Community / Press Release

Author and illustrator parents share new children's book at Willingdon

2 people holding the book
Montreal - Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Two moms of students from Willingdon Elementary School in NDG have published a new children’s book.

Veronica Santaguida is the author while Veronika Gruntovskaya serves as the illustrator. Ms. Santaguida has two children at the school, one in Kindergarten and another in Grade 3. Ms. Gruntovskaya also has two student pupils in grades 1 and 4, with one more on the way.

On the occasion of Canadian School Library Day on October 23, Ms. Sangtaguida presented and read from “The Girl with the Big Voice.” The Kindergarten students on hand very much enjoyed the experience.

“Willingdon is a wonderful school with a strong community,” says Ms. Santaguida.  “We have been very happy here. Between the two of us, we almost cover all of the grades!”

"The Girl with the Big Voice” is a captivating rhyming children's book that takes young readers on an empowering journey of self-discovery and resilience. This heartwarming tale is set to inspire children aged three to eight to embrace their uniqueness and stay true to themselves.

"The Girl with the Big Voice" follows the story of Emma, a little girl whose big voice has always been a part of her confident self-expression. But when criticism and discouragement dim her vibrancy, a new friend helps her embrace her uniqueness and stay true to herself.

group with author

Parents and children alike will delight in Emma's transformative journey as she navigates the challenges of self-doubt. "The Girl with the Big Voice" is a beautifully written and illustrated story and a valuable resource for parents, teachers, and caregivers seeking to instill self-confidence in children.

This children's book was officially released last August. It is available in both print and digital formats, at most major retailers. It achieved the coveted “Best Seller” tag on Amazon during its first 48 hours and held on to #1 spots in the categories “First Day of School, Nonfiction on Girl’s and Women’s Issues and Self-Esteem & Self Respect” for over a week.

Ms.  Santaguida is a first-time author embarking on a passion project to support her strong-willed girls. She aims to inspire the next generation to dream big and speak up!  Ms.  Gruntovskaya is an educator and a creator. From children's book illustrations to murals and ornament making to weaving, her vitality shows up in everything she touches.

About the English Montreal School Board

With a youth and adult sector population of more than 35,000 students, the English Montreal School Board (EMSB) is the largest English public school board in Quebec. Established on July 1, 1998, when the province created new boards along linguistic lines, the EMSB network consists of 73 schools and centres. For more details, visit the EMSB website at

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