Shop our newest book The Lighthouse and support the National Canadian Mental Health Association!
"Everyone has a voice deep down inside them, a voice that says “shine”. Some have loud voices, while some have quiet ones. Some people’s voice is so quiet they never get to hear it, while those that do may choose not to listen. Unfortunately, only a few decide to act on this voice, the stars who influence others to listen themselves."
Find your Little Voice

mental health

The Ottawa Mental Health Gala

Little Voice Books is always excited to partner with local initiatives that are making a difference in our community! Our Ambassador Program enables us to get involved with these initiatives and to give back to their own inspiring movement!

Little Voice Books is proud to partner with The Ottawa Mental Health Gala to support their fundraising efforts for Do it For Daron (DIFD) and The Royal Ottawa!

DIFD was founded in 2011 by friends and family of Daron Richardson, who died by suicided at the age of 14. With this initiative came a movement to encourage conversations and spread awareness about youth mental health.

The Royal Ottawa is a specialized mental health centre that treats people with complex and serious mental illness across Eastern Ontario. It focuses on 14 areas of care, including – but not limited to – anxiety, mood disorders, operational stress injuries and PTSD, recovery programs, schizophrenia, seniors, youth, women’s mental health and much more! 

Through our partnership, Little Voice Books plans to donate $5.00 from every book purchased from now until the Mental Health Gala on May 4, 2018. All you have to do is enter the coupon code “mhgala” at checkout for this donation to take effect! Join us on May 4, 2018 to support a great cause!

Update: Little Voice Books was pleased to donate $115 to The Royal and DIFD through the Mental Health Gala’s fundraising efforts and our Ambassador program!

Becoming a Social Enterprise

When the Little Voice team set out to create Little Voice Books they knew they wanted to create a business that would publish unique children’s books and serve as a platform to give back.

And so, they decided to create a social enterprise.

A Social Enterprise is defined as “an organization that advances or fulfills a social purpose through a business model or revenue-generating component of their operations”. This dual purpose supports not only the growth of the organization but also the growth of the communities it serves.

Little Voice’s mission and vision was founded in this very definition: to create awareness for causes and initiatives through the power of literature and illustration and to support the programs and services that serve to make a difference in our communities through the sale of our books.

(more…)

EDAW 2018

A special blog post from Little Voice’s illustrator Samantha Clusiau-Lawlor

The 2017 launch of LVB’s newest book The Lighthouse has enabled me to explore my own journey with mental illness and to share it with others. Sharing my struggle was not always easy; in my first attempt at opening up on our blog I couldn’t help but feel vulnerable and exposed. Looking back, I am proud of how far I’ve come in my recovery and how much my life has changed for the better. With that said, I don’t want my story to be the focus of my advocacy work in support of mental health, but rather the enabler to amplify the conversation, particularly as it relates to eating disorders.

And so, I once more take pen to pad in an effort to promote Eating Disorder Awareness Week in Canada, which is taking place from February 1st to 7th. This year’s theme is One Size DOESN’T Fit All – a theme I not only relate to but commend. You see, when we often think of mental health, and even eating disorders, we begin to classify people – we try to fit people in boxes, boxes with labels. This year’s campaign recognizes that eating disorders affect people of all sizes, genders, races, sexual orientation and socio-economic backgrounds.

(more…)

A Look Back on 2017

And just like that another year has come and gone… 

2017 was a BIG year! We celebrated three years in business, with a growing audience of 4,000+; published our newest book The Lighthouse; established the Be the Light Campaign in support of the National Canadian Mental Health Association; continued our fundraising efforts in support of Alzheimer’s research by participating in the 2017 Walk For Alzheimer’s; hosted eight book signings in our hometown of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; launched our brand new website;  made it on Indigo.ca; and supported three new movements in our community. While all of this was pretty big, something even bigger happened in 2017.

By taking the leap from one book title to two, Little Voice decided it was time to grow! While Amanda and Samantha originally created Little Voice with the goal of publishing one book, they realized with the launch of The Lighthouse that they had the passion and drive to publish many more! And so, Little Voice became Little Voice Books – a local Ottawa publishing house with the goal of creating awareness for causes and initiatives through the power of literature and illustration.

