WWE superstar John Cena reads to area students at the Library of Congress

WWE superstar John Cena reads to area students at the Library of Congress on Wednesday, December 6, 2017, in Washington, D.C. (ABC7)

There was a thunderous reception at the Library of Congress as a star of wrestling and film took the stage.

Demetrius Goddard is a second grader at Maury Elementary School in Northeast Washington. When asked who was coming he boldly declared, "John Cena—a WWE wrestler!"

The 16-time world champion wasn't in D.C. to wrestle, but to read The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf. Later this month, the film Ferdinand hits movie theaters starring Cena.

The wrestler-turned-actor is the voice of the leading character.

"The message of the book is very strong and it certainly is be yourself and be happy being yourself, even sometimes when we're being misunderstood," Cena told ABC7 News.

Ten-year-old Naomi Lucas expressed, "To talk about a book that he's going to play in, that's like really cool and I'm going to go see the movie."

"Ferdinand is going to be a great movie and I think the fun on screen is a direct reflection of the fun we had making it and yes, I had the easy part; I could just stand in the sound booth and make believe with a microphone. They took my voice and created this universe out of it. But it's a really fun ride and it's a great movie," Cena continued.

Cena urged the students to embrace the message the book and film offer. "Even if you're different like Ferdinand and you like to smell the flowers, as long as you're happy, that's cool," he told the children.

The movie Ferdinand makes its debut on December 15.

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