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South American Countries – Picture Books

November 16, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

Picture books which take place in specific South American nations.
Argentina ; Bolivia ; Brazil ; Chile ; Colombia ; Ecuador ; Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) ; French Guiana ; Guyana ; Paraguay ; Peru ; South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands ; Suriname ; Uruguay ; Venezuela



Ghost Hands: A Story Inspired by Patagonia’s Cave of the Hands by T. A. Barron (Philomel, 2011)
Auki, a young member of the Tehuelche tribe in Patagonia, wants to prove himself as a hunter but when he sets out on his own to face the puma, he stumbles upon a sacred cave and its guardian.

The Blacksmith and the Devils by Maria Cristina Brusca (Holt 1992) 16
In this Argentine version of a Hispanic folktale, a blacksmith makes a deal with the devil to extend his youth and good fortune.

On the Pampas by Maria Cristina Brusca (Holt 1991) 46
NONFICTION. An account of a little girl’s idyllic summer at her grandparents’ ranch on the pampas of Argentina. Sequel: “My Mama’s Little Ranch on the Pampas.”

Gauchada by C. Drew Lamm (Knopf 2002) 32*
A necklace is lovingly passed from one person to another, travelling much farther than the Argentine gaucho who made it will ever go.

The Magic Bean Tree: A Legend From Argentina by Nancy Van Laan (Houghton Mifflin 1998) 39*
FOLKLORE. A young Quechuan boy sets out on his own to bring the rains back to his parched homeland and is rewarded by a gift of carob beans that come to be prized across Argentina.


I’m Jose and I’m Okay: Three Stories From Bolivia by Werner Holzwarth (Kane/Miller 1999) 2
A scrappy eleven-year-old orphan works hard at his uncle’s tire repair shop and proves himself at work and in a bicycle race.

Waira’s First Journey by Eusebio Topooco (Lothrop, Lee & Shepard, 1993) 16*
An Aymara Indian girl has many new experiences and learns more about the history of her people as she and her parents make the long journey from their home in the mountains of Bolivia to the market in Topojo.


The Dancing Turtle: A Folktale from Brazil by Pleasant Despain (August House 1998) 19*
FOLKLORE. After being caught by a hunter, a clever turtle uses her wits and her talent playing the flute to trick the hunter’s children into helping her escape.

How Night Came From the Sea: A Story From Brazil by Mary Joan Gerson (Joy Street 1994) 38
FOLKLORE. An adaptation of a Brazilian tale explaining how night came to the land of daylight, bringing rest and refreshment to living things.

Amazon Boy by Ted Lewin (Macmillan 1993) 23
As a Brazilian boy makes his first trip up the Amazon to the port city of Belém, he learns something about the river’s many treasures.

When the Rivers Go Home by Ted Lewin (Macmillan 1992) 17*
NONFICTION. Describes life in the marsh in Brazil known as the Pantanal or “drowned forest.”

Amazon River Rescue by Amanda Lumry (Eaglemont 2004) 12
Nine-year-old Riley visits a rainforest in Brazil near the Amazon River while his scientist uncle is on assignment there.

Nina Bonita: A Story by Ana Maria Machado (Kane/Miller 1996) 17
Enchanted by Nina Bonita’s black skin, a white rabbit determines to find a way to have children as beautiful and black as she is.

So Say the Little Monkeys by Nancy Van Laan (Atheneum 1998) 100*
FOLKLORE. A  rhyming retelling of an Indian folktale from Brazil about tiny, playful monkeys and why they have no place to call home.


Ghost Hands: A Story Inspired by Patagonia’s Cave of the Hands by T. A. Barron (Philomel 2011) 0
Auki, a young member of the Tehuelche tribe in Patagonia, wants to prove himself as a hunter but when he sets out on his own to face the puma, he stumbles upon a sacred cave and its guardian.

Land of the Wild Llama: A Story of the Patagonian Andes by Audrey Fraggalosch (Soundprints 2002) 10
In the Andes, where herds of guanacos (wild ancestors of the llama) make their home, Chulengo is born and grows up to be on his own.

A Hen, a Chick, and a String Guitar by Margaret Read MacDonald (Barefoot Books 2005) 33*
FOLKLORE. A cumulative tale from Chile that begins with a hen and ends with sixteen different animals and a guitar.

Mariana and the Merchild: A Folk Tale from Chile by Caroline Pitcher (Eerdmans, 2000) 45*
FOLKLORE. A childless old woman is given a merbaby to raise until the child can safely return to the sea.