Little Voice Books is so thrilled to be able to fill a gap in literature by creating children’s books that trigger a meaningful conversation, whether it is through the words on the page or the illustrations that accompany them.

(more…)

Supporting the Little Voice Vision

As the excitement settles and the book signings end, the official launch of The Lighthouse is behind us, and our favourite part of the publishing process is about to begin.

A lot of people often ask us: What is your favourite part of the publishing process? While we love to hold our book in hand for the very first time, the best part of publishing a new book is often hearing from others who get to read it.

The reaction, feedback, and support from our readers is priceless!

This past week, we got to hear from those that pre-ordered our book, and even those that read The Lighthouse in store at our book signings. We met people from all across Ottawa who travelled to meet us because they believed in the message we are trying to share.

It was an incredible feeling knowing that others could relate to the situations found in our book.

(more…)

World Mental Health Day

Today is not only World Mental Health Day, but the official launch of our new book The Lighthouse.

When we set out to create our newest book, we thought long and hard about not only the months of work ahead, but the day in which we hoped to release it to the world. It was October 2016, and Little Voice’s author Amanda Bernardo had just come back from attending One Young World. After nearly two years of being asked when the next Little Voice Book would be published, Amanda finally had her answer.

At One Young World, Amanda made a pledge to herself, a pledge to create a book that would support the conversation around mental health. It was not only a pledge to herself, but also a pledge to her business partner Samantha Clusiau-Lawlor. For many months, the two had discussed creating a new book. While the drive to do so was there, the Little Voice team was just bouncing back from an emotional whirlwind that required them both to focus on their own mental health. These personal journeys in many ways equipped them with the empathy and creativity needed to create The Lighthouse. And so, they channelled their inner pain, their outward struggle, and the drive to make a difference in their community to produce the very book you can now hold in your hands today.

(more…)

It’s finally here: The Lighthouse

Today is the last day to preorder your copy of The Lighthouse and the first day I get to hold our books in hand!

It always amazes me how after a year of hard work and preparation, this moment of holding our book for the very first time can sum it all up. It’s the moment where our little voices go: we did it!

Behind the scenes, we have been working day and night to bring this book to life. We’ve reached out to mental health organizations and advocates to ensure our message was sustainable; we’ve spent hours planning our marketing efforts and writing articles to create awareness; we’ve even opened up about our challenges with mental health to remind you that we all have experienced moments like the ones depicted in our book, or at least know someone who has. And we’re still continuing to try and do so much more.

A lot of people wonder why we do it. Samantha and I, as many of you know, both work full-time and juggle Little Voice Books at the side of our desks. We don’t profit from our efforts, and we give back almost all the proceeds from our books to our community. It raises a lot of eyebrows when we tell people how much work we put into this social enterprise and how much of our proceeds we give to others instead of ourselves.

For Samantha and I, it’s not about the extra dollar in our pocket; it’s about using the talents we’ve been given to make a difference. It’s about raising awareness for causes and initiatives, and conversations that may sometimes be challenging to discuss. It’s about reminding the six year old that they can become anything they want to be so long as they believe in themselves. Or even the 24 year old who is struggling to find their path. It’s about seeing our donations make a difference in our communities and across Canada, seeing how your support has enabled us to do much more than publish a children’s book, but also fund a program or service that will go a long way in making a difference in many more lives.

There are truly some things in the world that money can’t buy, and the feeling of all of the above is something that is worth far more than any dollar could provide. It’s a lasting legacy of good, of kindness, of hope and inspiration. It’s something we need a lot more of in the world right now and if our tiny books can achieve that, then to us, it is totally worth it.

You can still preorder your book by visiting http://www.littlevoicebooks.com. Orders will be shipped on October 10, 2017. Following our official launch on World Mental Health Day, books will be available online and at a number of local Ottawa Chapters as of the October 14th weekend.

A Lighthouse will Always Survive the Storm

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.

Copyright The Lighthouse 2017

 

COMING SOON: The Lighthouse

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!

As always, thank you for your support!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#WhyIWalk – The 2017 Walk for Alzheimers

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.

Together, we can make a difference.

Sign-up or donate today.