Kathy Izard’s newest book is all about quiet callings

Books People

May 28, 2024

Kathy Izard holding newest book, Trust the Whisper

Kathy Izard’s newest book — and a companion book for kids — encourages listening to those inner nudges calling us to action.

by Michelle Boudin

Kathy Izard just wants everyone to trust the whisper — that nagging voice we hear or the flurries in our gut, telling us there’s something we should probably be doing. The author and philanthropist is so passionate about the topic, she wrote a book about it.

“I think whispers come big and small — sometimes it’s a simple nudge to talk to somebody,” Izard explains. Or sometimes, she admits, it can be a full-blown push that prompts someone to start a nonprofit, write a book or adopt a child.

Izard’s own whisper 17 years ago resulted in her helping bring Moore Place —  Charlotte’s first permanent housing for people experiencing chronic homelessness — to life. She’d been volunteering at a soup kitchen with her kids when she realized the men they were helping feed had no place to sleep. Despite a career as a graphic designer and limited experience in fundraising or philanthropy, something told her she could help make it happen. Izard spearheaded the fundraising efforts for the 120-unit apartment building, and Moore Place opened in 2012. She documented the journey in her first book, The Hundred Story Home. Since then, Izard says she’s heard from dozens of people who heard their own whispers — and not only listened, but acted on them.  

“The nudges are all sorts of things, but the big thing is that they weren’t serendipitous — it wasn’t coincidence, or chance, it really was the idea of a whisper — something coming from our soul that points us to what we should be doing and who we’re meant to become.”

Her latest book, Trust The Whisper: How Answering Quiet Callings Inspires Extraordinary Stories of Ordinary Grace, recounts some of the stories people around the country have shared with her. The book will be released June 11, but it’s been in the works for years.

Kathy Izard’s books all together

Photograph by Laura Tice Studios

“I started writing in 2017. I was about 11 chapters in and I realized I had to stop, because it was only going to be a good book if the people actually did what the whisper was suggesting. I didn’t know if people would forget about it, if things were going to get too hard.” She came back to the book two years ago when she learned that, in fact, there were many stories of people following through on their “whispers.”

This past spring, Izard also published a children’s book, Grace Heard a Whisper, encouraging kids to listen to the whisper, too. Izard envisions parents and grandparents reading the adult version while also reading the children’s book to the kids in their lives. 

“I realize when I’m writing, a lot of times I’m writing for women in their 40s and 50s who are looking to try a different path in life. These are the same women who have no time to read — some are raising kids, juggling families — they may read a book to their kids but don’t necessarily have time to read a book themselves. I’m also a mom of four and grandmother of two, and I think there’s a lot of power in intergenerational reading.”

Izard says Grace Heard A Whisper is about finding meaning in life — the same message as Trust the Whisper, but condensed for kids. The idea came to her, naturally, with a whisper.

“I woke up one day with the idea that it’s about one little girl who hears a whisper and the adults are too busy to listen — and she realizes her whisper is to remind people to listen. I hope grandmothers read it with their grandchildren, and I hope it makes those grandmas and moms reconsider what their whisper is, and what their purpose is.”

Now that the book is finished, Izard isn’t done telling stories of people who listened to their whispers. She is planning a limited-edition podcast and will continue to chronicle what she hears in a new Substack, “What’s Your Whisper?”

“I love being a storyteller for other people’s stories. I’m really trying to take these stories that I hear and put them out into the world to encourage people that they can do whatever they’re feeling.”  SP

Featured photograph by Amanda Anderson Photography courtesy Kathy Izard

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