me Not Project. By participating in the Walk for Alzheimers, Little Voice has been able to work with our local Alzheimer Society chapter and with YOU to fundraise in support of Alzheimer’s research, programs and services! This past year, through your generosity, Little Voice was able to raise $1, 875 dollars.
Little Voice was also very proud to put on the Dream Big Dream, Girl Luncheon that successfully raised $2,000 dollars in support of the Alzheimer Society. Together, we were able to not only get together and feel inspired, but we were also able to empower the next generation of dreamers to make a difference in their own communities.
A BIG thank you to all those who attended and to our guest speakers, sponsors and the Dream, Girl film, which made the event possible!
The New Year is an amazing opportunity to look back on all the little moments that made up the sum of our entire year. It’s a chance to be grateful for all the positivity that came in to your life, to examine where you can grow, and to challenge yourself to reach new heights in the year ahead.
For Little Voice, a new year is an opportunity for us to set new goals that will allow us to reach more readers and support many more causes. It’s an opportunity to say thank you for believing in our message and vision and sharing our book with your students, children, family and friends.
But more importantly, it is a perfect reminder for each and every one of us to listen to our little voice and to not let another year go by where we ignore it.
We wish you all a very Happy New Year and cannot wait to share what we have planned for 2017 with all of you!
This Christmas Little Voice is extremely excited to support a local initiative that is working towards bringing a smile to every child’s face in Ottawa on Christmas morning!
Each year, Toy Mountain and the Salvation Army provide toys to over 20,000 children. This year, the goal is to leave no child in Ottawa without a gift to open on Christmas morning. By supporting the Toy Mountain Movement, you are helping children have a magical Christmas by not only donating a copy of Little Voice/La petite voix but also by contributing $5 from every book sale to the campaign!
The Little Voice Movement is a way for us to use our platform to give back to our community and country. With every book sale, Little Voice donates $5 towards any give cause or charity. With Toy Mountain, we’re asking you to use the coupon code below to purchase a book that will be donated to a child this Christmas.
Every book that is purchased using the coupon code “toymountain” will not only be donated to this incredible cause but Little Voice will also donate $5 from each book sale to support the Toy Mountain in reaching their goal of giving every child in Ottawa a gift this Christmas.
There is something about birthdays that forces us to look back on the year that has passed. It’s an opportunity for us to cherish the memories we gained, the friendships we created, and the work we have accomplished. For Little Voice, turning two is an opportunity to do just that.
It’s amazing to see how far Little Voice has come. This past year, Little Voice proved to our community that we are not only a children’s book but a movement that is determined to make a difference. Our official launch of our movement was an extraordinary moment for us; it was a chance to share with the world not only our story but the vision that makes Little Voice the social enterprise that it is. We made it clear that with our profits we wanted to do good in the world, whether that be through supporting a charitable cause, a community initiative or a child’s education. We wanted to inspire the next generation to be advocates for causes they believe in and to enable them to fundraise and give back wherever possible. We wanted to empower the little voice inside each and every one of you that will enable you to chase your dreams and make a difference in this world.
These past two years have been nothing short of amazing. We’ve been extremely blessed to have your support day in and day out in all that we do. We’ve made friends, we’ve made readers, and, more importantly, we made believers out of all of you. We made you believe in yourself once more, in your passions, in your talents, and in the dreams that perhaps you slowly forgot.
I’ll never forget the feeling I had after seeing Little Voice come to life for the first time. After hiding my writing for so long, and from so many, I was finally ready to share my writing with the world. While it was the most amazing feeling to see my dream come to life, it was also one of the most scariest moments of my life. For a lot of people, it can sometimes be quite frightening to share their true passion, what inspires them, or who they truly are. This was certainly true for me. I was scared of what people may think of my work, and was almost hesitant at first to take on this adventure. But Little Voice made me a believer in myself, it taught me to never give up and to chase my dream of becoming an author. In the same way that Little Voice awakened my dreams, I hope these past two years it has been able to awaken something inside you too.
– Amanda Bernardo, Author
Today, as we celebrate Little Voice’s second birthday, we also want to celebrate the little voice inside each and every one of you. Because of that voice, so many of you are doing so much good in this world and that is what we at Little Voice hope to continue to inspire you to do each and every year.
Happy Birthday Little Voice!
Please join us on Saturday, December 3rd at the Gloucester Chapters location in Ottawa as we celebrate Little Voice’s birthday!
From the very beginning, Little Voice has been a story all about giving back. It started with Amanda’s goal to give children a book that would teach them something, that would provide a moral to the story, and a way for children to feel engaged. Eventually, Little Voice became a symbol of inspiration, a way for parents and teachers to inspire their children and students to believe that they can accomplish anything. Now, Little Voice is known across Canada as a way to fundraise and really give back in your local communities.
This October, Little Voice was nominated for the Ottawa Social Impact Awards!
The Ottawa Social Impact Awards are recognizing and celebrating the leaders in our community who are making a positive social impact through innovative, collaborative, and scalable initiatives and enterprises. A partnership between Impact Hub Ottawa and the City of Ottawa, the inaugural Awards seek to:
Highlight Ottawa-based community initiatives and social enterprises that have significant potential for growth and lasting impact;
Emphasize the power of the collective rather than the individual; and
Recognize social innovation in our community that is turning the status quo upside down.
Today, Little Voice is very excited to not only share this nomination with all of you but a special feature with CBC Ottawa on Our #Ottawa.
This interview certainly helped both Samantha and I realize how far we’ve come and how much farther we want to go. What started as a simple poem on a scrap piece of paper has involved into a social enterprise I am so proud to have created with Samantha. We are continuously motivated by your feedback and involvement with our platform and hope to continue to inspire you as our movement and vision grows.
– Amanda Bernardo, Author
“We wanted kids to feel like they belong, for them to have a book that they could relate to. When you have a kid that feels inspired it’s really rewarding to think that we created something that sparked that inspiration within them.”
It was an amazing experience to be featured with CBC Ottawa and we are very excited to share the final product today with all of you! Special thank you to CBC for also highlighting our nomination in the upcoming Ottawa Social Impact Awards! Please vote for Little Voice by visiting http://ottawa.impacthub.net/ci…/ottawa-social-impact-awards/ to help us grow our platform, voting ends November 4, 2016!