Nino Wrestles The World

Written By: Yuyi Morales

Before Reading

Explore Illustrations

Consider the front cover and illustrations throughout the book before beginning your read-through. Ask questions like these to encourage your child to make initial observations and predictions about the story:

What does “niño” mean?

Why do you think he is wearing that costume?

What kind of characters do you think Niño will wrestle?

{Flip to an illustration} What do you think Niño is doing in this picture?

Lucha libre, or “free wrestling”, is a popular style of professional wrestling in Mexico that involves wrestlers donning colorful masks and personalities for their matches. To learn more about lucha libre, check out this website about the history of the sport. You can also look to the About Lucha Libre section in the back of the book for more information.

As You Read

Be aware that Niño goes up against some characters that could seem a bit scary, namely El Chamuco and La Momia De Guanajuato. Discuss how your child feels about these characters and how Niño is able to defeat them in silly ways, like with tickling La Momia or making El Chamuco slip on ice cream.

Take this opportunity to role play. Your child can be Niño/Niña and you can act as his/her different opponents. Play up each character and have your child embody his/her character as well. For example, when Niño encounters the Guanajuato Mummy, have your child try out his/her Tickle Tackle on you.

Vocabulary Building

There are Spanish words sprinkled throughout the story so be sure to help your child learn their meanings. Allow him/her to attempt to discover their meanings using the illustrations and words surrounding them. For example, when Niño fights Cabeza Olmeca, ask, “What do you think ‘Cabeza Olmeca’ could mean? Can you tell from the picture what it is describing? It means ‘Olmec head’. It is a large sculpture that is made by the first people who lived in Mexico.”

Making Connections

Ask your child how s/he would approach these fearful opponents by asking, “If you were Niño, what would you do if you were up against El Extraterrestre? Do you think you would defeat him?” Also, if your child has siblings, you can ask, “How are Niño’s hermanitas like ________? What do you like to play with him/her?”

After Reading

Summarize and Interpret:

Ask these questions to gauge your child’s understanding of the story that you have just read together:

What was your favorite part of the story? Why?

Who were Niño’s most challenging opponents? What did he do?

If you could be a lucha libre wrestler (or luchador), what character would you be? What would your name be? What would your battle cry be?

Each of Niño’s opponents are imagined foes from Mexican history and popular culture like La Momia De Guanajuato or La Llorona.There are short bios in the beginning and end of the book but you can search the internet for more information about each one.

Activity: Luchador Paper Mask

Adapted from First Palette

Supplies: Scissors, markers, a pencil, a printer, printable cardstock, a hole punch, elastic string and glitter glue (optional)

  1. Choose from any one of these templates for your mask and print it onto the cardstock. Choose either Template 1 or 2 to draw your own mask design.
  2. Have your child use a pencil to design and draw his/her own unique mask pattern.
  3. Next, color and decorate your mask with your favorite colors and designs. Be sure to leave the areas bordered by dashed lines blank, as those are meant to be the eye, mouth, and nose holes.
  4. Cut out the eyes, bottom part of the nose and the mouth.
  5. Punch holes on the marked circles on either side of the mask.
  6. Tie the ends of an elastic string around the pair of holes. Have your child try on the mask and make sure it is snug but not too tight. Now just add a cape or some other costume item and your child is ready for his/her own lucha libre match. Recreate the story with your child’s new costume or leave it for the next time you read the story to help him/her get into character.