Carolina’s Gift: A Story of Peru
Written by Katacha Diaz
Illustrated by Gredna Landolt
Soundprints, 2002, 32pp.
It’s Sunday and Carolina travels with her mother to the market at the plaza of Pisac, a village in the Andes Mountains of Peru. Monday is Abuelita’s birthday and Carolina is determined to find the perfect gift to give her. To the festive sounds of flutes and pipes, Carolina searches through stalls selling flowers, hats, birds, blankets, purses, ponchos, and other items. None of them, though, is just right for Abuelita. Then Carolina spies the perfect gift…a walking stick with a hummingbird carved on the handle. Carolina knows that Abuelita can use the walking stick to go with her and her mother to the market in the future. Carolina happily pays the wood-carver. When she gives the walking stick at the birthday celebration, Abuelita is thrilled!
This touching story shows a young girl’s love for her family, especially her grandmother. Though other items Carolina saw were nice, she only wanted what was perfect for her grandmother and searched until she found it. The love, joy, and warmth of the whole family are evident in the illustrations.
Carolina’s Gift invites readers to experience the bustling market of a Peruvian village. Each page turn is a double page spread that draws readers into displays of food, pottery, clothing, and other market products that provide a rich glimpse into this culture. The bright saturated colors and patterns in the art add to the feelings of joy and love throughout the story.
Both author Katacha Diaz and illustrator Gredna Landolt drew on their personal experiences in Peruvian culture. While Diaz currently lives in the United States, she grew up in a suburb of Lima, Peru. Landolt was born and still lives in Lima. Following the story the book provides a map and information about Peru, a note about the Sunday market, and a list of Spanish words woven through the story that readers might hear spoken in Peru today.
This book would work well in a text set related to markets around the world. Other books in this text set might include: How Much?: Visiting Markets Around the World (Ted Lewin, 2006), Grandma and Me at the Flea: Los Meros Meros Remateros (Juan Felipe Herrera, 2002), and To Market! To Market! (Anushka Ravishankar & Emanuele Scanziani, 2007).
Prisca Martens, Towson University, Towson, Maryland, USA