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Owlkids Books Spring 2020 Frontlist

Clarence's Big Secret
By (author): Roy MacGregor By (author): Christine MacGregor Cation Illustrated by: Mathilde Cinq-Mars
Roy MacGregor , Christine MacGregor Cation ,

Illustrated by :

Mathilde Cinq-Mars


Owlkids - Toronto



Product Form:


Form detail:

Paper over boards
Hardcover , Paper over boards


Juvenile: Age (years) 4 - 8, Grade (CAN) K - 5, Grade (US) K - 5
Mar 15, 2020
$19.95 CAD


10in x 9 x 0.38 in | 443 gr

Page Count:

32 pages
Owlkids Books
JUVENILE FICTION / Books & Libraries
Best Books for Kids and Teens, starred selection 2020, Commended TD Summer Reading Club Top Recommended Read 2021, Commended Light Reads, Great Stories 2021, Commended
An empowering story that shows it’s never too late to learn new things

·   Inspired by the true story of Clarence Brazier, who learned to read at almost one hundred years old

·   New from acclaimed and bestselling Canadian author Roy MacGregor, along with his daughter, Christine MacGregor Cation

·   Strong curriculum ties to language arts and the value of literacy

·   Back matter includes facts and photos about Clarence’s life, including his work as a literacy advocate in Ontario

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 and Ellen live 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! 

For more information contact
[email protected]

"This is a well-written ode to motivation, perseverance, and the idea that it’s never too late." - Kirkus Reviews

"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." - Booklist

"Listeners will enjoy every moment of this inspirational and joyful book." - Sal's Fiction Addiction

"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." - Canadian Review of Materials

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