Michelle Fizzard’s ‘Amazing Grace’

Michelle Fizzard’s ‘Amazing Grace’

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Amazing Grace is the perfect children’s book for anyone who has ever loved a furry friend

Some children’s books are simply for fun while others teach valuable life lessons. Amazing Grace is one of the latter, while still being an adorable tale of a furry tailed little kitten named Grace. As Michelle Fizzard explained, Amazing Grace is the true story of how a once tiny, scared little feral kitty bravely overcomes all apprehension through the love generously shared by children in a grade two classroom.

Grace’s presence teaches these children so much, but her passing teaches the class that love truly lives forever, if only in our hearts. 

Fizzard, who was born and raised in Newfoundland, shared that she first met Grace while volunteering at an animal shelter. 

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“There were these very feral little kittens and my best friend Jackie was there the day they were brought in. Grace was one of those kittens and over the summer Jackie and myself and my two daughters really became attached to Grace.”

The longer they spent with Grace, the more loving she became. “We were sitting in this cat shelter, and I was covered in kitty litter and I remember looking at Jackie, who is a teacher, and I said, ‘You should take Grace and see if you can bring her into the classroom.’”

The principal agreed and Grace soon gleefully went home – and to school – with Jackie. 

Love notes

But then Grace unexpectedly passed away when she was about a year old. 

“Jackie had to go into the classroom and deal with this grief with her whole classroom. And as you can imagine, these children have to now deal with the fact that their beloved cat has passed.”

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One of the ways they dealt with the loss was by writing love notes to Grace.  “Over time, that really was a big part of the healing process for these children, then, as I’m writing this book, my mother passed,” she said quietly.

 Her mother didn’t have the opportunity to go to school while growing up in rural Newfoundland, and she had never learned to read. 

“Not being able to read and write was something she had to carry her entire life and it perhaps made her less brave at times, and I knew that that’s how I was feeling about starting to write this book. I was afraid.”

Thinking of her mom gave her the passion to just keep going and the courage needed to put Amazing Grace out into the world.

“I thought, ‘I’m going to write this book and I’m going to put it out into the world, and I’m going to do it with courage. I can do this for my mother and for myself. And for anyone who has suffered a loss.”

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‘Out in the world’

There was more as well. “As a young girl, and as a lover of cats, I was around the same age as these kids were when I lost my first cat, so I knew the pain of losing a pet. It was like all these things kind of come together for me to write this story about little Grace.”

The topic of loss is a hard one for children but she added, “children are very open and accepting of grief.”

“In a way, I think that adults sometimes are a little bit more reluctant to talk about loss, but this book can give someone the words,” she said kindly.

Since being “out in the world,” the book, illustrated by her daughter Charlotte,  has been well received. “I’ve gotten some really beautiful messages from children about how this book has helped them, how they realize that even when something dies, love lives on.” 

For more visit michellebfizzard.lpages.co/book-sales-page.

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Pam is the Managing Editor of The Newfoundland Herald. As the mother of two, she proudly writes about a life lived simply at home on 'The Rock.' When not interviewing or writing about NL's finest, Pam can be found spending her time in the great Newfoundland outdoors.

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