Written By: Monica Brown
Illustrated by: Elisa Chavarri
For Ages: 4-8 years
Language: Bilingual: Spanish & English
Topics Covered: Biography, Indigenous Voices, Peruvian Culture & Identity, Archaeology, Own Voices.
Summary: This gorgeous bilingual picture book is all about the life and accomplishments of Julio “Sharuko” Tello, the first Indigenous Peruvian archaeologist! Julio was born in 1880 outside of Lima, and his family spoke Quechua, the language that was spoken by the Incan Empire and remains the language of many Native Peruvians today. His nickname was Sharuko because it meant ‘brave’ in Quechua!
Sharuko went to live with his aunt in Lima to get a better education, and held lots of odd jobs to pay his tuition (even as a teenager), eventually going to medical school. In the library one day Sharuko found an article talking about some skulls he and his brother had found as children, and decided to devote his medical knowledge to studying Indigenous history in Peru. Julio went on to make groundbreaking discoveries until his death in 1947, and is remembered and beloved today as the first (and arguably greatest) Indigenous Peruvian archeologist.
This book is beautifully illustrated, and I learned so much! I’ve always been fascinated by archaeology and had never heard of Julio before. I am so glad that a book was written about him, and the way the story centers around Sharuko’s reverence and pride for Indigenous culture. There is additional information in the back, and a photo of him (which I always appreciate in a biography.)
This book was kindly sent by Lee & Low Books, but all opinions are my own.
Monica Brown is the author of the LOLA LEVINE chapter book series, SARAI chapter book series and many award-winning picture books including Waiting for the Biblioburro (illus by John Parra, Random House), Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match/Marisol McDonald no combina (illus by Sara Palacios, Lee & Low), and Maya’s Blanket/La manta de Maya (illus by David Diaz, Lee & Low). Her picture book biographies include Tito Puente: Mambo King/ Tito Puente: Rey del mambo (illus by Rafael López, HarperCollins), and Pablo Neruda: Poet of the People (illus by Julie Paschikas, Holt). Her latest picture book Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos (illus by John Parra, NorthSouth) was named a New York Times Best Illustrated Book of 2017 and 2018 Pura Belpré Honor for Illustration. Monica’s books have received multiple starred reviews, Pura Belpré Honors, Américas Awards, as well as an NCTE Orbis Pictus Honor for best nonfiction and The Christopher Award, among many others.
Elisa Chavarri is a freelance illustrator originally from Lima, Peru. She did much of her growing up in Northern Michigan where she now resides with her husband, 6yr old Lucia, and 3yr old Marcel.
Elisa graduated with honors from The Savannah College of Art and Design, where she majored in Classical Animation and minored in Comics.