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

ottawa

2018 Walk For Dementia

We came, we walked, we conquered … another fundraising walk in support of The Dementia Society of Ottawa!

On May 12, Little Voice Books joined over 700 walkers in the #WalkForDementia! Walking for the fourth year in a row, the team was excited to be joined this year by friends and family to walk in honour of Little Voice’s author’s grandmother, Teresina Bernardo. This year, the team was able to fundraise a total of $470 dollars to support the programs and services making a difference in the lives of those living with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia.

The Walk for Dementia raised over $220,000 (and counting) – you can still donate to the Little Voice team until June 30, 2018, donate here!  The success of Ottawa’s Walk was made possible through the generosity of all those who participated, donated and raised awareness for this cause! Thank you, as always, for standing behind us! You made our steps count!

All funds raised in the Walk for Dementia stay in the local Ottawa/Renfrew County communities to provide support, education, navigation and resources.

 

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.

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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.

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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.

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Official Lighthouse Launch

Join Little Voice for the official launch of The Lighthouse in partnership with two of our local Ottawa Chapters locations – Chapters Gloucester and Chapters Kanata! See you there!

Happy Canada 150!

With Canada 150 just around the corner, we wanted to take a moment to say

HAPPY BIRTHDAY CANADA!

We are so proud to be an all Canadian children’s book – written, illustrated and printed right here in the country we call home.
 
To us, being Canadian means more than just identifying with the country we live in; it’s a symbol of who we are and who we hope our children will become. Canadians are humble, kind, respectful, loving and diverse, we are a melting pot of so many amazing attributes of humanity that we can’t help but smile when we say: I am Canadian.
 
Here at Little Voice, we are so proud to be Canadian and we can’t wait to share our new story The Lighthouse with all of you as our #Canada150 gift to you! Stay tuned!
 
Wishing you all a safe and happy weekend!

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.