Read through South America

Argentina

Abuelo by Arthur Dorros, illustrated by Raúl Colón (2014)

A boy goes out riding with his grandfather and have adventures, but one day the boy finds out his family will be moving to the city and he won’t be near his grandfather. 

Animal Poems of the Iguazú by Alarcón

Gauchada by Lamm

Get to Know José de San Martín by Adela Basch, illustrated by Paola De Gaudio (2012)

Ghost Hands: A Story Inspired by Patagonia’s Cave of the Hands by Barron (also Chile)

Jemmy Button by Alix Barzelay, illustrated by Jennifer Uman and Valerio Vidali (2012)

This story is based on the true information about Jemmy Button, a young indigenous boy who was found on the island Tierra del Fuego, which is half owned by Chile and Argentina.  The little boy is taken to England and made to wear English style clothing.  The English men hope that Jemmy (who we find at the end of the book is really named Orundellico, would teach the other indigenous people the ways of the British when he is brought back to the island.  At the end of the book is more information about Orundellico. 

Magic Bean Tree: A Legend from Argentina by Nancy Van Laan, illustrated by Beatriz Vidal (1998)   **(illustrator born in Argentina)**

At the beginning of time there was just one tree in the middle of the pampas.  During a long draught a little boy, named Topec, goes looking for water.  The tree tells the boy that the Great Bird of the Underworld is preventing the gods from seeing that the pampas needs rain and how to send a message to the gods for rain.

Bolivia

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I’m Jose and I’m Okay: Three Stories from Bolivia by Holzwarth

Miro in the Kingdom of the Sun by Kurtz

Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet! By Deedy

Waira’s First Journey by Topooco

Brazil (and Rainforest)

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Adventures of Riley Amazon River Rescue by Lumry

Along the River written and illustrated by Vanina Starkoff, translated by Jane Springer (2014) **(Author lives in Brazil)**

See the different people and boats that travel along the river in the detailed drawings.

Along the Tapajós written and illustrated by Fernando Vilela, translated by Daniel Hahn (2015) **(author is from Brazil)**

Cauã and Inaê live along the Tapajós River and live in a house on stilts. They even take a boat to school and see some amazing animals in the water as they travel. When winter begins and the rainy season starts, the family has to move all their animals and belongings out of the house and move it all to dry land where they build a new house to live in while it’s raining. Inaê realizes they have left something important at their other house and she and her brother go back. At the end of the book is more information about the Tapajós River and the people who live along it.

 Amazon Boy by Lewin

Bella and Harry: Let’s Visit Rio de Janeiro! By Manzione

brazil best tailor

Best Tailor in Pinbauê by Toledo (2017)

Brave Little Parrot by Martin

Dancing Turtle by DeSpain

Great Kapok Tree by Cherry

How Night Came from the Sea by Gerson

Jabuti the Tortoise: A Trickster Tale from the Amazon by McDermott

James the Vine Puller by Stiles

Living in Brazil by Perkins

Nina Bonita by Machado

Princess of the Springs by Finch

Rosa Raposa by Campoy

Rain, Rain, Rain Forest by Guiverson

Sock Thief by Crespo

Songs from a Journey with a Parrot by Lerasle

So Say the Little Monkeys by Van Laan

Slowly, Slowly, Slowly, Said the Sloth by Carle

Umbrella by Brett

Welcome Brown Bird by Ray

We’re Roaming in the Rainforest by Krebs

Yellow Cab by Pfister

Zonia’s Rain Forest written and illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal (2021)

Chile

Farmyard Jamboree: Inspired by a Chilean Folktale by Margaret Read MacDonald, illustrated by Sophie Fatus (2005)

A little child gets a large variety of animals in this sing-a-long story, which includes a CD. At the end of the book is more information about the Chilean original sources for this song.

Land of the Wild Llama: A Story of the Patagonian Andes by Audrey Fraggalosch, illustrated by Michael Denman and William Huiett (2002)

Set in the Chilean Patagonia and featuring a heard of llamas throughout the year as well as other animals native to this part of the world. At the end of the book is more information about the Patagonian Andes and a nice fold out illustration of all the animals mentioned in the book.

Lucia’s Travel Bus by Nam-joong Kim, illustrated by Eun-min Jeong (2016)

Lucia and her grandfather travel all the way to the very Southern tip of Chile and see penguins. Her grandfather becomes sick so the family all goes together to see the Atacama Desert.

