For Hillcrest Elementary School fourth-grade teacher Nicholas Solis, sharing stories he crafted for his students is a regular occurrence. On September 23, his words reached a wider audience of children as his first published book, “The Staring Contest” arrived on shelves. Solis takes experiences in his own life of participating in staring contests with his parents, brothers, cousins, and students and turns it into an engaging and interactive story for children. 

The goal behind the book is to avoid blinking. Creating this goal prompts students to read the book repeatedly, with words becoming more manageable each time. As children learn to read faster, the less they will blink in the “contest.” By frequently reading, the book aims to build literacy.

He also wants to use his work as an author to build capacity in his students, asking for students to participate in his story creation actively. “I want to model the work I do to take a story from point A to point B, and I genuinely want their feedback,” Solis said, “They’re the target audience, so if they don’t like the story, I want to know how to fix it.” He added that one fourth-grade student even found a missing comma in his draft of the book.

“The Staring Contest” is published by Peter Pauper Press and available through Amazon, Target, Barnes and Noble, and locally at Book People. He will host book signings at local stores in the future.

Headshot of Nick Solis

Photo credit: Sam Bond Photography

Cover of the Staring Contest. White background, red text, black outline of eyes and eyebrows