Niño Wrestles the World: A Review

NinoNiño Wrestles the World by Yuyi Morales

Viva La Lucha Libre!  Meet Niño:  somersault expert, popsicle lover, and world champion wrestler!  We meet the “Kid” as he is playing with his masked wrestler toys.  One by one, he defeats his wrestling opponents:  the Mummy of Guanajuato, the stone Olmec Head, La Llorona, the Alien, and the devil-like El Chamuco. But the worst is yet to come, his most formidable opponents, his sisters:  Las Hermanitas.  Love this book!  The language is fun and playful, including lots of nonsense action words like zok, splish, and zac.    A closing note explains the lucha libra culture, too and the endpapers reinforce the illustrations of the phenomenon.

I also celebrate this book, and wonderful Mexican author and illustrator Yuyi Morales, as a far more genuine contribution to multicultural children’s literature than the Spanish translations of English picture books.  The Spanish words and expressions will be familiar for many of our young readers–and also fun for non-Spanish speakers to learn and delight in.

Niño Wrestles the World is the 2014 winner of  the Pura Belpre Illustration Award, named for the first Latina librarian at the New York Public Library.  Check out other award-winning books at their website!

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