Mariana and the Merchild: A Folk Tale from Chile by Caroline Pitcher, illustrated by Jackie Morris (2000)

Mariana lives by the sea and one night there is a terrible storm. In the morning she finds all sorts of shells and other sea life washed up on shore and covered in seaweed. She brings it all home and realizes there is a baby mermaid mixed in with the bundle of sea items. The merchild’s mother leaves the baby with Mariana and comes back from time to time to help raise the merbaby until the seas calm and it is safe for the child to return to the water.

My Name is Gabriela by Monica Brown, illustrated by John Parra (2005)

This story talks about Gabriela Mistral who was the first Latina woman to win the Nobel Prize for literature. She grew up in Chile loving words and poems. This story is written in both English and Spanish. At the end of the book is more information about her life.

Ode to an Onion: Pablo Neruda and his Muse by Alexandria Giardino, illustrated by Felicita Sala (2018)

This book was inspired by Pablo Neruda’s poem Oda a la Cebolla-Ode to the Onion. The book features Pablo and Matilde working in their garden which inspires his poem. The poem is shared in both Spanish and English at the end of the book along with some information about Pablo Neruda.

Pablo Neruda: Poet of the People by Monica Brown, illustrated by Julie Paschkis (2011)

Pablo Neruda’s name was originally Neftalí and he changed it when he grew up to be a poet. He started writing about Chile and all the things that make the country so special. When he saw the hard life of the coal miners he began to fight for justice for them. At the end of the book is more information about Pablo Neruda.

Pen Pal for Max by Gloria Rand, illustrated by Ted Rand (2005)

Max’s father works in a vineyard. When Max learns that some grapes are destined for the US he sends along a note looking for a penpal. After several weeks he finally receives a letter, but it is in English which he cannot read. The owner of the vineyard reads English and translates the letter for Max. Max learns about Maggie and the two begin to write letters back and forth. One day there is a special surprise waiting for Max and his classmates at school.

Small History of Disagreement by Claudio Fuentes S., illustrations by Gabriela Lyon (2017) **(author and illustrator both live in Chile)**

A group of children in Chile come to school one day to see that a work crew is set up to start building new classrooms. They learn that an ancient Monkey Puzzle tree will need to be cut down to make space for the classrooms. Some kids are for the new building and others would prefer that the 300 year old tree not be cut down. The school decides to have a debate for both sides to give their arguments. Then the kids set up voting booths and ballot boxes to see what the majority felt. At the end is more information about the Monkey Puzzle Tree.

Colombia

Biblioburro: A True Story from Colombia written and illustrated by Jeanette Winter (2010)

Luis is an avid reader and soon has too many books for his house.  When his wife complains of all the books, Luis comes up with a great way to share his love of reading with other people in villages near his in northern Colombia.  This book is based on the true story of Luis and his Biblioburro (named that because of the burros who help him carry the books to people).

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Digging for Words: José Alberto Gutiérrez and the Library He Built by Angela Burke Kunkel, illustrated by Paola Excobar (2020) **illustrator moved to Colombia as a child**

The story of a young José who looks forward to visiting the library and an older José who collects the books that are being thrown out while he works as a garbage collector.  On Saturday’s young José arrives at the libray built from the books the older José has collected.  At the end of the book is more information about the lack of libraries in Colombia as well as information about the the real José who made the library as well as a couple photos. 

feliz new year

Feliz New Year, Ava Gabriela! by Alexandra Alessandri, illustrated by Addy Rivera Sonda (2020) **Author is Colombian-American**

Ava is visiting her aunt and uncle, cousins, and grandmother for the new year.  She is really shy and isn’t ready to talk at first.  But as her family includes her in all the traditions for the new year, Ava begins to come out of her shell.

Legend of El Dorado by Van Laan

Mia’s Story written and illustrated by Michael Foreman (2006)

Based on an encounter the author had while traveling from Chile into the Andes.  The story however, is set in Campamento San Francisco, which appears to be in the north of Columbia at the end of the Andes mountain range, but pretty far from Chile.  Anyhow, based on the name of the city where the girl lives, I’m putting this book in Columbia.  The story is about Mia, who one day looses her dog.  As she is searching the mountain for the puppy, she discovers a field of beautiful flowers.  She thinks people in the city might like the flowers as much as she does.

My Name is/ Me Ilamo Gabito by Monica Brown, illustrated by Raúl Colón (2007)

This story is based on the life of famous Colombian writer Gabriel García Márquez.  He loves his grandfather and his 100 year old parrot very much.  Both inspire Gabito to write stories as do all his encounters with people he sees and meets around Colombia.  This book is written in English and Spanish and includes a brief biography of Marquez at the end.

