Monday, March 27, 2023

Children's Books that Feature Peru

Children's Books that Feature Peru

This week, we're taking a look at Peru. And to start things off, here's a roundup of some amazing children's books that feature Peru. We know you'll find some of these stories absolutely engaging and want to add them to your home library!

This post contains affiliate links.

Picture Books with Peruvian Characters

Sharuko: El Arqueólogo Peruano Julio C. Tello / Peruvian Archaeologist Julio C. Tello

Written by Monica Brown
Illustrated by Elisa Chavarri

Here's the book description, but let me tell you. I've already seen the book and it is such a great story. If you have young children who love adventure and are looking for some inspiration, this is it.
Growing up in the late 1800s, Julio Tello, an Indigenous boy, spent time exploring the caves and burial grounds in the foothills of the Peruvian Andes. Nothing scared Julio, not even the ancient human skulls he found. His bravery earned him the boyhood nickname Sharuko, which means brave in Quechua, the language of the Native people of Peru.

At the age of twelve, Julio moved to Lima to continue his education. While in medical school, he discovered an article about the skulls he had found. The skulls had long ago been sent to Lima to be studied by scientists. The article renewed Julio's interest in his ancestry, and he decided to devote his medical skills to the study of Peru's Indigenous history.

Over his lifetime, Julio Tello made many revolutionary discoveries at archaeological sites around Peru, and he worked to preserve the historical treasures he excavated. He showed that Peru's Indigenous cultures had been established thousands of years ago, disproving the popular belief that Peruvian culture had been introduced more recently from other countries. He fostered pride in his country's Indigenous ancestry, making him a hero to all Peruvians. Because of the brave man once known as Sharuko, people around the world today know of Peru's long history and its living cultural legacy.

Kusikiy a Child from Taquile, Peru

Kusikiy a Child from Taquile, Peru by Mercedes Cecilia

The author created an original myth that draws us into the kaleidoscopic a world of a Peruvian child. KUSIKIY lives in The Andes Mountains of Peru in a small island in Lake Titikaka. In the peaceful community of Taquile, Kusikiy's father cultivates potatoes and Quinoa; his mother, like her mother and grandmother, weaves traditional designs into her textiles recording the important events. Children easily identify with Kusikiy's love for family and his concerns for the effects of climate changes on Mother Earth, as well as with his desire to be of help to his town. This is a book that gives parents and educators a visual and appealing way to engage children in a dialogue about traditional cultures, the meaning of community, sustainability and caring for our environment.

Kutu the Tiny Inca Princess / La Ñusta Diminuta

Kutu the Tiny Inca Princess / La Ñusta Diminuta by Mariana Llanos

This book was my pick a few years ago for the Multicultural Kid Blogs' Read Around the World Summer Series. Read my full review!

In this sweet story, you'll follow tiny KUTU's adventure in the Inca Empire. If you like mighty girls, then you are going to fall in love with KUTU and her courage and perseverance. In this bilingual book, written in English, Spanish and bits of Quechua, we'll meet Ch'illik'utu (Kutu), a princess the size of a cob of maize. When a terrible drought devastate the city of Cusco, where she lives, Kutu sets out on a courageous quest to save her people.

Maria Had a Little Llama / María Tenía Una Llamita

Maria Had a Little Llama / María Tenía Una Llamita by Angela Dominguez

With gorgeous, Peruvian-inspired illustrations and English and Spanish retellings, Angela Dominguez's Maria Had a Little Llama / María Tenía Una Llamita gives a fresh new bilingual twist to the classic rhyme. Maria and her mischievous little llama will steal your heart.

La Princesa and the Pea

La Princesa and the Pea
by Susan Middleton Elya

Absolutely adorable! I love the idea of this bilingual book and the beautiful illustrations.

El príncipe knows this girl is the one for him, but, as usual, his mother doesn’t agree. The queen has a secret test in mind to see if this girl is really a princesa, but the prince might just have a sneaky plan, too. Readers will be enchanted by this Latino twist on the classic story, and captivated by the vibrant art inspired by the culture of Peru.

Up and Down the Andes
by Laurie Kreb

This book is just a visual delight with its vibrant illustrations!

This rhyming text takes readers from Lake Titicaca all the way to the city of Cusco for the highly popular Inti Raymi festival, celebrated in June each year.

La selva de Zonia (Spanish version)
Zonia's Rain Forest (English version)
by Juana Martinez-Neal

I featured this book a couple of years ago. Read my full review here.

This book is a remarkably beautiful story that highlights an indigenous culture and nature. It follows a young girl, Zonia, who represents the largest group of indigenous people - the Asháninka - that live in the Peruvian Amazon. Zonia spends each morning responding to the rainforest's call. Her interactions with native wildlife are lovingly depicted on each page. Until one day, she discovers something that she's never seen before...

The Llama's Secret - A Peruvian Legend by Palacios

A Peruvian rendition of the Great Flood story, in which a llama warns the people and animals to seek shelter on Huillcacato to avoid the rising sea, Mamacocha.

Secret of the Andes

Secret of the Andes by Ann Nolan Clark

This is not a picture book, but I'm including it on this post because it is a lovely story and deeply moving. It is best suited for children ages 9 and up.
Cusi, a modern Inca boy, leaves his home high in the Andes mountains to learn the mysterious secret of his ancient ancestors. Accompanied by his pet llama, Misti, he slowly discovers the truth about his birth and his people's ancient glory. Now he must prove himself worthy to be entrusted with the fabulous secret from the past.

Fun Facts About Peru

Pair any of these books with my Fun Facts About Peru: A Country Coloring Activity. This download is an excellent introduction or supplement to a lesson on Peru. 

It includes a printable map and fact passage! Just have your kids read about a person, place, or thing related to Peru, then have them find it on the map and color it in. Available in English or Spanish, it's simple and fun.

This product now contains an added page of additional learning resources to extend the learning with related books, online articles, and videos.

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