book review, Booklists, Read Around The Continents, Something To Do

Read Around the Continents: A South America Booklist

**The posts I write might contain affiliate links or be written in collaboration with businesses or brands. Please see my disclosure policy for more information.**


Welcome back to installment #2 to our Read Around The Continents series! You may remember our last journey involved exploring Africa and Africa-inspired projects like the African Library Project.

I’m happy to share that Jump into a Book and Audrey Press have chosen the African Library Project as one of their charity projects for 2013. In 2013, each time a book is purchased from Audrey Press we will donate 30% of our profits to literacy charities throughout the world.

Our next adventure is exploring South America!

South America is the fourth largest continent in size and the fifth largest in population. It is located primarily in the southern hemisphere. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the West. The geography of South America is dominated by the Andes Mountain Range and the Amazon River (second longest river in the world).

Prior to European colonization, the Incan Civilization was a dominant force in South America. In the 1500’s, Spain and Portugal colonized much of South America. The colonies gained independence in the 1800’s with the help of leaders such as Simon Bolivar and Jose de San Martin. As a result, much of South America still speaks Spanish and Portuguese is the primary language of Brazil.


With our map and library card in hand it’s time to read around the beautiful continent of South America.

Victoria Goes to Brazil by Maria de Fatima Campos


Victoria Goes to Brazil (Children Return to their Roots)

Victoria’s mother was born in Brazil, but she and her daughter live in London. Now it’s time for a visit to the country where Mom grew up. From a coffee farm to a saint’s day procession, from a street children’s shelter to a huge family barbecue, Victoria learns about her mother’s country and enjoys getting to know her large Brazilian family. Using vibrant photographs and a first-person narrative based on the fresh perceptions of a child, Victoria Goes to Brazil stimulates young imaginations by showcasing the unfamiliar yet fascinating food, clothing, customs, and culture of this colorful and diverse country.

Secrets of the Andes by Ann Nolan Clark

Secret of the Andes


The story of an Incan boy who lives in a hidden valley high in the mountains of Peru with old Chuto the llama herder. Unknown to Cusi, he is of royal blood and is the ‘chosen one.’ A compelling story.”–Booklist. Newbery Award Book.

Moon Rope: A Peruvian Folktale by Lois Ehlert



Fox wants to go to the moon. Mole does not–at least not until he hears about the huge worms waiting up there for him to eat. So the two of them set off on their adventure, with a little help from a rope of grass and their friends the birds. The bilingual text and bold art showcase Lois Ehlert at her captivating best.

You Wouldn’t want to be an Inca Mummy: A One Way Journey You’d Rather Not Make by Colin Hynson



Hanging out at the palace with the number one Inca has lots of benefits, but you don’t want to get too chummy with Sapa Inca. If you do, you’ll be expected to follow him everywhere – including his next life!

Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson



Accompanied by Miss Minton, a fierce-looking, no-nonsense governess, Maia, a young orphan, sets off for the wilderness of the Amazon, expecting curtains of orchids, brightly colored macaws, and a loving family. But what she finds is an evil-tempered aunt and uncle and their spoiled daughters. It is only when she is swept up in a mystery involving a young Indian boy, a homesick child actor, and a missing inheritance that Maia lands in the middle of the Amazon adventure she’s dreamed of. Readers of every generation will treasure Ibbotson’s lush historical adventure that harkens back to the beloved classics of Frances Hodgson Burnett and Louisa May Alcott.

Love and Roast Chicken: A Trickster Tale form the Andes by Barbara Knutson

Love and Roast Chicken


K-Gr. 3. Cuy, a clever, fast-talking guinea pig, outsmarts Tio Antonio, a hungry fox, in this lively picture book. The eye-catching colored woodcuts, which so vividly depicted the fauna and flora of the Andes Mountains in the original version, decorate this edition, which remains a delightful tale for both young Spanish speakers and learners. Isabel Schon Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Tierra Del Fuego: A Journey to the End of the Earth by Peter Lourie



Ferdinand Magellan was searching the new world for a passage to the Pacific Ocean and the riches of the East. His quest took him down the coast of South America, on an expedition that seemed doomed to failure until Magellan spied a waterway heading west. Sailing his ships onward, he passed through ominous land, where smoke from unseen fires rose high in the air. He called the land Tierra del Fuego, or “land of fire.” It was here Magellan found his passage to the Pacific and the Strait of Magellan, and where Charles Darwin later sailed the legendary Beagle. Joshua Slocum, who sailed the globe alone, outwitted pirates who lurked in coves and channels. Peter Lourie takes young readers on a journey to the island at the end of the earth that for centuries was shrouded in mystery.

Encantado: Pink Dolphin of the Amazon by Montgomery Sy



Welcome to a forest filled with water. In the wet season, the swollen Amazon becomes a looking glass into another world, where pink dolphins swim like something from a dream. In Peru they are called bufeo colorado—the ruddy dolphin. Their color ranges from white to gray to a vivid pink. These astonishing mammals, actually river-dwelling whales, easily navigate their way through the complex, hazardous world of the Amazon rain forest. Encantado invites readers on the adventure of a lifetime as we travel into one of the world’s most lush and beautiful jungles in search of these magical creatures. Our guides include scientists and researchers as well as the local people, who have lived with the encantados—the enchanted ones—literally at their doorsteps for centuries. Our main guides are the dolphins themselves. They lead us into myth. They take us back in time to a prehistoric era. They alone can show us the depth of the Amazon’s beauty, diversity, and magic—and help us to keep our planet rich and whole.

Cooking the South American Way by Helga Parnell



Introduces the history, land, and food of the countries of South America, and includes recipes for such dishes as black bean casserole from Brazil, beef soup from Argentina, and almond meringue from Chile.

Mariana and the Merchild: A Folk Tale from Chili by Caroline Pitcher.


1Old Mariana longs for friendship, but she is feared by the village children and fearful of the hungry sea-wolves that hide in the sea-caves near her hut. When one day Marianna finds a Merchild inside a crab shell her whole life changes- but she knows that one day, when the sea is calm again, the Merchild’s mother will come to take her back. A memorable story of unconditional love, this poetic retelling of a traditional South American folk tale beautifully conveys the joy that may come if you open your heart to what you cannot keep.

The Dreamer by Pam Munoz Ryan

The Dreamer


Winner of the 2011 Pure Belpre Award for fiction now in an elegant paperback edition!

From the time he is a young boy, Neftali hears the call of a mysterious voice. He knows he must follow it–even when the neighborhood children taunt him, and when his harsh, authoritarian father ridicules him, and when he doubts himself. It leads him under the canopy of the lush rain forest, into the fearsome sea, and through the persistent Chilean rain, until finally, he discovers its source.

Combining elements of magical realism with biography, poetry, literary fiction, and sensorial, transporting illustrations, Pam Muñoz Ryan and Peter Sís take readers on a rare journey of the heart and imagination.


Amazon Diary by Hudson Talbott

The Amazon Diary


The handwritten diary of a twelve-year-old boy offers readers a perspective on the Yanomami tribe that takes him in when his plane crashes, a story that follows such adventures as Alex’s participation in the rescue of a kidnapped girl.

Inca, Aztec, Maya (DK Eyewitness Book)


Now reissued with a CD and wall chart! Eyewitness: Aztec, Inca & Maya is a spectacular and informative guide to the rise and fall of the pre-Columbian cultures of the Aztecs, Incas, and Mayas, who built vast empires and left behind a legacy of mystery and wonder. Amazing color photographs offer children a unique “eyewitness” view of these incredible civilizations.

The Great Snake: Stories from the Amazon by Sean Taylor

The Great Snake


As the Rio Afuá ferry wends its way along the Amazon, Sean Taylor takes in not only the sights and sounds of this extraordinary landscape but also the stories of the people he meets. From sly jaguars and the slowest of sloths to spine-tingling giant serpents and white-suited strangers, his retellings teem with legendary beings, vivid color, earthy comedy, and the mysteries of the rainforest. Together, with Fernando Vilela’s dramatic, color-saturated illustrations, they reveal the Amazon people’s’ beliefs and way of life. Notes and a glossary provide additional information about the region.


Saturday Sancocho by Leyla Torees



Every Saturday, Maria Lili looks forward to making chicken sancocho with her grandparents Mama Ana and Papa Angelino. But one Saturday they discover that there is nothing in the house except eggs, and Maria Lili wonders how they will ever be able to have their favorite meal. Mama Ana has a plan, though, and taking the eggs with her, she invites Maria Lili to come to the market. Somehow, Mama Ana has a way to make chicken sancocho with eggs, and Maria Lili can’t wait to find out how.Bold, cheerful watercolors evoke the busy atmosphere of the village markets of Central and South America. Also included in the book is a recipe for chicken sancocho from the author’s family.

Indestructibles: Old MacDonald has a Farm by Jonas Sickler

Old MacDonald Had a Farm


The title is adapted from classic nursery rhymes and illustrated by Jonas Sickler. Sickler’s paintings are whimsical and fun, filled with dazzling textures and eye-popping color. They will grab and keep a baby’s attention, and delight adults. The book offers a multicultural twist on a classic nursery rhyme — Old MacDonald Has a Farm, set in Bolivia is full of llamas, alpacas, sheep, and cows. The text for the nursery rhyme is printed on the back cover.

The Inca (True Books: American Indians) by Stefanie Takacs



Grade 2–5—These fascinating cultures are outlined for young readers with care and precision. Although the gorier features of each culture are largely avoided, a reasonably complete picture of each people’s history and culture is presented. Loaded with access points such as captions, pull-outs, a time line, and a map, and with better-than-usual reproductions of well-chosen primary sources and art, the books sport a bright, peppy design. The authors are careful to use or at least make note of proper nomenclature—Maloy uses the phrase “ancient Maya” (rather than simply “Maya”) throughout, an important distinction that is often overlooked. These books are rigorous in distinguishing fact from theory, and conscientious about presenting competing theories where they exist. These are the best books on their subjects for this age group.—Paula Willey, Baltimore County Public Library, Towson, MD Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

City of Beasts by Isabel Allende, Margaret Sayers Peden

City of Beasts


Equal parts magical realism and deft political commentary, City of the Beasts, the first novel of Isabel Allende’s page-turning adventure trilogy, takes young Alexander Cold on an adventure in the Amazon to find the legendary Beast and its home, El Dorado. Available in trade paperback for the first time, this exciting coming-of-age novel from Allende, acclaimed author of The Sum of Our Days and The House of the Spirits, is an “Indiana Jones-style adventure packed with daring feats, monster-like beings, intrigue, and mystery.

The Good Garden: How One Family Went from Hunger to Having Enough by Katie Smith Melway, Sylvie Daigneault

The Good Garden


From the best-selling author of One Hen comes the inspiring story of one struggling farming family in Honduras and their journey to growing enough food to meet their needs. Based on the real story of farm transformation underway in Honduras and many other countries, this book offers children ways they can be part of the movement to grow “good gardens” and foster food security. Eleven-year-old Mar?a Luz and her family live on a small farm. This year their crop is poor, and they may not have enough to eat or to sell for other essentials, such as health care, school uniforms and books. When Mar?a’s father must leave home to find work, she is left in charge of their garden. Then a new teacher comes to Mar?a’s school and introduces her to sustainable farming practices that yield good crops. As Mar?a begins to use the same methods at home, she too sees improvements, which allow her family to edge their way out of the grip of the greedy “coyotes” — the middlemen who make profits on the backs of poor farmers. Little by little, the farms — and the hopes — of Mar?a and her neighbors are transformed as good gardens begin to grow.

The Maya (True Books: American Indians) by Stefanie Taylor

The Maya


Ideal for today’s young investigative reader, each A True Book includes lively sidebars, a glossary and index, plus a comprehensive “To Find Out More” section listing books, organizations, and Internet sites. A staple of library collections since the 1950s, the new A True Book series is the definitive nonfiction series for elementary school readers.

Up and Down the Andes by Laurie Krebs, Aurelia Fronth

Up and Down the Andes

This rhyming text takes readers from Lake Titicaca all the way to the city of Cusco for the marvelous Inti Raymi festival. They’ll meet children from many areas of southern Peru who are traveling to the festival, each using a different mode of transportation. Includes useful notes on the history and culture of Peru.

Biblioburro: A True Story from Columbia by Jeanette Winter



Luis loves to read, but soon his house in Colombia is so full of books there’s barely room for the family. What to do? Then he comes up with the perfect solution–a traveling library! He buys two donkeys–Alfa and Beto–and travels with them throughout the land, bringing books and reading to the children in faraway villages. Beautiful!Complete with an author’s note about the real man on whom this story is based.

The Most Beautiful Place in the World by Ann Cameron


“Seven-year-old Juan lives in Guatemala, a place of stunning beauty and grim economic reality. Abandoned by his mother, Juan lives with his grandmother and shines shoes. He passionately wants to attend school, but fears Grandmother will say no. Finally gathering his courage, he is surprised when she not only agrees to send him to school but also chides him about the importance of standing up for himself. Juan tells this bittersweet story, which reads smoothly and powerfully on several levels, with warmth and dignity.”–Booklist.  

The Littlest Llama by Jane Buxton and Jenny Coope



The littlest llama has a problem—one that every child will understand. He’s eager to wrestle, jump, and chase all day, but there’s no friend nearby who wants to play.
“…the grown-up llamas had work to do. They had food to find and cud to chew…There was no one to play with the littlest llama.
No one had time, not even his mama.”

So the dejected little guy sets off without a goodbye in search of a playful pal. Soon he’s crossing the ridges and bridges of the high altiplano where he lives. But is he going too far? And who will he find?
The charming Andean-themed art features soft and gentle hues, as well as beautiful page borders that look like traditional weavings. Plus, they turn llama’s journey into a fun game, as kids try to locate the rattlesnake, chinchilla, cougar, and other animals in the images. A preoccupied llama may not notice them—but children will find the varied and unusual creatures irresistible.
The satisfying ending will delight everyone, and every child will relate to llama’s desire for a playmate and joy at a new sibling.

Dead-weather and Sunrise: The chronicles of Egg, Book 1 by Geoff Rodkey



Deadweather and Sunrise is an action-packed debut novel of adventure, friendship, and self-discovery–oh, and did I mention there are pirates? Thirteen year old Egbert Masterson–Egg–is a book loving, intelligent 13-year-old with a big heart and a nose for hidden treasure. While Egg’s life has a lot of reason for despair, he takes his lumps in stride and discovers that “…not everyone who lives on a pretty street is a good person, and that in even the rottenest places you might find someone you can trust with your life.” With suitably gruesome pirate bits, endearing characters, surprising twists, and a delightful quirkiness, Deadweather and Sunrise has all the makings of a breakout new middle grade series. –Seira WilsonBrazil (True Books) by Tara Walters

We’re Roaming the Rainforest by Laurie Krebs and Anne Wilson



The Umbrella by Jan Brett


A walk through the Costa Rican cloud forest provides a wonderfully lush setting for Jan Brett’s beloved animal illustrations. When Carlos drops his umbrella to climb a tree for a better view of the animals, they all cram into the banana-leaf umbrella as it floats by–from the little tree frog to the baby tapir to the big jaguar and more. It gets so crowded in the umbrella that there isn’t even enough room for a little hummingbird! So over the umbrella tumbles, everyone falls out, and poor Carlos comes back wondering why he didn’t see any animals all day.
In the spirit of Jan Brett’s The Mitten and The Hat, this cheerful tale of escalation will have readers poring over every illustration for the world of details Jan packs in. With its classic story, exotic jungle setting, and brilliantly colorful menagerie, The Umbrella is sure to take its place among Jan’s many family favorites.

The Rainforest Grew all Around by Susan Mitchell

The Rainforest Grew all Around

Imaginations will soar from the forest floor, up through the canopy and back down again, following the circle of life in this clever adaptation of the song, The Green Grass Grew All Around. The jungle comes alive as children learn about a wide variety of the animals (jaguars, emerald tree boas, leafcutter ants, sloths, poison dart frogs, toucans, and bats) and plants (kapok trees, liana vines, and bromeliads) living in the lush Amazon rainforest. Delve even deeper into the jungle using sidebars and the three-page For Creative Minds educational section.

