Meet Kelly Shuto
Kelly Shuto is a kindergarten and grade one teacher on the West Coast of British Columbia, Canada. She has two boys who are active in sports and a cat who is active in sleeping. She loves exploring nature, spending time with friends and family, and morning walks with a coffee. Kelly values big smiles and a good belly laugh.
She is passionate about helping children to recognize their self worth, their own bravery and their individual accomplishments by celebrating all successes. One of her favourite ways to share messages with her students is through thought provoking picture books that allow for meaningful connections and introspection. Her goal is to help the children she works with to leave each school day feeling happier and more confident then when they entered the classroom that morning...and, of course, to make them laugh.
What Does It Mean to Be Brave?SHOP: What Does It Mean to Be Brave?
Growing up I never felt smart: I was athletic and good at sports but I never felt like I had anything to offer when it came to “academics”. I was shy, nervous, unsure of my abilities, and constantly judging myself before others could judge me. As I’ve gotten older, I have learned that the only person stopping me from doing all the things I wanted to do is myself and my own fear. We all have those moments in our lives when something happens to change how we see ourselves. I have had a few of them (I’ll save those for another day) but it’s a great feeling to see something in yourself that others have always seen.
My dream was to create a book that helped children see their worth, their value, their strength and their bravery every day. I never thought that publishing this book was a possibility because I had no idea where to start. I had no idea what I was doing!
“If you don’t see the book you want on shelves, write it.” - Beverly Cleary
I wrote this book to use with my class; I wanted a book:
- to allow all students to see themselves on the pages and connect to the characters and words;
- to explain all the ways that children are brave every day;
- to empower children and help them see all the things they do every day that should be celebrated and also show how we can acknowledge the efforts of others;
- to enable students to work as a community and understand that something that might be “easy” for one person requires a lot of courage and perseverance for another;
- to provide inquiry questions and guidance to its readers;
- to offer questions so teachers and parents could help children to think deeply about who they are and how to see the challenges that others overcome each day;
- to help us to support one another in the everyday situations we face in our lives in the classroom, at home, on the playground, or in our own brains.
After losing my grandma, a woman who defined bravery and strength and faced each day with a huge smile and amazing sense of humour, I decided it was time to go for it. I would face each new learning experience as it came. I could be brave for her and I could be brave for myself. So I did! And now, the book is here and I have dedicated it to her. Thank you to everyone who has supported me with this book and throughout my whole life journey to get to this point.
“Being brave isn’t just big and scary things in far off places. Bravery happens every day.
When were you brave today?”
What Does It Mean to Be Your Best?SHOP: What Does It Mean to Be Your Best?
Inspiration can come from anywhere. For me, it came from two places:
Losing my grandma was my inspiration to live the way I have always wanted. Writing a children's book was always my dream but it seemed unattainable. In reality, it just wasn't the right time. I had more learning to do and more confidence to build.
My dad had the foresight and the bravery to write me a letter while he was losing his battle with cancer. I have his words, his
advice, his voice written on paper to read anytime I need it:
that life is full of choices.
Choose to be kind.
Choose to be respectful.
Choose to be adventurous.
Choose to be observant.
Choose to be confident.
Choose to ask for help.
Choose to stand up for what you believe.
Choose to be humble.
Choose to laugh.
Choose to smile.
Choose to cry.
Choose to follow your passion.
Choose to be brave.
Choose to be your best self.
I was inspired to give this same gift back to my own children. While I started this journey as a bucket list adventure, these books have now become love letters to my kids and to every child who reads them.
I hope these books are reminders to live life in pursuit of happiness and joy, not perfection, and to make memories each day. I hope these books are reminders to celebrate yourself and all that you are rather than compare your accomplishments to the accomplishments of others.
"Being the best doesn't mean that you are better than anyone else.
Being the best means that you are being YOUR best self each day."