Sumo Joe

By Mia Wenjen
Illustrated by Nat Iwata

Hardcover: $20.95


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.

Fists, feet, and martial art forms collide in this sweet yet spirited rhyming story by author Mia Wenjen and illustrator Nat Iwata.

About the Creators

Thumb_mia_wenjen_headshot Mia Wenjen - Author

MIA WENJEN is an entrepreneur and a blogger at Pragmatic Mom, a popular online resource for parents and educators. As the cofounder of Multicultural Children’s Book Day, Mia is passionate about representation in children’s picture books. In her spare time, she can be found boxing or on hikes with her dog. Mia lives in Newton, Massachusetts, with her husband and three children. You can visit her online at and follow her at @pragmaticmom.

Thumb_nat_iwata_headshot Nat Iwata

Nat Iwata has worked as an art director, 3D artist, illustrator, professor, and animator on everything from video games to children's books. His debut picture book, Sumo Joe, was called "a refreshing new take on the martial arts genre" by Kirkus Reviews. Like Wat, Nat is also Japanese American, about 5' 7" tall, but lousy at basketball. He lives in Washington state with his wife and three boys, all of whom serve as an endless source of encouragement and inspiration. You can visit him online at