Niño Wrestles the World

Bibliographic Information: Morales, Y. (2013). Niño wrestles the world. New York, NY: Roaring Brook Press

Brief Annotation: This delightful book chronicles the many epic battles of Niño. This book incorporates words and phrases in both English and Spanish, as well as an excellent array of onomatopoeia, making it particularly accessible for English learners with a Spanish language background.

Genre: Contemporary Realistic Fiction/Fantasy

Grade Level: PreK-3

Readers who will like this: Readers who enjoy lucha libre (Mexican wrestling); readers who enjoy stories with action and adventure; readers who enjoy humor.

Rating/Response: 5; When I heard about this book at the Booked for the Evening event, I knew I had to read it. I adored it! The illustrations are beautiful and vibrant. I loved the combination of English and Spanish words, along with the comic-book style onomatopoeia. What I loved most, however, was Niño. Niño is exciting, relatable, and imaginative. His battles with the Guanajuato Mummy, Chamuco, and La Llorona (who is quickly becoming one of my favorite folktale characters) are all solved with Niño’s wit and creativity. The conclusion was surprising, and an excellent illustration of familial love. I adored this book, and am excited to read more of Ms. Morales’ work.

One question you would ask before a read aloud: Who (or what) do you pretend to be when you are playing make-believe?

Reading Strategy: Internet Investigations (Yopp & Yopp, 2010, p. 121)

In internet investigations, readers use the internet to research some unfamiliar terms or concepts presented in a book, with teacher guidance. The class brainstorms a list of questions they have related to the text, and with teacher guidance, generate search terms to use. Students are then encouraged to research the answers to the questions individually or in small groups, using the search terms the class generated. This would be an excellent strategy to use with Niño Wrestles the World, because of the number of concepts and characters presented that many children may by unfamiliar with or would be interested in learning more about (such as La Llorona and lucha libre).


Just a Minute

Title: Just a Minute

Bibliographic Information: Morales, Y. (2003). Just a minute. Canada: Raincoast Books.  

Annotation: Senor Calavera waits patiently for Grandma Beetle. Grandma Beetle has many chores to finish before she can go with Senor Calavera and then Grandma Beetle gets more delayed when her 9 grandchildren arrive for her birthday party.

Genre: A trickster tale and counting book

Grade level: Kindergarten – 2nd Grade

Readers who will like this book: Readers who like entertaining counting books

Personal response/rating: I rate this book a 5, because it is very well illustrated and I like how the numbers are both in English and in Spanish. This story is very well told and keeps the reader engaged because you want to know what is going to happen to Senor Calavera.

Question I would ask before the reading: Have you ever had to wait a long time for someone to get ready?


My Abuelita

1) My Abuelita

2) Johnston, T. / Illustrator; Morales, Y. (2009). My Abuelita. Orlando Florida: Harcourt Children Books.

3) A young boy talks about how life is living with his Abuelita. He talks about the characteristics of her and about what she does for a job, which you find out she is a storyteller.

4) Realistic Fiction

5) 2-4

6) Readers who like spanish and love their Abuelita’s !

7) Rate:5; This story was so cute, loved the relationship between the boy and his Abuelita and the illustrations were amazing and very elaborate.

8) What does Abuelita mean in English? What do you like about your Abuelita?


Los Gatos Black on Halloween

1. Los Gatos Black on Halloween
2. Montes, Marisa and Morales Yuyi (2006). Los Gatos Black on Halloween. New York: Henry Holt and Company.
3. This book is about the monsters, witches, cats, zombies, and werewolves that come out on Halloween. They throw a ball for everyone. But the door bell rings. There is nothing more terrifying to monsters than a child on Halloween.
4. Spanish, Animal Fiction, Halloween
5. Grade 2- Grade 4
6. Readers who like Spanish words, scary things, Halloween, or monsters will like this book.
7. 4; I thought that the incorporation of Spanish words was very well done. There was enough context for the kids to understand what they meant.
8. What is a gato?


Ladder to the Moon

Soetoro-Ng, M. (2011). Ladder to the moon. Somerville, MA: Candlewick Press.

Suhalia never had the chance to meet her grandmother, and the only impressions Suhalia holds of her come from Suhalia’s mothers words. Suhalia wishes she could have known her grandmother, and one night this wish comes true when a golden ladder appears and Grandma Annie takes her on a journey of love, kindness, and hope.

