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Sharuko: El Arqueólogo Peruano Julio C. Tello / Peruvian…

de Monica Brown

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This book, told in both English and Spanish on adjoining pages, tells the story of Julio Tello, born in Peru in 1880. Julio came from an Indigenous Quechua-speaking family. The nickname Julio acquired as a child, “Sharuko,” is the Quechua word for “brave.” He loved to explore the caves and burial grounds he found in the foothills of the Andes. The author writes: “Nothing scared Sharuko, not even the skulls he and his brothers uncovered in ancient tombs.”

Julio did well in school, and his aunt helped pay for him to further his education in Lima. He also worked side jobs to help pay. One of them was in a surgeon’s office, and what he learned there inspired him to study medicine at the university. Furthermore, he decided to devote his medical skills to the study of the Indigenous history of Peru.

After graduating, Julio came to the US to attend Harvard University and study anthropology and archaeology. He eventually returned to Peru to work as an archaeologist at the Museum of Natural History in Lima. He also discovered an archaeological site helping prove that the Indigenous Peruvian culture at Chavin had not been imported from elsewhere, but was native to his ancestors. He found similar evidence at an Indigenous Paracas site.

Julio died in 1947. The author observes: “He was the first and greatest Indigenous archaeologist of Peru, and he is still beloved by Peruvians.”

The book concludes with an Afterword by the author, an Illustrator’s Note, and a list of sources.

The author, as well as illustrator Elisa Chavarri, are both Peruvian Americans. Brown stated in an interview that “this project was very personal to us; we were both committed to representing Peruvian history and a great Peruvian hero in the way he deserved.”

Chavarri used brightly colored watercolor and gouache paintings with backgrounds that include Indigenous images and motifs from the art and artifacts discovered by Julio Tello..

Evaluation: Most archeological information for American audiences comes from discoveries in the Middle East. This book provides a nice contrast, as well as a broader perspective about where the world’s knowledge comes from. ( )
  nbmars | Jul 3, 2021 |
Intermediate; Biography; Informational; This is a great story about a young boy who loves the history of his Peruvian culture and wants to hold onto it. He attends school and studies the archeology of Peru, getting many jobs throughout his life. He was determined to learn about and share his culture and background and was called Sharuko which means brave. This is a great story for young kids with strong passions or cultural ties. ( )
  MaggieRemy | Apr 1, 2021 |
Primary-Int. This book tells the story of archaeologist, Julio C. Tello. He was one of the very first Peruvians to study the indigenous history of Peru, his story is amazing and really shares love and amazement for the indigenous peoples of Peru and South America. Excellent for history, biography, or just to have around.
  sarahcasimes | Mar 20, 2021 |
Great history ( )
  melodyreads | Jan 29, 2021 |
This is an incredibly cool picture book biography about Peruvian archaeologist Julian C. Tello, a.k.a. Sharuko ("brave" in Quechua), who was born in Perú in 1880. He studied archaeology and made many discoveries, proving that Indigenous cultures were older than anyone had thought.

Text is in both English and Spanish.

Back matter includes a photograph, afterword, illustrator's note, and author's sources. Facing the title page is a map of Perú.

From the Afterword:
"Many archaeologists have also interpreted ancient Indigenous cultures through an exclusively Western lens. Julian C. Tello made it his life's work to change this dynamic. As an Indigenous Peruvian and Quechua speaker, he told the story of Peru's past from a Native perspective."

See also: My Name is Gabriela ( )
  JennyArch | Dec 27, 2020 |
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