Slowly, Slowly, Slowly, By Eric Carle



Slowly, slowly, slowly?that?s the way the sloth moves. slowly, it eats and then, slowly, it falls asleep. what strange kind of creature is this? the other animals wonder. why doesn?t it run or fly or play or hunt like the rest of us? ?why are you so slow?? the howler monkey inquires. but the sloth doesn?t answer any questions until the jaguar asks, ?why are you so lazy?? Anyone who has ever felt too busy will appreciate the sloth?s peaceful lifestyle and realize that it?s okay to take time to enjoy life. Eric Carle’s dazzling collage illustrations introduce readers to the exotic beauty of the Amazon rain forest and the many unusual animals living there.

The Great Kapok Tree: A Tale of the Amazon by Lynne Cherry



The author and artist Lynne Cherry journeyed deep into the rain forests of Brazil to write and illustrate her gorgeous picture book The Great Kapok Tree: A Tale of the Amazon Rain Forest (1990). One day, a man exhausts himself trying to chop down a giant kapok tree. While he sleeps, the forest’s residents, including a child from the Yanomamo tribe, whisper in his ear about the importance of trees and how “all living things depend on one another” . . . and it works. Cherry’s lovingly rendered colored pencil and watercolor drawings of all the “wondrous and rare animals” evoke the lush rain forests, and the stunning endpapers feature world maps bordered by tree porcupines, emerald tree boas, and dozens more fascinating creatures.
Awards: IRA Teacher’s Choice (1991), ABA’s Pick of the Lists, Reading Rainbow Review Book, NSTA-CBC Outstanding Trade Book for Children

South American books for kids


One More Thing

COMING SOON! The much-anticipated sequel to JIAB intern, Hannah Rials’ runaway YA hit, Ascension. Book Two in the Ascension series is Clandestine and its already bringing in raves reviews.

“Gripping until the very end.”Scott Reintgen, author of Nyxia

“Dark, surprising, and full of twists, the Ascension series is a delectable addition to vampire canon. Rials paints a rich and engrossing world of vampires, half-vampires witches– each with their own agenda. Cheyenne’s struggle to be free is one that every girl will recognize, and I rooted for her as she bristled against the roles cast for her by society. It’s the story of a girl yearning to come into her own powers, powers both frightening and beautiful.” ~Maggie Thrash, author of L.A. Times Book Prize nominee Honor Girl

Clandestine by Hannah Rials
Cheyenne Lane never believed it could come to this—imprisoned by her own family, who are plotting to overthrow the vampire Council. Ripped away from the happiness of her summer romance and friendship in New Orleans, Cheyenne is forced to begin her education at Clandestine, the secret Deuxsang University, one year early.
She is guarded constantly, separated from her best friend Anne, and desperate for any word from Eli and the witches. Meanwhile, her cousin Lilith has discovered that Cheyenne possesses all four vampiric abilities—unheard of for a Deuxsang—and intends to use her in the Ascending’s rebellious scheme.
At 17, Cheyenne finds herself the center of a centuries-old conspiracy involving the vampires, Deuxsang, and witches, and everyone is telling her who she should trust and what she should do. Her head is too full of voices and opinions, and it’s time for Cheyenne to make up her own mind.
Is she ready to step into the role she was made for? Who can she trust? Who is her friend and who is her enemy? Is she really a born leader? All questions that only she can answer. As the information and scenario gets more confusing, she knows she must listen to her intuition if she is going to shift the truth from all the lies.

Pre-order Clandestine HERE (release date: July 21, 2018)

6 thoughts on “Read Around the Continents: A South America Booklist

  1. I LOVE “Journey to the River Sea”. It was one of my favorite books as a young girl. This post could not have had better timing, because I just reread it about a week ago! It still holds the same magic that I felt when I was younger. Love the book and Eva Ibbotson’s books in general.

Comments are closed.