Graduate Profile: Selena Soto ’22
By Jeremy Handel
Oliver the Rabbit Makes a Wish and Grants One, Too
It’s good to try new things but always remember to love and accept who you are. That’s the message Selena Soto promotes in the new children’s book she published to show young kids that they are loved for who they are and not what they do.
Soto, who graduated in May with a bachelor’s degree in English and religion, said she’s always wanted to feature her pet rabbit, Oliver, in a book. She decided there was no time like the present, even though she was in the midst of earning her college degree.
“I wanted to share what I was capable of,” Soto said. “I discovered that I loved writing and thought a children’s book featuring my rabbit was a good idea.”
Her idea transformed into “Oliver the Rabbit Makes a Wish,” a story about a rabbit who sees the elderly couple he lives with doing human tasks and wishes to become human so he can do them too. After his wish is granted and Oliver gets to do what humans do, he realizes he misses the rabbit things he can no longer do. In the end he realizes that he was just fine as a rabbit and that you don’t have to change to be happy or be loved.
“I wanted to convey a message that goes beyond the typical ‘be yourself’ message. I also wanted to convey the message to accept yourself,” Soto said of the story. “I want children to feel OK in trying new things, like how Oliver tried human things, yet to not grow up thinking they have to be ‘better’ for people to love them.”
She said while she’s always been interested in writing, her time at SMC helped her build confidence in herself to make the leap into writing and publishing the book.
She credits Professor Victoria Novak for helping her be more confident in herself and her ability and to step out of her comfort zone. She also credits professors Jill Coyle and Kelly Neil for instilling in her that she is a good writer.
“Oliver the Rabbit Makes a Wish” was published in March 2022, and Soto says sales have been modest. She is already planning to take Oliver’s adventures into a series of children’s books. The recent graduate, from Chesnee, hopes to someday be able to write full-time.
For now, she is focusing on taking Oliver on his next adventure. For his first outing, Oliver not only made a wish that was granted, but he also granted a wish to a writer who needed a little push to take her first step in the publishing world.