Kari Shields, Mary Weber, and illustrator Julie Lieman Weaver partnered on this fun, and inspiring children's book.

We asked Kari about the teamwork, and the inspiration behind All Kinds of Brave.

When and why did you start writing this book?

After watching how brave my daughter was, going in and out of the hospital the last 3 years it really made me think about the word “brave.” How so many children struggle with things in life, whether it’s health related, going to school for the first time, or making new friends. They need us as parents to coach them through what being brave really is. I just got the privilege of learning it first hand from my child.

Who did you have in mind when you wrote it, and who would benefit from reading it?

Being the mom of 6 amazing children all going through different things in life, I couldn’t help but think they were not alone. We adopted 2 of our children from hard places and every day I was in awe of how brave they were; just simply being placed into our family was huge when we looked different, we smelled different, and we talked a different language. We have been through long traitorous road of medical needs and with this we have been blessed to meet so many children and families going through the same thing. I know children who are so scared to go to the dentist they have to be sedated. I watch kids start school kicking and screaming attatched to their mom’s leg with tears flowing and couldn’t imagine how brave they needed to be. I have a child who lives with anxiety and some days just going to school he has to be super brave and know that he will be ok. This book is for all children. Many children are going through tough things in life and I pray this books speaks to them and helps them find their brave in life.

Can you give us a description of the story?

Anda is an inquisitive bear and her silly deer friend Ollie go on a camping adventure. They never thought about what brave meant until Mama Deer told them to be brave as nighttime came. They each dreamt the night away with images floating through their mind of what brave must mean. Anda dreamt of the awesome worldly things that we use everyday to comfort us, but in the end they realized that those are just things and brave comes from within.

Where did you find most of your inspiration for writing this book?

When Mary asked me to write this book with her, I felt like I was barely keeping my head above water to be honest. What I didn’t realize is how it would inspire me to stop and look at my life. My inspiration for this book simply came from living a faith filled life. There were days I wanted to throw my hands in the air but I knew God wouldn’t give me anything HE couldn’t handle and I was teaching my children to know the same. This topic was our everyday life. We needed to be brave so our children could be brave and know that there was nothing they couldn’t handle if they truly find their brave within.

How did everyone involved in this book meet and decide to team up?

I met Mary going to therapy with my son. She helped us through some very hard times and added a light I didn’t know if I would see again. Her years of experience and heart for children is remarkable. She truly inspires me not only to be a better parent but a better person. This being our first book and a novice we met our illustrator online. Here we were writing a book on being brave and our illustrator we had just hired was in the midst of a hurricane in Florida! Coincidence…I don’t think so.

If you could have lunch with 3 authors/ or teachers living or dead who are you eating with, and what’s on the menu?

LOL this question is too dep for my limited time :) I would just love to eat dinner alone with my husband once in a while and NOT talk about all the stuff going on with our children. To not be thinking about the next surgery, the next IEP meeting, the next therapy visit or what day I should shop on to get the biggest bang out of my coupons would simply be amazing. And I know he’d be eating steak and I would be enjoying salmon and drinking water and we would be using a BOGO coupon.

Do you have any advice for anyone who has a book inside them they would like to write?

To simply do it! You will never have enough time or money in life. Writing this book wasn’t about making money, but helping children. Even if only a handful of children can find their brave in life by reading this book, I will sing praises. With our sales, we will be giving 10% back to the orphan community in the Sioux Empire to hopefully help even more children needing to be brave.

To keep up with Kari and May or to order a copy of the book check out their Facebook Page All Kinds of Brave.


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