Lost City: The Discovery of Machu Picchu – by Ted Lewin
This beautifully illustrated book tells the story of Hiram Bingham’s discovery of the lost city of Machu Picchu in 1911. The story is told though the lens of a young Quechua boy who leads Bingham’s party through the jungle — a real boy, who appears in the pages of Bingham’s journal, and whose photograph is highlighted at the end of this book. The boy’s speech is all in Quechua, and gives a glimpse into the difficulties of communicating without a common language. The illustrations are lush and intricate, and give a beautiful picture of what the ruins must have looked like covered with the undisturbed overgrowth of several hundred years.
The Llama’s Secret – by Argentina Palacios
This Peruvian version of The Great Flood story features a llama who leads his people (as well as other animals along the way) to congregate atop a high Andean mountain peak until the flood passes them by. The illustrations are beautiful, and traditional Quechua clothing and games can be spotted throughout the pages.
Up and Down the Andes – by Laurie Krebs
This book tells the story of various children making the trip to Cusco in order to celebrate the Inca new year festival — Inti Raymi. The illustrations are bright and colorful, with a folk art flair. The text is rhyming and rhythmic, with beautiful imagery. Just listen to the opening lines: “The mountains edge the western coast./They parallel the sea./And up and down the Andes/There are children just like me.”
If You Were Me and Lived in… PERU – by Carole P. Roman
Part of a series of books that introduce children to various cultures, this book serves as a great introduction to Peru. Just like the title, the entire book uses the very personal perspective of “If you lived in Peru, you might…” It covers topics as varied as common names, what kids call their parents, games, foods, and festivals. There are a lot of unfamiliar words in the book, but pronunciation guides are provided right in the text.
Maria Had a Little Llama – by Angela Dominguez
A sweet re-telling of “Mary Had a Little Lamb” — Peruvian style. The book features bright, bold illustrations and a cute little llama that will steal your heart. The book is bilingual (in English and Spanish), and a number of traditional elements of Peruvian culture can be spotted in the illustrations.