5 Questions with DDSB Staff Author Nikki Soliman

Posted On Thursday May 05, 2022
Nikki Soliman
Nikki Soliman recently published her first children’s book titled Bubbly Beth.

The Durham District School Board (DDSB) is home to many diverse, skilled, talented, and creative staff across the District. This multi-part “5 Questions With…” series will highlight the success that DDSB staff have achieved in a variety of industries.

Nikki (Nicole) Soliman is the Vice Principal at Scott Central Public School in Sandford. In March of this year, Nikki published her first children’s book titled Bubbly Beth, about an Anishinaabe girl who loves all kinds of bubbles. After Beth gets trapped in a bubble, she floats away over her house, her school, the park, and the lake. Beth embarks on an exciting adventure, meeting new animal friends along the way, and learns about the importance of teamwork and friendship. A cross-curricular resource guide to support educators utilizing Bubbly Beth in their lesson plans is also in the works.

We spoke with Nikki about publishing her first children’s book, her creative process, and hopes for the future.

Q. What inspired your book Bubbly Beth?

Bubbly Beth came to me one night as I was trying to sleep. I kept tossing and turning and ideas kept coming. I tried to ignore them, but something told me to go and write them down.   Finally, I got up and wrote them down in the hopes to get a couple hours of sleep. When my husband woke, I told him about the story, and he asked me to read it to him. He said he liked it and thought that I should publish it. I started looking into the publishing process and the rest is history.

I created the book with educators and children from 0-8 years old in mind, but Bubbly Beth can be enjoyed by anyone. It was difficult for me to find books that just happened to have characters who were Indigenous and did not have to do with being Indigenous or residential schools, pow wows, medicine wheels etc. I wanted Indigenous representation in books so that self-identified students can see themselves in the resources.

Q. What message do you hope audiences take with them after reading Bubbly Beth?

The main purpose of this book is to fill the void of books with Indigenous representation so that Indigenous and non-Indigenous students can see Indigenous people normalized in the resources. Bubbly Beth showcases some of the Ojibway language and supports the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) calls to action as it includes authentic voice, Indigenous resources, and perspectives in the curriculum. Bubbly Beth also supports character education and cultural values as it teaches about teamwork, kindness, and cooperation.

The accompanying cross-curricular resource guide that will be available soon supports educators in lesson planning around all aspects of the curriculum. After reading Bubbly Beth, I would like students to walk away with a little bit of the language, the cultural values around teamwork, kindness, cooperation and sharing, and a chance to see an Indigenous person having a fun adventure just being themselves.

Q. Do you have any tips for aspiring authors or illustrators who are considering publishing their work?

Do not be afraid to send your manuscripts to various publishing companies, learn the difference between traditional, hybrid, and self-publishing contracts, know your "why", and take a chance.

Q. What’s next for you in the world of storytelling?

I am waiting for my next books to be published. Ants in my Pants, Magnificent Magnetic Me (with accompanying teacher's guide), and Indig-Enough are currently in progress with GoodMinds.com. GoodMinds is a First Nations family-owned business that sells First Nations, Métis, and Inuit educational resources and products.

Q. Where can people go to learn more about you and your work?

To learn more about me and my book Bubbly Beth, you can visit lilbirdbooks.ca. My upcoming books are available for pre-order and can be found under the “Children's Books” tab or by typing my name into the search bar at GoodMinds.com.