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Sumo Joe

Multicultural Children’s Book Day

diversity books for kids

Multicultural Children’s Book Day

Multicultural Children’s Book Day is celebrating 10 years today! The primary purpose of this event (and nonprofit) is to raise awareness of kid’s books that celebrate diversity and get more of these books into classrooms and libraries.

Clearly the link between their work and ours is undeniable, so we are thrilled to participate once again! We love sharing titles that encourage little explorers to take a deeper dive into other cultures. Reading about diverse people & places can put kids on a path to understanding how and why our differences are so important. Later in life, travel is the perfect way to continue that education.

More about Multicultural Children’s Book Day…

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2023 (1/26/23) is in its 10th year! This non-profit children’s literacy initiative was founded by Valarie Budayr and Mia Wenjen; two diverse book-loving moms who saw a need to shine the spotlight on all of the multicultural books and authors on the market while also working to get those books into the hands of young readers and educators.

MCDB’s mission is to raise awareness about children’s books that celebrate diversity and to get more of these books into classrooms and libraries. To date, Multicultural Children’s Book Day, along with literacy partners, authors, and publishers, has donated over 10,800 books to parents, teachers, and librarians. Multicultural Children’s Book Day strives to shine the spotlight on the diverse books and authors that often get overlooked by mainstream publishing and media. MCBD’s mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves. Read about our Mission & History here.

About the Book

In honor of Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2023 we were gifted the book Sumo Joe, written by Mia Wenjen and illustrated by Nat Iwata.

“On Saturday mornings, Sumo Joe is a gentle big brother to his little sister. But on Saturday afternoons, he and his friends are sumo wrestlers! They tie on makeshift mawashi belts, practice drills like teppo, and compete in their homemade dohyo ring. They even observe sumo’s ultimate rule: no girls allowed! But when Sumo Joe’s little sister wants to join in the fun, Sumo Joe is torn between the two things he’s best at–sumo, and being a big brother.”

This colorful story shares a beautiful relationship between brother and sister, and the strength of two age-old Japanese traditions, Sumo and Aikido. Simple (rhyming) words set against a backdrop of fun and playful images will captivate young readers’ attention. The playful push and pull between Sumo Joe and Aikido Jo, spotlights the very-real struggle for anyone who feels hindered by historical gender roles.

Author Mia Wenjen makes martial arts fun for everyone—boys and girls—proving that “No Girls Allowed” is a rule meant to be broken.

About the Author

Mia Wenjen is a business owner and blogger of Pragmatic Mom, a popular online resource for parents and educators. As the co-founder of Multicultural Children’s Book Day, Mia is passionate about representation in children’s picture books. In her spare time, she can be found kickboxing or on hikes with her dog. Wenjen lives in Newtown, Massachusetts with her husband and three children. You can visit her online at and follow her at @pragmaticmom.

About the Illustrator

Nat Iwata is an artist working in the entertainment industry, and the author/illustrator of The Steampunk Alphabet. Like the characters in Sumo Joe, he’s of Japanese descent, and has even practiced a little Aikido, although he has yet to try sumo wrestling. Nat lives in the beautiful Dutch city of Haarlem with his wife and three boys, all of whom serve as an endless source of encouragement and inspiration. You can visit him online at

barefoot books

As a member of the American Booksellers Association, we have access to an endless inventory of great titles. Explore the world with our curated collection of travel books for the whole family. Every purchase supports our ongoing work to inspire kids through virtual and real-world travel!

Multicultural Children’s Book Day

Travelnitch was founded to share our passion for travel with the next generation. We believe it has the power to change lives, open minds, and build a stronger sense of community.

Multicultural Children’s Book Day

We are here to make travel accessible to all. Many families lack time or money to travel. Fortunately, hands-on learning at home can provide many of the same benefits.

Here at Travelnitch, we encourage parents and children to travel, learn, and grow together. We are building a more caring and compassionate global community, one family at a time. From virtual adventures to family travel grants, we are helping kids explore the world in a more meaningful way. A love of travel (and humanity) begins with curiosity.

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Together, we are shaping young explorers who will transform the world through cultural understanding & acceptance.