11-year-old Kitchener author hopes to inspire with anti-bullying book
Flamingo Feet is about a jazz dancer that fights off some mean competition
Shreya Gupta wants her readers to confidently chase their dreams, standing up to anyone — especially a bully — that comes in their way.
The 11-year-old Kitchener girl published her first, and certainly not last, children's book Flamingo Feet during the pandemic.
It's about a jazz dancer, Aria, who finds herself up against some mean competitors who call her names like "flamingo feet," insinuating that she's a bad dancer.
"The rest of the book is about her gaining confidence and learning that it's OK to always follow her dreams no matter what people say about her. And so she stands up to the bullies and she enters the jazz competition and she does an amazing job," Gupta shared with CBC K-W.
"I wrote it to help kids stand up to bullying and learn how to stay confident in themselves no matter what," she said.
The up-and-coming author says all book sales during the month of February will be donated to Pink Shirt Day, an anti-bullying campaign that is marked on Feb. 24.
The book, which was published in July 2020, has since sold about 700 copies.
Inspiring young and old
Gupta said the main character of her book is similar to herself.
"I tried to make her a bit like me, like I also do jazz dancing … she's just a very confident person like me," she said.
Not only children can benefit from this book, Gupta hopes people of all ages can walk away with a much-needed confidence boost, especially during a challenging pandemic period.
"Lots of people are going through such a tough time. You know, people are losing their jobs. People are losing family members. And, you know, cyberbullying is happening more than ever right now in the pandemic. So my message to kids and even adults that … keep staying confident in yourself and keep following your dreams, you know, like things will get better," she said. "Just keep thinking that things will get better."
The young author has big dreams to continue writing and eventually publish an anti-bullying series.
Listen to her conversation, with The Morning Edition's host Craig Norris, below: