A Whisper in My Heart


"My parents might force me to live with them, but I will not let them really know me. I will make sure that the separation they started seven years ago will remain forever. No one will ever know what I think and feel. I will be strong. I will not give in."


Ten-year-old Klari/Claire is about to meet her parents for the first time in seven years. Why did her parents abandon her seven long years ago? And more importantly, why do they want her back?


Klari/Claire is trapped in a world where no one understands her language, where the other children make fun of her and where everything is new and frightening. As she tries to gain acceptance, Klari/Claire learns something about herself, and this knowledge enables her to conquer her fears and uncertainty.


When my daughter was ten years old, she and I were on a walk together and she asked me what school had been like for me when I was her age.


As I explained what my school experience had been like back in 1963, I realized how different it was from her own. I had just arrived from another country, did not speak the language, and had a very hard time making friends. School was a big struggle for me. As I related my experiences to my daughter, I began to think that this could become a story worth sharing with other Canadian children.


In Canada, we have the privilege of sharing the beauty and wealth of our country with people from all around the world. However, we often do not appreciate the difficulties that immigrants encounter when they first arrive here. I wanted to write a book in which some of these seemingly insignificant difficulties are recognized. I wanted to encourage Canadian children to welcome people from other countries, and make them feel accepted instead of alienated. I hope my story will help children consider how their actions affect immigrant children who are striving to fit in and be accepted by them.