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Groundwood Books

Jimmy the Greatest!

Written by Jairo Buitrago • Illustrated by Rafael Yockteng • Translated by Elisa Amado

For kids 4 - 7 years old | Published May 01, 2012 | ISBN 9781554981786
JUVENILE FICTION / Social Themes / Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance

Cover of Jimmy the Greatest!

Regular price $18.95 CAD

52 pages | 8.27 in × 8.86 in
Print Format

About this book

Jimmy the Greatest!

Jairo Buitrago • Rafael Yockteng • Elisa Amado

Listed as one of the Best Children's Books of 2012 by Kirkus, honored with the Horn Book Fanfare, and selected for the School Library Journal's 100 Magnificent Children's Books of 2012

Jimmy lives in a small town by the sea where there is just one tiny gym. The owner of the gym suggests that Jimmy start training, and to inspire him, he gives Jimmy a box full of books, as well as newspaper clippings about Muhammad Ali - "The Greatest." Jimmy is swept with admiration for Ali. He begins to read and run and box like crazy, even though someone at the gym has taken his shoes. And as he does so, he makes a great discovery: you don't have to leave home to be "the greatest."

Unlike many stories about emigration, Jairo Buitrago's simple, profound text is about someone who decides to stay in his small remote town in Latin America. Combined with Rafael Yockteng's humorous illustrations, this book will be especially appealing to boys and boxing aficionados.

The Spanish edition, ¡Jimmy, el más grande!, was recently nominated for one of "Los mejores libros del año" (Best Books of the Year) by Venezuela's Banco del Libro.

Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.1.4
Identify words and phrases in stories or poems that suggest feelings or appeal to the senses.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.2.3
Describe how characters in a story respond to major events and challenges.

About the Creators

Jairo Buitrago

Jairo Buitrago is a children’s book author who has collaborated with Rafael Yockteng on several picture books, including Jimmy the Greatest! (six starred reviews), Two White Rabbits (three starred reviews) and Walk with Me (three starred reviews, Kirkus Prize shortlist). They won the “A la Orilla del Viento” contest for the Spanish edition of Walk with Me, which was also named to IBBY’s Honor List. Their books have also appeared on “Los mejores libros del año” (Venezuela’s Banco del Libro), Kirkus Best Books, the Horn Book Fanfare and in the White Ravens Catalogue. Jairo lives in Mexico City.

Rafael Yockteng

Rafael Yockteng has illustrated many highly acclaimed children’s books, including Sopa de frijoles / Bean Soup by Jorge Argueta (USBBY Outstanding International Books) and Jimmy the Greatest! (six starred reviews), Two White Rabbits (three starred reviews), Walk with Me (three starred reviews, Kirkus Prize shortlist) and On the Other Side of the Garden (three starred reviews) by Jairo Buitrago. Together, Jairo Buitrago and Rafael Yockteng have won the “A la Orilla del Viento” contest, and their books have been included on IBBY’s Honor List, “Los mejores libros del año” (Venezuela’s Banco del Libro), Kirkus Best Books, the Horn Book Fanfare and in the White Ravens Catalogue. Rafael lives in Bogotá.

Elisa Amado

Elisa Amado is a Guatemalan-born author and translator. Her books have been on the Américas Award Commended List and on USBBY’s Outstanding International Books List. She lives in Toronto.

Awards and Praise

"Eye-opening inspiration in this unassuming import from Colombia" — Kirkus Book Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

"This is a genuine, bighearted picture of life in a Third World village that neither romanticizes poverty nor evokes pity—and it packs a powerful punch." — Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

"This gentle tale of self-fulfillment and acceptance will be a winning addition to collections. " — School Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

"In a world where so many must leave their homes to find work, it's inspiring to see Jimmy able to do a truly great thing, right where he wants to " — Horn Book, STARRED REVIEW

" . . . quietly powerful title." — Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

  • Commended School Library Journal's 100 Magnificent Children's Books of 2012, 2012
  • Commended Booklist Top 10 Translated Books for Youth, 2017
  • Commended Kirkus Best Children's Books, 2012
  • Commended Horn Book Fanfare, 2012
Jimmy the Greatest! Jimmy the Greatest! Jimmy the Greatest!