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Secret of the Andes
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Secret of the Andes

3.53 of 5 stars 3.53  ·  rating details  ·  3,064 ratings  ·  140 reviews
An Indian boy who tends llamas in a hidden valley in Peru learns the traditions and secrets of his Inca ancestors.
Paperback, 128 pages
Published October 28th 1976 by Puffin Books (first published 1952)
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The Giver by Lois LowryHoles by Louis SacharA Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'EngleNumber the Stars by Lois LowryBridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
The Most Deserving Newbery
87th out of 106 books — 2,332 voters
The Giver by Lois LowryA Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'EngleHoles by Louis SacharNumber the Stars by Lois LowryBridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
Newbery Medal Winner Books
81st out of 94 books — 271 voters

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This is the book that famously won the Newbery over Charlotte's Web, and was that ever a travesty. I can accept that a certain number of books will be dull reading for me, but this isn't even well written--there are a number of places where the main character says or thinks things that don't make any sense for him; for example, if the only person he's ever known is the old man who's raised him, would he really call him "the old Indian" in his head?

This definitely goes at the bottom of my Newbery
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Secret of the Andes is a quiet story of an Inca boy growing up in the mountains of Peru, raising llamas. This boy, Cusi, knows little of his past, and has no home other than the mountains, no family outside his elderly mentor and his llamas.

Time passes and Cusi knows he must leave the mountain, leave his llamas, leave his mentor, and go to the city to seek out his heart’s desire. Will he find this heart’s desire? And, if he does, will it be what he thought it would be? A wonderful little story
This story of a young llama herder who must leave the valley where he grew up to find his heart's desire has a surprisingly mystical quality for a children's book and offers a mysterious plot that kept me intrigued in spite of its somewhat dry writing style. For those young readers who wish to pick up this 1953 Newbery winner, I'd recommend they first learn a little about the Incas and the Spanish conquest of their empire.
Rachel Driscoll
"The Secret of the Andes" by Ann Nolan Clark is a beautifully woven tale that draws the reader into the rarified, secret world of mountain-dwelling Incan people. Young Cusi, an Incan boy, lives high in the Andes with elderly Chuto. Together they raise and tend their large llama herd. Cusi has never known another life, but longs for a family to call his own. Chuto sends him to a local town to trade their yarn, and it is Cusi's first time mingling with others. He sees his first vehicle and makes h ...more
Carl Nelson
1953 Newbery Medal recipient.

"Secret of the Andes" is probably fated to be known forever more as the book that beat "Charlotte's Web" for the Newbery. Obviously time has rendered its judgment on that issue…

I have such mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, it's a beautiful story that conveys an mysterious and ancient culture. On the other had, it's a poorly written tome that is written in such a manner as to lure the reader to total disengagement:

"Slowly Cusi felt happiness fill his b
Miz Lizzie
This is the book that famously won the 1953 Newbery the year Charlotte's Web snagged only a Newbery Honor. Of course, the Newbery Award has never been intended to single out the most popular or kid-friendly book but it cannot be argued that Charlotte's Web has had far greater staying power than Secret of the Andes. Indeed, it is doubtful, Secret of the Andes would still be in print or remembered at all, if it had not won the Newbery. Still, given the historical context, I can see the appeal the ...more
Jason Golomb
I'm a bit of an Inca-phile...having consumed many books on Incan history, their lives, and their ultimate demise following the Spanish Conquest in the early 16th Century.

And so I bought Secret of the Andes for my daughter...thinking that the Newberry Award winner would be a terrific way for me to share my interests with my avid reader. The book sat on her shelf for about a year. I moved it to my shelf for about another 6 months. And finally picked it up a couple of days ago.