Waiting for the Biblioburro by Brown

Ecuador

Ecuador books

Booby Hatch by Lewin

Galápagos Means Tortoises by Heller

Island: A Story of the Galápagos written and illustrated by Jason Chin (2012)

This book details the life of the Galapagos islands from creation during a volcano to varied animals as they begin to arrive on the island. The book also discusses how some animals adapt and change to survive on the island. At the end of the book is more information about the Galapagos.

Take Your Time: A Tale of Harriet, the Galapagos Tortoise by Furrow

Guyana

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Paraguay

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Ada’s Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay by Susan Hood, illustrated by Sally Wern Comport (2016)

Ada’s city is the location for a huge landfill. Sometimes people find treasures but the air always smells. Her family loves music and one day Ada’s grandmother signs her up for violin lessons. There aren’t enough violins to go around so the teacher asks a carpenter to help make instruments out of materials in the landfill. They make all different kinds of instruments including cellos and flutes. Eventually the orchestra gains enough of a following to play at larger venues all around the world. At the end of the book is more information about the recycled band in Cateura, Paraguay.

Peru

Chancay and the Secret of the Fire: A Peruvian Folktale written and illustrated by Donald Charles (1992)

One day Chancay goes fishing cand catches a fish so big and beautiful he realizes he could never eat it and lets it go.  In exchange the fish offers him whatever he would like to wish for.  Chancay asks for something to warm his people and is gifted fire from the fish, but first Chancay must complete several tasks to prove he is worthy. 

Carolina’s Gift: A Story of Peru by Katacha Díaz, illustrated by Grenda Landolt (2002)  **(author and illustrator wereborn in Peru)**

Carolina and her mother are shopping for a gift for her grandmother’s birthday.  At the market they look at all the stalls hoping to find the perfect gift.  Eventually, Carolina finds the perfect gift for her grandmother.  At the end of the book is more information about Peru and Market Day. 

Festival of the Sun by Jong-soon Jo, retold by Joy Cowley, illustrated by Sinae Jo (2016)

A girl is excited for the Festival of the Sun event where her father will play the part of the king.  Set in modern times, this book shows how the ancient traditions of the Incans are still kept alive today.  At the end of the book is more information about the Festival of the Sun as well as Peru.

from beans to batteries

From Beans to Batteries by Steve Brace, illustrated by Annie Kubler (1999)

The Good Llama: A Picture Story from Peru by Anne Rockwell (1968)

Hector and Hummingbird written and illustrated by Nicholas John Frith (2015)

Hector the bear and Hummingbird are best friends, but sometimes Hector gets tired of Hummingbird always being around.  Hector decides to go off on his own but soon realizes he misses his friend.

How Llama Saved the Day: A Story from Peru by Janet Palazzo-Craig, illustrated by Charles Reasoner (1996)

A Farmer takes good care of his llama but one day it does not want to eat, only cries.  The llama then speaks and warns of a coming flood, telling the farmer to go to higher land.  As they go to higher ground, the llama and farmer tell all the other animals to flee as well.  The foxes are the only animals that don’t listen and have to rush to high ground when the water comes.  This story explains why fox tails look the way they do.  At the end of the book is information about the story. 

If You Were Me and Lived in Peru by Carole P. Roman, illustrated by Kelsea Wierenga (2014)

Learn about some of the places in Peru and what children enjoy doing.

Isabella’s Bed written and illustrated by Alison Lester (1991)

When Anna and Luis visit their grandmother they are always curious about the bed there called “Isabella’s Bed” and who Isabella is.  Their grandmother always responds that there are “too many memories.”  One night the bed takes them on a tour of the Andes Mountains and they learn who Isabella is. 

Kusikiy: A Child from Taquile Peru by Mercedes Cecilia (2011)

Llama and the Great Flood by Alexander

Llama’s Secret: A Peruvian Legend by Palacios

Love and Roast Chicken: A Trickster Tale from the Andes Mountains written and illustrated by Barbara Knutson (2004)  **(author lived for a while in Peru)**

Cuy the Guinea Pig lives in the Andes Mountains.  When a fox comes looking for food and sees Cuy, the Guinea Pig has to keep coming up with clever ways to escape.  When Cuy pretends to be a human farmer in order to access the crops, he finds out that he can be tricked as well.  However, Cuy has one last trick up his sleeve.  At the end of the book is more information about the author’s time living in Peru and trickster tales as well as a list of Spanish words form the story.

Martín de Porres: The Rose in the Desert by Gary D. Schmidt, illustrated by David Diaz (2012)

Martín’s father was a Spanish nobleman and his mother was a slave.  Martín was raised by priests for some time, until his father came and claimed him to raise as a healer.  When Martín planted a lemon it grew fruit year round.  Martín wishes to be a priest but they say his mixed heritage will prevent him from doing so.  He also helps animals and at the end of the book is more information about Martín.

