For Shreya Gupta, being creative comes naturally. When she’s not sketching, painting or reading, she explained there is one place you’ll find her. “On the laptop, just writing some stories for fun.”
With a desire to help make a difference for other children, in Canada and around the world, she put her love for writing into action. The result is Flamingo Feet – which tells the story of Aria, a young girl who encounters bullying in her jazz dancing classes. The book tells the story of her overcoming her bullies and finding confidence in herself to showcase her dancing skills on stage.
Flamingo Feet does more than just inspire its readers to find the strength and courage to stand up for themselves. All proceeds raised by the sales of the book throughout the month of February will be donated to support anti-bullying work. Throughout the rest of the year, proceeds support various charities that help young girls access education in third-world countries.
Shreya, a Grade 6 student, was inspired to support the education of children in need after a trip to India.
“It made me sad,” said Shreya. “I wanted to help them.”
For Pink Shirt Day, Shreya had the idea to focus her efforts on supporting anti-bullying work. She explained how the story of the origins of Pink Shirt Day moved her, especially how the students worked together to overcome bullying through the powerful image of all wearing pink.
“It’s really important because it really advocates standing up to bullying,” said Shreya.
Raising funds to support anti-bullying bullying work felt like a natural connection, and it makes her happy to know that her story is supporting children like her who experience bullying.
“It makes me feel amazing, it makes me feel very proud,” said Shreya. “My goal to help people is happening.”
Shreya’s family couldn’t be prouder. Her mom, Sonia, saw Shreya’s generous spirit and her drive to make a difference from a young age. Writing a book with the goal of inspiring readers to stand up to bullying, and donating the proceeds only took this focus to the next level.
“When Shreya decided to step up and write this book, it was amazing,” said Sonia. “We’re very proud of her.”
For Sonia, it’s been about supporting Shreya as she pursues her curiosity and interests. She could never have imagined where it has taken her.
“I’m honoured to be her mom, and to watch her grow,” said Sonia. “I can’t wait to see where she goes from here.”
Shreya remains focused on making the world a better place and hopes that her book helps people of all ages to find the confidence to believe in themselves and stand up to bullies.
“It’s really important to always believe in yourself,” said Shreya. “Always follow your dreams, no matter what people say.”