As a kid, there’s nothing better than having your parents read you a children’s book. But if you’re Latino, it’s harder to find books that reflect your identity and culture. The Cooperative Children’s Book Center found that roughly 92% of children’s books feature white characters, and only 1.5% feature Latino characters, despite Latinos being closer to 17% of the country’s population–and a growing section of our nation’s youth.
In order to spread the joy, we thought we’d try something different and invite author and illustrator Yuyi Morales, winner of the Pura Belpre Award for children’s books, to read to us an enhanced version her latest story, “Niño Wrestles the World.” She also shares with us her memories of discovering children’s literature in the U.S. for the first time, and where her inspiration comes from.
Photo illustration courtesy of author.
Yuyi Morales is an award-winning illustrator and author of children's books whose original self-illustrated picture books include Just a Minute: A Trickster Tale and Counting Book and Little Night. Noted for her bright, child-friendly art, Morales has twice won the Pura Belpré Illustrator Award, which honors "Latino authors and illustrators whose work best portrays and celebrates Latino cultural experience in a children's book."
Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Michael Simon Johnson spend most of his childhood making music and groaning when his parents put on NPR in the car. So naturally he graduated from Emerson College with a degree in Sound Design, moved to New York and made his way into public radio. As an engineer, he has worked for Afropop Worldwide, WNYC's Radio Rookies, and Jazz at Lincoln Center. He commits much of his time to working on radio and multimedia projects but can often be found playing the bass, rock climbing, and traveling.