Maria Had a Little Llama written and illustrated by Angela Dominguez (2013)

This story is based on the rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” Maria has a llama with snowy white fleece who follows her to school.  The text of the story is written in both English and Spanish.

Miro in the Kingdom of the Sun by Jane Kurtz, illustrated by David Frampton (1996)

In ancient Cuzco, a prince is born at the same time as a girl named Miro.  Miro grows up strong whereas the prince is very sickly.  The only cure is water from a lake at the ends of world.  Everyone goes out searching for the water.  Miro, with the help from some birds, has more luck. 

Moon Rope: A Peruvian Folktale by Ehlert

Run, Little Chaski!: An Inka Trail Adventure by Mariana Llamos, illustrated by Mariana Ruiz Johnson (2021)  **(author grew up in Peru)**

It is Chaski’s first day delivering messages and he worries if he will do it well.  He meets different animals along the trail who he helps out in different ways.  When his message is lost he worries how he will tell it to the Inka at the end of the trail.  At the end of the book is a glossary of Quechua words and more information about the Inka, as well as the Chaskis and more information about the Inka empire.

Sharuko: El Arqueólogo Peruano/Peruvian Archaeologist Julio C. Tello by Monica Brown, illustrated by Elisa Chavarri (2020) **(illustrator was born in Peru, author’s mother was born there)**

Told in both Spanish and English is the story of Julio C. Tello who was an archaeologist born in 1880. He was really brave exploring caves to look for artifacts and was nicknamed Sharuko which means brave. He finds skulls as a child and while in college his interest in archaeology is renewed. He went on to make important discoveries about many of the first people to live in what is now Peru. At the end of the book is more information about Julio Tello.

Thunder god’s Son: A Peruvian Folktale by Dewey

Tonight is Carnival by Arthur Dorros, illustrated with arpilleras sewn by the Club de Madres Virgen del Carmen of Lima, Peru 1991)  **(illustrators are both from Peru)**

A little boy is excited for the upcoming Carnaval celebration and how he will play in the band with his father.  He practices on his flute while doing his chores around the house.   There is also more information about arpilleras as well as photographs of the women who make these beautiful works of art.

Up and Down the Andes: A Peruvian Festival Tale by Laurie Krebs and Aurélia Fronty (2008)

In the city of Cusco every year is held the Festival of the Sun.  People travel from all over Peru to attend, by truck, by car, by mule to attend.  At the end of the book is more information about the Festival of the Sun and several other Peruvian festivals, as well as more information about Peru.

Zorro and Quwi

Zorro and Quwi: Tales of a Trickster Guinea Pig by Rebecca Hockox, illustrated by Kim Howard (1997)

Zorro the fox always tries to catch Quwi the guinea pig.  Quwi decides to hide in a garden to eat all night but the owner of the garden gets angry and sets a trap and catches Quwi.  When Zorry finds the trapped Quwi and threatens to eat him, Quwi comes up with a clever plan.  Each time Zorro finds Quwi the guinea pig figures out a way to escape by tricking the fox.  At the end of the book is more information about the story.

Suriname

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I Lost My Arrow in a Kankan Tree written and illustrated by Noni Lichtveld (1993)

Jakóno lives in the forest with his family and helps his father hunt but there is never enough food.  On his way to the city he shoots a pigeon out of the sky but looses his arrow in the Kankan tree.  He takes the pigeon and trades it for a pumpkin, as he continues on his way he continues to trade each new item for something different.  Eventually he finds himself before the king with something that might help.

Trinidad and Tobago

trinidad and tobago books

Gregory Cool by Binch

Island Christmas by Joseph

Jump Up Time: A Trinidad Carnival Story by Joseph

Little Salmon for Witness: A Story from Trinidad by Rahaman

Mermaid’s Twin Sister by Joseph

Wave in Her Pocket: Stories from Trinidad by Joseph

Uruguay

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“Dead or Alive?” from the anthology Noodlehead Stories: World Tales Kids Can Read and Tell by Martha Halmilton and Mitch Weiss

As a man sits a tree limb sawing it off, a woman passes by and informs the man that he will fall if he sits on the limb he’s trying to remove.  He doesn’t believe her, but when he does fall he thinks the woman must be a fortune teller.  He races after her and wants to ask when he will die.  She pretends to know and tells him.

Venezuela

venezuela books

Dancing Hands: How Tessa Carreño Played Piano for President Lincoln by Engle (2019)

How Iwariwa the Cayman Learned to Share by Crespo

Streets are Free by Kurusa

Venezuela ABCs by Cooper


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