Inside: Peru books for kids: a collection of favorite titles.
Peru is a magical place: full of history and culture and that stretches across the centuries. Here I’ve collected our favorite titles for introducing the country to children.
Right now, most books are very sierra-heavy: focused on the Andes and traditional culture. We live in the jungle, and there aren’t many books about the jungle, the coast, or more modern-day life. If you know of more to add, please let me know!
(For more book lists and suggestions, be sure to see my Spanish children’s books page.)
PERU BOOKS FOR KIDS
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FICTIONAL PERU BOOKS FOR KIDS
An adorable bilingual re-telling of Mary Had a Little Lamb, set in the Peruvian Andes– with a few extra details.
(PreK- 3rd grade)
Meet children who are traveling to the Inti Raymi festival (festival of the Sun God or the Incan New Year) in Cusco, through lyrical rhymes. This is a beautiful, folk-art introduction to the country and customs of Peru, with the Andes as the backdrop.
Available in Spanish and English, this folktale re-tells the story of the Great Flood. In this Andean version, a llama saves the people and animals by warning them to gather on a mountain. I love that authentic culture and words in Quechua are incorporate in this rich tale.
Alma Flor Ada is one of my favorite authors, and this book is an overview of the native people of Latin America. Although it’s not only focused on Peru, the condor is the national Peruvian bird and a significant cultural reference.
A Cuy (guinea pig) must outwit a hungry Fox in this light-hearted story set in the Andes. Beautiful wood-block illustrations and Quechua phrases add to the authenticity of the story.
Another llama tale, this is a sweet story about a young llama looking for friends who will play with him. Along the way, we meet typical Andean animals and beautiful scenes of Peru.
(PreK – 2nd grade)
Part of a global “Molly goes to…” series, here we get an introduction to Peru through the eyes of two children, Molly and Michael. They visit Machu Picchu and other famous sites, and learn about traditional dances, clothing, and food.
Weaving together Peruvian culture and history, Patterns in Peru two children solve a mystery and learn about patterns along the way.
Written in the tradition of magical realism, Kusikiy tells the story of a Peruvian boy who travels to the Guardian Spirit of the Mountain to find the lost stars of the sky.
Learn about travel through Peru and caring for the environment with The Adventures of Paloma in Peru. (Each purchase in the U.S. buys a backpack for a child in Peru!)
PERU BOOKS FOR OLDER READERS
A Newberry Award winner, the main character here is an Incan boy in charge of caring for the llamas in the Sacred Valley. Mythology and indigenous traditions are woven throughout the story, as he learns the secrets of his ancestors.
An adventure story set in Peru, this one is written in Spanish specifically for novice Spanish learners.
(Middle – High School)
NON-FICTION PERU BOOKS FOR KIDS
Available in Spanish or English, this is the perfect introduction to Peru for kids, with an overview of its history, customs, geography, food, animals, and more.
A rhyming introduction to facts about Peru, letter by letter (M is for Machu Picchu!). Written in Spanish.
An introduction to Peruvian culture and history for kids.
(PreK – 3rd)
A realistic look into the everyday life of a boy who lives in Ayacucho. Kids will be fascinated by the photos that show day-to-day customs and routines, at home, school, and around town in Peru.
An inspiring true story about a 10-year-old girl who lives on the Amazon river in Peru and rescues baby monkeys. Real-life photos give a fascinating look into nature and life in the jungle.
Though not about Peru specifically, most of the books about Peru center on the Andes mountains and culture. Don’t forget that a huge portion of Peru is part of the Amazon rainforest! The Rainforest Grew All Around is a delightful introduction to the Amazon and its animal and plant inhabitants. Beautiful!
BOOKS ABOUT THE INCAS
This gorgeous book (features over “500 color paintings, drawings, and photographs) is a wonderful introduction to Inca life on the everyday level.
(Grade 5 and up- I think)
A wonderful book that tells the story of the “discovery” of Machu Picchu by Hiram Bingham. Gorgeous watercolor illustrations and storytelling.
A basic introduction to the Inca Empire, with photos.
Another look into daily life among the Incas, for slightly younger readers.
An in-depth look at the history of the Ancient Inca civilization. Packed with information, art, graphs, and photos.
A high-quality introduction to the Incas, both in text and illustrations. Be aware that some graphic scenes are included (human sacrifices). (Grades 5-8)
Discover folk tales from the Andes, in this lovely collection. Rich paintings and stories uncover the deep culture and traditions of the Andean natives.
Do you have favorite Peru books for kids that I missed? Let me know in the comments below!
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