AFL superstar Nic Naitanui – affectionately known as NicNat – is the well-known, widely respected and much-loved ruckman of the West Coast Eagles. Born in Sydney to Fijian parents, his family moved to Western Australia where Nic was raised by his mother, who he credits with fostering his strong values and his success on and off the field.
Nic’s first book for children, Little Nic’s Big Day, was published in 2019 and now Little Nic is back for another adventure in this lovely follow-up; a playful journey through culture, sport, art and music.
We chat with Nic about the inspiration behind writing children’s books and celebrating the diversity of our Australian community.
Tell us about Little Nic’s Big World, it’s such a beautiful book with diverse characters.
The book is about Little Nic attending his school fete in which he is faced with the dilemma of finding his bag with his prized cassava cake inspired by his grandma. Along the way at the fete, Nic experiences many different cultures, activities, and a range of food.
Why did you decide to write a follow up to Little Nic’s Big Day?
I wanted to continue to spread the message of diversity and acceptance of everyone’s differences. I interact with children at a lot of schools, and I feel this is an important message.
How has your own life experience inspired the story?
Growing up in Australia looking different, eating different food and speaking a different language at home, I was always on a journey to find my place in the school yard.
What’s more difficult, playing AFL footy or writing a book for kids?
Definitely writing a children’s book. Not only does it have to captivate a child’s brain and imagination, but it has to be just as engaging for the parents who read it too.
What’s next? Do you have any other children’s books in the pipeline?
I think it only makes sense to add to the first two. What the storyline is or what journey Little Nic goes on is worth brainstorming soon!
Little Nic’s Big World is published by Allen & Unwin and available from all good bookstores.