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Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

Stories from the Peruvian Andes

multicultural-children's-literature/ kuisikiy-Peru

A little boy, Kusikiy, on the island of Taquile in Lake Titicaca Peru has a concern. “I am worried the birds are not singing and the trees are sad” because it has not rained. The rainy season starts when the Llama Constellation travels above Taquile Island so Kusikiy endeavors to find a way to help the Llama Constellation find its way back to Taquile’s sky.


Kusikiy A Child from Taquile, Peru by author and illustrator Mercedes Cecilia weaves together a story about living in harmony with the environment as well as family: the island “is so quiet you can hear potatoes grow under the earth and the voices of mothers whispering Quechua* songs to the babies they carry on their backs.” The synergy between the island’s inhabitants and the environment—from the animals to the stars—animates every page of the book.  “Mothers know the secrets of the waters and the kindness of the Sun.”


Kusikiy introduces readers to a new culture, through a playful story and vibrant illustrations. Through knowledge of a new culture, children begin to conceptualize the world in different ways. Instead of standard stories picturing Mom in the kitchen or Dad arriving home from work, Kusikiy’s great-grandfather is the Keeper of Wisdom and Peace on the island and his mother a weaver.  The book unfolds in a traditional storybook manner with plenty to capture children’s imaginations: Kuisikiy flies on the wings of a condor to make an offering of quinoa and potatoes to APU, the Spirit of the Great Glacier, to ask for rain.


The end of the book is full of interesting tidbits to share with your kids about many of the concepts presented in the book. “In the community of Taquile, oral tradition, working together, and ritual are the ways to transmit wisdom.” We also learn how the Yacana, the Quechua word for the Llama Constellation, is one of the most important groups of stars to the people of the highlands of Peru. The eyes of the llama are the brightest stars in the constellations of Orion.


* The Andean mountains, where these stories take place, are home to many traditional cultures, including the Quechua, whose language is also Quechua. The number of Quechua speakers in Peru is estimated at four and a half million, approximately 19 percent of the total Peruvian population (with more found in Ecuador, Bolivia and other parts of South America). Some regions, like the one included in Kusikiy, are predominantly Quechua-speaking.


Looking for more good children’s books on Peru? Another great Peruvian story, which we love because it comes in both Spanish or English is Up and Down the Andes (Spanish translation: Sube y Baja por los Andes) by Laurie Krebs (published by the fantastic multicultural kids book publisher Barefoot Books). The lyrical book features another Andean Peruvian festival the Inti Raymi, the Inca New Year.

© 2011 – 2013, Stephanie Meade. All rights reserved.

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Stephanie is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of InCultureParent. She has two Moroccan-American daughters (ages 5 and 6), whom she is raising, together with her husband, bilingual in Arabic and English at home, while also introducing Spanish. After many moves worldwide, she currently lives in Berkeley, California.

Leave us a comment!

  1. CommentsMercedes Cecilia   |  Friday, 01 July 2011 at 7:06 am

    Dear Stephanie,
    Thank you so much for reviewing and sharing my book with all your global family. I was so happy when you emailed me, What a great surprise ! I admire your dedication to help us expand our hearts and minds as parents, so we can offer our children and all children the greatest gift, living in a world in peace with each other, and enjoying each others cultures. I am from Peru a mother also, my daughter born and raised part time in Venezuela, Peru and USA, married in Venezuela, my grandson 12 years old is bilingual also, and soon will visit the home of his ancestors, the Andes of Peru
    Thank you again Stephanie,
    Mercedes Cecilia

  2. CommentsBook Giveaway: Kusikiy A Child from Taquile, Peru by Mercedes Cecilia | InCultureParent   |  Thursday, 14 July 2011 at 2:54 pm

    […] this great book for your kids Kusikiy A Child from Taquile, Peru by author and illustrator Mercedes Cecilia. Leave us a comment telling us something you know about […]

  3. CommentsMercedes Cecilia   |  Monday, 18 July 2011 at 7:05 pm

    Dear Stephanie, Thank you so much for the gift of sharing my book with your friends, if you think is good you can share with them this page also. Is the page for Kusikiy book, in FB and it has lots of information.

    Thank you again , many blessings, Mercedes

  4. CommentsKusikiy: A Child from Taquile, Peru by Mercedes Cecilia {Giveaway} | Bicultural Mom™   |  Wednesday, 04 January 2012 at 8:06 am

    […] Read another great review of this book InCultureParent. […]

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