News / Ottawa

How a young Ottawa duo followed their 'little voice' and wrote a children's book

Amanda Bernardo, like many 24 year olds, was struggling to figure out what to do with her life, but a little voice kept telling her to write.

When the government employee volunteered to read books to elementary school kids, she was surprised to find many students experiencing similar existential crises. Looking for a way to inspire youth and follow her own dreams, Bernardo decided to follow that little voice.

She put pen to paper and wrote her first children’s book, “Little Voice”. The poem flows over 48 pages and encourages kids to listen to their gut – from helping out around the house to overcoming struggles at school.

“I figured if I could write a book, and a six-year-old could read it today, maybe when they were my age, at 24, they would have this sense of … inspiration and hope and passion drilled into them through this message in ‘Little Voice’,” said Bernardo, now 25. “They would feel like it’s okay to be who they are.”

Maybe Bernardo heard Samantha Clusiau-Lawlor’s little voice too.

The two never met before this project, but Bernardo found the 22-year-old graphic designer’s portfolio through LinkedIn. The two paired up, with Clusiau-Lawlor as the illustrator.

“I’ve always wanted to write a kids’ book and it seemed like the perfect opportunity,” said Clusiau-Lawlor, 22. “As fate would have it, she (Bernardo) contacted me and somehow knew that I always wanted to do that.”

A portion of the book’s proceeds will go to the Alzheimer Society of Canada partly because Bernardo’s grandmother is suffering from the disease that’s slowly causing her to forget her own little voice.

The book is available at the Ottawa Public Library and the duo is working to stock bookstore shelves with copies. They are also asking for donations to send “Little Voice” to local schools and organizations.

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