V is for . . .

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Voices are powerful. Voices speak of experience, impart wisdom, evoke change and comfort us in times of need. Whether you are young or old, timid or bold, you voice is your greatest asset in life, and you deserve to have it heard.

Penguin talks

Penguin Talks, in partnership with Speakers for School, is a programme of free creative talks for young people across the UK and Ireland, giving them the opportunity to both hear from and directly question a world-renowned thinker, writer or influential figure from Penguin’s family of authors.

After lockdown hit in 2020, Penguin Talks went digital, with a series of virtual talks focused on issues which mattered most to young people during this time, including how to manage anxiety, challenge inequality and prepare for the future world of work.

Watch the Virtual Penguin Talks online now

Voices for Change

Promoting equality and diversity, our Voices for Change collection on Overdrive celebrates voices from a wide range of author of different backgrounds, races and ethnicities.

You can find the full Voices for Change collection on Overdrive

Here are a few of our favourites from the collection.

Sing it out

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Singing can be an amazing way to find the power in your own voice, as Sandra Smith will attest to. Sandra is a professional voice coach (take a look at her website to see her many, many accolades!) running Singing and Breathing in South Devon. Offering workshops, individual lessons and choir coaching, Sandra has spent years unlocking the potential in people’s voices.

On top of this, Sandra also offers sessions that use a mixture of body work and practical breathing exercises to help those with breathing difficulties, ranging from IPF and COPD to stress and anxiety.

Find out more about working with Sandra on the Singing and Breathing website.

Bounce and Rhyme time!

Help your little ones learn to find and use their voices with our library Bounce & Rhyme online sessions! Going live on our Devon Libraries and Torbay Libraries Facebook pages every week (usually at 11am), you can sing and clap along with a host of lovely team members from our libraries across Devon and Torbay.

You can find previous Bounce & Rhyme online videos here on our Facebook page

And take a look at one of our Bounce & Rhyme sessions below:

Finding your voice

Many of you will recognise this clip from Channel 4’s Educating Yorkshire documentary series, where 17-year-old Musharaf discovered a way to overcome his stammer, with the help of his teacher Mr Burns, and found his voice for the first time.

For us, this clip epitomises the importance of finding and owning your voice. It proves we all deserve to be heard – not just the loudest people in the room - all of us.

So, what can we do if there’s an issue that we’re passionate about and we want our voice to be heard by more people? There are a few ways you can amplify your voice:

Write to your local MP. Not sure how to get in touch with them? Find your local MP here.

Start or sign a petition so your voice becomes one of many. There are lots of ways to do this – here are a few helpful places to start:

· petition.parliament.uk

· change.org/start-a-petition

· home.38degrees.org.uk

Take a look at the House of Commons Guide to getting your voice heard.

And if, like Musharaf, you need some techniques to help you find your voice and boost your confidence on a personal level, this article and series of videos from Science of People is a real winner.