Genre: Fantasy Picturebook

Grade: K-4th

Readers who would like this book: Children who are curious about a deceased relative(s), children who long to have met a deceased relative, children who enjoy fantasy.

Response and rating: 5; This was one of the most beautiful children’s books that I have ever read, and I am so glad that I found it. I have been looking for a book for my brother’s unborn twins that would help teach them about our deceased grandma –one of the most important people in our lives– and this is it. The illustrations by Yuyi Morales make this book into a beautiful, imaginative journey that can help children understand those who they cannot, but wish, to meet. Its message involves humanity and kindness and I think that all children could benefit from reading this wonderful book.

Question: Is there a special person in your family that you have never met? What do you think they would be like if you had the chance to meet them?


Little Night

Title: Little Night

Bibliography: Morales, Yuyi. (2007). Little Night. New York: Roaring Brook Press

Short annotation: Mother Sky calls for Little Night. Unable to find Little Night, she searches high and low.

Genre: Fiction, Fantasy

Grade Level: K-1

Readers who will like this book: Children who enjoy illustrations.

Personal response and rating: This book was very well illustrated but I thought it was a bit lacking. I would have enjoyed more plot. I would definitely say this book is one that could be red before nap time if it is read in a classroom. Rating: 2

Question: Does anyone like playing hide-and-seek? Where do you hide?


Sand Sisters

White, A., & Morales, Y. (2004). Sand sister. Cambridge, Mass.: Barefoot Books.

This book is about Paloma who wants a friend to play with at the beach. A magical rock grants Paloma her wish and she meets her “sister” Sandy.

Genre: Picture book, fiction

Grades: K-2nd

Audience: teachers, parents, audience

I would give this book a three because I loved the picture, but I didn’t feel the book was exciting enough. I love the message of the book and the surprise ending.

Have you ever wanted a little brother or sister to play with?


Sand Sister

Bibliographic information: White, A., & Morales, Y. (2004). Sand sister. Cambridge, Mass.: Barefoot Books.

Short annotation: Sand Sister is about a girl named Paloma who wished that she had a sister. Paloma’s wish was granted and she got a sister who was made out of sand for a day.

The genre: Fiction, Picture Book

Grade Level: Kindergarten to Second grade

Readers who will like this book: Student and children between the ages of three to nine; parents who are looking for a book to read to their children for fun or to teach them about kindness and forgiveness; and educators looking to find a book that talks about kindness and forgiveness.

Personal response and rating: I would give this novel a 5; I very much enjoyed all the beautiful illustrations and how the book ended with Paloma about to be a big sister to either a brother or sister in real life. Another thing I loved about the novel was the language used because it had great vocabulary.

Question: Have you ever been to a beach or lake with sand? What did you do there?


Little Night

Title: Little Night

Bibliographic information: Morales, Y. (2007). Little Night. New Hartford, CT: Roaring Brook Press

Brief annotation: Little Night and her mother, Mother Sky, play a game of hide and seek as night falls across the sky.

Genre: Picture book

Grade level: Pre-K – 1st grade

Readers who will like this: Children who like bedtime stories will really like this book.

Rating: 4 – This book has great illustrations as well as a great story. Children can get a fun idea of how night comes to be.

Question: Do you hide from your parents while they get you ready at night? What is your favorite hiding spot?


Harvesting Hope

Bibliographic information: Krull, K. and Morales, Y. (2003). Harvesting Hope. San Diego, New York, and London: Harcourt, Inc.

Short annotation: Cesar Chavez grew up on a farm in Arizona, his family grew crops and raised animals. One year there was a drought and it forced Chavez and his family to move out. His family and himself started working in the fields, but were not paid much. During this time, Chavez dropped out of school and started a movement to fight for a change but without violence. Now Chavez has to get people to join his movement for a change in workers rights.

Genre: Historical Fiction.

Grade level: first to fifth grade.

Audience: Children and teachers would enjoy this book because it provides history with what happened in the past and how Chavez started his own movement.

Response and Rating: I give this book a rating of ten because it explains in detail what Chavez went through and decided to make a difference for himself and other people in his situation. This led him to start a movement to make the world better for him and his people. He showed dedication and never gave up on what he believed in and fought for what he believed was right.

Question: Have you ever been to or worked on a farm?