Multicultural Book Day 2020-Book Review

Kutu: The Tiny Inca Princess/La Ñusta Diminuta is a picture book written by Mariana Llanos and illustrated by Uldarico Sarmiento. Llanos’ book was gifted to me to review for the Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2020 event (1/31/20).

Llanos’ bilingual text tells the story of Kutu and her journey to end the drought that was threatening her father’s kingdom. Kutu is born in the time of the Incas. Her mother, la Qoya, worries for her daughter because of Kutu’s size. The queen keeps Kutu safe in a bag she carries with her. One day Kutu’s father summons his council to deliver the news that a drought is destroying the city of Cusco. Kutu responds to the call for action like the rest of the people, but they reject her efforts because of her size. As a result, Kutu leaves the city’s walls and seeks out various Quechua divinities to bring rain back to her people.

Kutu’s story takes place in lands encompassed by what today is referred to as the Incan Empire. Llanos’ notes in the back pages provide specific geographical and cultural notes that describe both the past and present day inhabitants of the Peruvian city, Cusco. Llanos utilizes language connected to cultural traditions and the local environment. Especially interesting is the use of Quechua language in character dialogue. Both the story and the history included speak to the resiliency of a people that although too often invisible, never disappeared.

This book was published by Purple Corn Press. #ReadYourWorld

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