If you have any inte
Ruth E.
1953 Newbery winner - author/illustrator Ann Nolan Clark/Jean Charlot - Cusi a modern Inca boy who is raised by an elder named Chuto, a llama herder, is trying to find out who his family is. this is the journey he takes by leaving the valley where he has always lived and searches for his family (his heart's desire) he learns the meaning of the ancient Inca saying "Grieve not if your searching circles". He returns to the valley with his bet llama Misti after he slowly discovers the truth about hi ...more
This is a book I wish I had found when I was teaching sixth grade social studies. The Incas were just a small part of our curriculum, but their incredible civilization and their tragic destruction made them memorable.

I enjoyed reading The Secret of the Andes. The quiet story often read like poetry, as did the love and devotion between Chuto and Cusi. The beauty of these characters and their Hidden Valley in their mountains will linger with me for some time. The book contained more mystery and m
Benji Martin
To be fair, I didn't come into this book ready to judge it objectively. I knew from the start that it wasn't better than Charlotte's Web. There wasn't any way it could be. I had a really hard time with the first 30 pages. Then, I kind of got used to the style, and found myself enjoying it a little. The writing was very lyrical, almost poetic, and I loved the llamas especially Misti. I liked the story, a boy leaving home, to try to find home, only to realize that it was back where he started. I t ...more
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1953 Newbery Medal

This will have little appeal to young readers today and it is especially hard to belief this won the medal over Charlotte's Web. A young Incan shepherd contemplates leaving the only life he's known. While I did find some of the language describing the Andes life pleasant it was overall not engaging enough to recommend.
I try to read all the Newberry winners, but after reading this one, I wonder what the award committee is thinking when they award this one. I struggled to get through it and it is a tiny book. As well read as I am, I still felt like I lacked background knowledge to understand this book.

This book is boring. Most of my questions were answered but what happens if Cusi changes his mind or want to get married - instead he is doomed to be the keeper of llamas and gold dust.

I struggled to connect to
The Smiths
I almost gave this book a two star rating. I can't imagine asking 5th graders to read it. It's a good book, but not exciting enough for a short attention span.
Dec 30, 2013 Debbie added it
59 1953: Secret of the Andes by Ann Nolan Clark (Viking)

7/22/13 139 pages

The dust jacket: "High up in the Andes, there is a beautiful mountain valley, hidden away from the rest of the world. There Cusi, the Indian boy, lives with Chuto, the old Inca llama herder, helping him guard the previous flock. The walls of the llama corral area part of a ruined temple left from the days of old when the Incas ruled Peru." Cusi's heart's desire is to have a family and he leaves Chuto in this quest.

Confusing and mostly boring. I wanted it to be better, but mostly it just wasn't.
A delightful and intriguing story of Cusi, an Incan Peruvian boy, llama shepherd, who discovers the secret of the Andes. I was somewhat familiar with Incan history but this story filled in so many gaps for me. It reminded me, in a way, of Boxers and Saints by Yang in that this story is told from the perspective of the conquered (but not ultimately conquered). This would make a wonderful read-aloud for older elementary and up and also a great book to use when teaching an explorer unit. AND the se ...more
Secret of the Andes isn't as good as the book it beat out to win the 1953 Newbery Medal (Charlotte's Web), but is nonetheless fine literature that did much for me, accessing the echoes of a distant civilization to bring to bear lessons we could only ever learn within the comfortable confines of story.

The itch to get up and move around, to leave the simple and serene to seek out a more exciting life beyond the next horizon, is one with which most of us can identity. There isn't any point in tr
Kate Schwarz
This book was worth reading for this passage alone, a chant sung by The Old One:

Open your eyes. Open your heart to this day that is waiting for you.
Open your eyes. Open your heart. Open your mind to this day.
Open your eyes. Open your heart. Open your mind. The day is waiting.

