While the BBV community explored Peru earlier this year, we had the most immersive experience exploring Peru and Argentina in our March boxes at Atlas Book Club! We were intentional about exploring the diversity that exists within these two South American countries. Our journey to Peru took us to some historic landmarks like Machu Picchu, one of the seven wonders of the new world! After that, we explored local cuisine and even served up some ceviche on our Instagram! The fresh fish, lime, and chilies are a delight to your taste buds. We also learned about Spanish cultural influence in Latin America and the indigenous languages and customs still prevalent today!
Did you know that Peru is home to 51 indigenous communities? Of the 31 million people who live in Peru, about 80% identify as either mestizo (a person of combined indigenous and European descent) or indigenous. The Quechua and Aymara people are the largest indigenous groups left. Today, many Aymara and Quechua people have spiritual practices that combine traditional indigenous beliefs and Catholic beliefs brought over by the Spanish.
Comparatively, 95% of Argentinians are of European descent! Unlike other South American countries, Argentina has fewer indigenous people and a large population of people from Italy, Spain, and Germany. Much of the native population died from diseases brought in by Europeans in the 16th and 17th centuries. It is vital to preserving the history and presence of these indigenous cultures. Our migrators got to learn some of this diverse culture through reading!
Our Hatch migrators explored the country of Peru via the book Alma and How She Got Her Name written and illustrated by the acclaimed Juana Martinez-Neal. I love the simplicity of this story! And I especially love that it illustrates the history, heritage, and culture one’s name can hold.
Nest Jr. migrators learned about a historical Peruvian archeologist in the book Sharuko: Peruvian Archaeologist Julio C. Tello written by Monica Brown and illustrated by Elisa Chavarri. Julio C. Tello devoted his life work to learning about his history and his ancestors, the Indigenous people of Peru. Written in English and Spanish, this book gives the kids a glimpse into one of the most influential Peruvians in history.
We continued highlighting Latin American female authors and illustrators with our Nest selection! While Pam Muñoz Ryan’s Mañanaland is not specifically set in Peru, this coming-of-age story of a young boy set in a fictional South American country is reminiscent of old Inca folktales. Pam Muñoz Ryan is a masterful storyteller, and she does not disappoint here.
Every once in a while, I read a book that hits all the marks, that pierces me right in that soul spot, and even moves me to tears. Not because it is sad, but because it tracks at a steady increasingly gripping pace and climaxes in an inspiring crescendo that leaves you breathless. Furia by Yamile Saied Méndez SOARS. Set in Argentina, this love story with, and within, the game of futbol is simply magnificent. Your girls will want to be strong, fearless, and ambitious like Camila and your boys, kind, determined, and driven like Diego. This book is riveting and the story all-encompassing. You end up rooting for these two as they break generational circumstances to pursue their dreams and make their mark in the world. WOW!
I hope these books inspire you to learn more about these Latin American countries and their cultures and maybe one day take your own journey to Peru!
Have you ever made the journey to Peru? Let us know what you did and how you liked it!
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