Clarence Brazier kept a big secret for nearly one hundred years: he didn’t know how to read. This picture book tells the true story of his journey to learn—and then love—to read.
As a young boy, Clarence cut class and took over the farm work when his father was blinded in an accident. Clarence worked as a logger, maintained his own successful farm, and became a father and a grandfather. All the while, he never learned to read. His wife was the only one who knew his secret. When she passed away, Clarence taught himself to read using junk mail. He was almost one hundred years old! Eventually, Clarence confessed to his daughter, a teacher, who helped him learn more. He went on to love reading and became a passionate literacy advocate until he died at age 105.
This inspirational and empowering story highlights Clarence’s resourcefulness and the power of literacy. It illustrates the use of growth mindset to achieve difficult goals, and shows it’s never too late to learn a new skill.
ROY MACGREGOR is the best-selling author of more than 50 books and an award-winning journalist, author and screenwriter. He is an Officer of the Order of Canada, and he lives in Kanata, Ontario. MacGregor says that getting to know about Clarence and interviewing him was one of the great joys of his life.
CHRISTINE MACGREGOR CATION is a high school teacher in the field of visual arts. Clarence’s Big Secret, co-written with her father, is her first picture book. Like Clarence, Christine was reluctant to read and write as a child. Today she loves to read, especially with her children. Christine lives in Kanata, Ontario, with her husband and two children.
MATHILDE CINQ-MARS illustrates picture books and graphic novels with pencils and watercolors, creates editorial art for magazines, and animation for television. She graduated from visual arts at Université de Strasbourg, and lives with her partner and daughter in Trois-Rivières, Québec. Mathilde could read by the time she was six, but has never cut down a tree or milked a cow!
"Listeners will enjoy every moment of this inspirational and joyful book."
"The engaging text tells an unusual story with just enough detail to give it a period feel, bolstered by the well-composed drawings with washes of gentle color and plenty of understated charm. A memorable picture book."
"Tell[s] an interesting story and conveys important lessons about the value of reading and the fact that it is never too late to learn something new."
"This is a well-written ode to motivation, perseverance, and the idea that it’s never too late."