Other than that, the book was a very well written account, a fine but slow moving story of a boy being pushed/encouraged to do what he "ought" to do, but then finds the strength and wisdom and courage to listen to his own he
Secret of the Andes

by Ann Clark

High up in the Andes, there is a mountain valley away from the rest of the world. It is there that a 12 year old Indian by the name of Cusi lives with an old Inca named Chuto. It is Chuto who tells him how the Inca civilization was once powerful, and that the Spanish came to the Andes and conquered them. Because of this, many people in the area spoke Spanish instead of the Indian language. Cusi leaves his home high in the Andes to learn more about his ancient anc

This gentle, introspective story features more mental and emotional gowth, than purely physical "action," which might turn off youngsters of the 90's. Set in the rugged Andes Mountains of South America--with its rarified pure air and the sounds of soothing panpies-this sleeper presents a quiet, coming-of-age tale of an Indian youth. In the sacred city of Cuzco he seems just another highland llama herdsboy, but to a select few descendants of the ancient I
I didn't care much for the story line but I found some beautiful and memorable quotes from this book. The "Open your eyes" quote has become a daily mantra; these days I need something to help me get out of bed in the morning.

"Their eyes were deep, dark pools, beautiful and sad."

"Cusi was glad to begin his new task, although usually he did not like to do it. But today it seemed easier than thinking. Some thoughts are hard to think about."

"He was troubled about something, something vague but dimly
This felt like a sad excuse for a Newbery Medal. The writing was poor and I couldn't get over how many contradictory sentences there were. The boy would be confused and depressed one minute and then the very next sentence he would be excited and happy. I wished the author would just make up their mind. The story was all over the place. There were added details that didn't have anything to do with the overall plot and I was often confused because I didn't know why certain things were relevant or ...more
Sherry (sethurner)
"What are you doing, Cusi?" An old Indian stood looking down at a boy who lay on an overhanging rock, gazing into the valley below.

I first read Secret of the Andes as a sixth grader, and I remember liking the Newbery winner, but I remembered little of it except the image of living in the hidden valley of the Andes - and llamas. I had forgotten that the story centers on a young boy who is the descendent of Inca royalty, the same royalty that was betrayed and slaughtered by the Spanish invaders 4
I read this book aloud to my children. It won the 1953 Newbery Medal.

This story is about an Incan boy named Cusi, who lives in a hidden valley in the Andes Mountains of Peru. It is a lonely life for him, with only an older man named Chuto and the pack of llamas that they care for as companions. A wandering minstrel comes to the valley one day, and he notices the golden “earplugs” (a spool-shaped ornament that made of gold that is inserted into the earlobe to stretch it) in Cusi’s ears and commen
This is a lesser known Newberry award book (at least to me), and I only picked it up because I needed a book that takes place in South America. While I didn't end up reading it to the kids, I was curious enough to finish it for myself. It's a short book, but a slower read because there is little excitement and the author doesn't let you in on the secret until the very last pages. It is about an Incan Indian boy who raises llamas high in the Andes and is there for a special purpose, but he doesn' ...more
Interesting historical fiction about a Peruvian boy in the Andes who discovers his connections to the Incan empire. It reads in parts like it was translated from Spanish, and I looked up more information and discovered that the main character's name is after a real Incan man, Titu Cusi, who recorded the end of the Inca empire as it clashed with Spain.
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Now I understand why I never finished this book as a child. I still found it boring as an adult! I guess because very little actually happens, there wasn't enough to hold my interest. I'm not entirely sure how it managed to snag a Newberry Award.

Cusi is a modern Inca boy who lives a secluded life high in the mountains, caring for llamas. He takes several journeys through the book to decide which path his life will take; the life of the ancient Inca or a modern life.

I think for me the story is ba
Phil Jensen
About one quarter of the way into this book, the author rhapsodizes on the smell of burning llama dung. I read that with the sinking feeling that this writer had absolutely no concept of what would interest a reader.

For most of the book, Misti the pet llama was more interesting than any of the human characters. I genuinely did not care what happened to anyone, but I was entertained by the loving descriptions of Misti. Everything else in the book felt like an afterthought, and I often wondered wh
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Newbery Medal & H...: Secret of the Andes June Read 2 4 Jul 02, 2013 07:27AM  
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