Nina the Neighborhood Ninja
written by Sonia Panigrahy
illustrated by Hazel Quintanilla
Kindergarten - Second Grade
English hardcover: 978-0-9975956-1-1
English softcover: 978-09975956-0-4
Spanish hardcover: 978-0-9975956-2-8
Spanish softcover: 978-0-9975956-4-2
Tiny Sparks Press
Synopsis: "Nina the Neighborhood Ninja is a creative and take-charge kind of little girl who possesses all of these amazing qualities. Fiona the Firefly is her loyal and trusty sidekick."
Meet Nina the Ninja and Fiona the Firefly
Nina the Neighborhood Ninja aims to reach little girls at an early age, right where they live, with missions they can understand. The story begins with an adorable little African American girl, sporting a "Princess Leia" inspired hairstyle, wearing a homemade cape, a yellow t-shirt with a single, red heart in the center and a skirt. This is Nina (the Ninja). She helps where help is needed even when doing requires personal sacrifice. The actions of a true super-hero. Throughout this story, she makes her way through the neighborhood, with her sidekick, Fiona the Firefly assisting a baby bird that fell out of the nest, a scared stray cat with no shelter from the storm and a little turtle family stuck in the sandbox. Each rescue is beautifully detailed in the accompanying drawing. The book ends with Nina inviting the reader to be a super-hero too.
The story is interesting, fun and inspirational. This is girl power from cover to cover. Nina is Smart, Strong and Speedy. All necessary characteristics for any super-hero. But more importantly, the characteristics we want to instill in our little girls. The drawing at the end shows kids that look very different from each other (with animals intermingled), holding hands around the world. A subtle, yet powerful way to say - it doesn't matter what you look like, you can be a super-hero too. Nina and Fiona are like Batman and Robin. Best friends that count on each other, help each other and work together to help others. A good story that follows a logical path ...long enough for kids to unwind... short enough to read in one sitting. The dialogue is delivered in the third person narrative (no rhyming.) The wording is age appropriate. The font is attractive, appealing to the eye, with letters that are easily recognized by those just learning to read. While repetition is a popular learning device, for some it is irritating. Thus taking away from their ability to enjoy the story. The latter was true for us.
Nina the Ninja is repeated twenty times in forty-three pages. (Half of those pages are drawings.) By page ten my granddaughter huffed every time I read it. She asked me "Nana, why do you keep saying Nina the Ninja?" I told her because that's what the book says. When I re-read the story, changing the wording to either, Nina or simply she, my granddaughter enjoyed the story a lot more.
We enjoyed this book, I think you will too.
page 21 Nina & Fiona building a shelter for a cat
The colorful illustrations keep the child's attention.
pages 40-41 Calling girls to be super-heroes too.
pages 42-43 Different super faces around the world.
Author: Sonia Panigrahy, is a public health professional, world traveler, adventure seeker, and fitness enthusiast.Illustrator: Hazel Quintanilla Campos was born in El Salvador and currently lies in Guatemala. She is an international award-winning artist and graphic designer.
*I received a courtesy copy of this book from The Cadence Group. I hope you found it informative and entertaining.