A Pen Pal for Max by Gloria Rand (Holt 2005) 28

The young son of a Chilean farmer writes a note asking for a “faraway friend,” and places it in a box of grapes bound for the United States.


Mia’s Story: A Sketchbook of Hopes and Dreams by Michael Foreman (Candlewick 2006) 34
While looking for her beloved puppy, Poco, one winter day, young Mia discovers how beautiful the world can be, as well as a way to make her own village of Campamento San Francisco more lovely and her family’s life easier.

Biblioburro: A True Story from Colombia by Jeanette Winter (Beach Lane 2010) 41*
NONFICTION. Luis has so many books in his little house in Colombia that he buys two donkeys and travels throughout the land bringing the joy of reading to children.


Ada’s Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay by Susan Hood (Simon & Schuster 2016)
NONFICTION. Tells the true tale of an orchestra made up of children playing instruments built from recycled trash called the ‘Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay.


The Thunder God’s Son: A Peruvian Folktale by Ariane Dewey (Greenwillow, 1981)
FOLKLORE. The son of the thunder god comes to earth and teaches the greedy rich man’s family a lesson.

Carolina’s Gift: A Story of Peru by Katacha Diaz (Soundprints 2002) 2
On market day, Carolina, a young Peruvian girl, goes with her mother to the plaza for a very special task: finding a birthday gift for her abuelita, or grandmother. Also includes information about Peru and the tradition of the Sunday market.

Tonight is Carnaval by Arthur Dorros (Dutton 1991) 33
A family in South America eagerly prepares for the excitement of Carnaval.

Moon Rope: A Peruvian Folktale by Lois Ehlert (Harcourt 1992) 155*
FOLKLORE. An adaptation of the Peruvian folktale in which Fox and Mole try to climb to the moon on a rope woven of grass.

Zorro and Quwi: Tales of a Trickster Guinea Pig by Rebecca Hickox (Doubleday 1997) 33
FOLKLORE. A retelling of the Peruvian folktale in which the deceptions of a guinea pig save it from a hungry fox.

The Voyage of Poppykettle by Robert R. Ingpen (Minedition 2005) 7
A community of tiny fishermen called the Hairy Peruvians leaves home to escape the fierce Shining Spaniards, sails a teakettle across the ocean, and makes a new home in a faraway land.

Up and Down the Andes: A Peruvian Festival Tale by Laurie Krebbs (Barefoot Books 2008) 26*
NONFICTION. Readers join children from many areas of southern Peru who are using different forms of transportation to travel to the Inti Raymi festival in the city of Cusco.

Miro in the Kingdom of the Sun by Jane Kurtz (Houghton Mifflin 1996) 23
FOLKLORE. A young Inca girl succeeds where her brothers and others have failed, when her bird friends help her find the special water that will cure the king’s son.

Lost City: The Discovery of Machu Picchu by Ted Lewin (Philomel 2003) 66*
NONFICTION. In 1911, Yale professor Hiram Bingham discovers a lost Incan city with the help of a young Peruvian boy.

Patterns in Peru: An Adventure in Patterning by Cindy Neuschwander (Henry Holt 2007) 9
NONFICTION. After getting separated from their parents, Matt and Bibi follow the patterns on an ancient tunic which leads them to the Lost City of Quwi.

The Good Llama: A Picture Story from Peru by Anne F. Rockwell (World Pub., 1968) 13*
FOLKLORE. An Inca legend describing how people and animals survived the great flood that forced the sun to share the sky with the moon.

The Pied Piper of Peru by Ann Tompert (Boyds Mills, 2002) 15
NONFICTION. The legend of Martin de Porres, and how he rids a monastery of mice.


I Lost My Arrow in a Kankan Tree by Noni Lichtveld (Lothrop 1993) 0
Jakóno’s lost arrow leads to good fortune in this cumulative story set in Surinam.


Jaguar by Helen Cowcher (Scholastic 1997) 36
Intending to protect his cattle, a Venezuelan cowboy tracks a jaguar, but is unable to kill it. Presents information about the jaguar, its habitat, and the relationship between it and humans.

The Streets are Free by Kurusa (Annick 1995) 4
mayor promises to build a playground, but the children quickly realize that they will have to make it themselves. The book is based on the true story of the children of the barrio of San Jose de la Urbina in Caracas.

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