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Secret of the Andes
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Secret of the Andes

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  3,894 Ratings  ·  188 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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This book gets negative attention because it beat out Charlotte's Web for the 1953 Newbery Medal, and looking through the lens of time it's easy to say that it probably should have gone the other way. But that happens quite often, even with major awards like Booker, Pulitzer, National Book Award, and others; the best book doesn't always win. But this is not a bad book at all; it's quite good. I read it as a young boy and loved it, although not as much this time. What makes this a good children's ...more
Jun 12, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: newbery
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
Jul 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: newbery
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
Mar 20, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: newbery-winners
Newbery Medal Winner--1953

This was an okay little adventure story. Cusi is a boy who lives high in the moutains with only an old man and a herd of llamas--but there is something special about Cusi. He must go on a journey to find himself, his family, and his home. The story is short and simple...and not bad, I just need a little more excitement to really enjoy an adventure story like this one.
Nov 11, 2009 rated it liked it
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.
One of the most interesting facts about this book is that it beat out Charlotte's Web for the 1952 Newbery Medal. In her acceptance speech, Clark said, "I have worked with Spanish children from New Mexico to Central and South America, with Indian children from Canada to Peru. I have worked with them because I like them. I write about them because their stories need to be told. All children need understanding, but children of segregated racial groups need even more. All children need someone to m ...more
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
Secret of the Andes is the story of an Incan boy, Cusi, and his caregiver and mentor, Chuto, who live in the mountains of Peru and herd llamas. They live a very isolated life, and as Cusi grows older he begins to realize there is more to the world than his limited experience. Chuto also hints, quite enigmatically, that Cusi is destined for greater things. They are visited by strange travelers who teach Cusi many things, and eventually Cusi sets out on a solo journey to "seek his heart's desire." ...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
Jason Golomb
Apr 12, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Rachel Driscoll
Nov 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: edu-511
"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
Kathleen Joy
Oct 16, 2015 rated it did not like it
Here is a short summary of what happen in this book: There was an orphaned Indian who lived in a hidden valley in Peru with an old man and lots of llamas. One day they ran out of salt, so they went on a several day journey to get salt from the salt pits. They got the salt then went home. A few days passed and the old man decided that the boy should go trade his llamas for clothes, sandals, etc. So after a couple days he arrived at a large city in Peru and traded while he looked for a family to s ...more
Phil Jensen
Sep 23, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Ruth E.
Apr 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 01, 2012 rated it it was ok
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.
Jul 13, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: childrens, 2009, newbery
Confusing and mostly boring. I wanted it to be better, but mostly it just wasn't.
The Smiths
Oct 20, 2008 rated it liked it
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.
Newbery Medal: 1953

High in the Andes Mountains of Peru, Cusi, a young boy lives with his flock of llamas and The Old One, Chuto, who is both his teacher and father figure. Separated from villages, families, or communities, Cusi often wonders how he came to be, who are his parents, and where he belongs. Chuto tells him he will learn the answers to these questions when it is time.

Of course, Cusi must wander far from Hidden Valley to seek what he wants most in life. Along the way on his travels, h
Littlefoot Peco
May 21, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: newbery-books
Secret of the Andes is undoubtedly one of the most infamous Newbery winners, topping Charlotte's Web for the coveted Medal in 1953. While I certainly prefer Charlotte's Web, Secret of the Andes wasn't terrible. Clark's descriptions of the Peruvian landscape were delightful to read and I honestly enjoyed reading about the past glories of the Incan empire. I'd fault Clark for her redundant writing style (example: "The morning was cold with the coldness of before dawn. It was gray with the grayness ...more
Written in 1952 and the winner of a Newberry Medal, Secret of the Andes is the tale of Cusi, a young Incan boy from Peru, who tends llamas in a hidden valley in Peru and learns the traditions and secrets of his ancestors. This book is recommended for readers ages 10 to 14, but I don't believe it would keep their attention as the story line is slow moving and the writing is somewhat simple. I think it would be more enjoyable to perhaps 9-11 year olds. The book definitely does give a picture of Pe ...more
Jun 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Cusi, a young shepard boy, lives in near isolation in the mountains of Peru. He must go on an adventure and leave the his mentor, Chuto, behind to find his destiny. What he finds is not what he expected. The imagery is this novel is beautiful. The setting is described in such vivid detail that you feel as if you are in the mountains with Cusi and Chuto. You can almost hear the hum of the llamas just outside your ears reach.

I chose this book because it is probably best known as the book that bea
Jul 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Read because I recently enjoyed a biography about e.b. white and realized this book beat Charlotte's Web for newberry prize. I'm glad this book won, otherwise I may have never read it. I can't say it was totally engaging or enlightening but it was enjoyable and different. I think those differences make it a valuable voice. I definitely want to read more by this author and was disappointed to discover my library only has one other book. The author sounds amazing and I'd really love to read her bi ...more
Sep 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
very slow mystical book about an isolated Quechua boy who finds his destiny. maybe a bit much for a child.

Also I was distracted by the use of the name "Chuto" which in Bolivia is used to mean fake or pirated but is also a disparaging name for an indigenous person...which now makes me wonder if that's related and I should remove it from my Spanish slang
Courtney Umlauf
What a weird book.

Took way too long in explaining the "secret", seems like it would have worked better as an adult short story than as a children's book.

This goes right to the bottom of the list of Newbery winners I've read so far.
The Brothers
Neither Asher (10yo) or Dexter (8yo) really got into this story. Though, Asher did mention how the writing was like poems or music. And I agree, the writing was beautiful and lyrical. However, the story was a bit plodding and slow. It was short though, so managed to get through it.
Jul 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
I have had this book for 20 years. I picked it up after walking the Inca Trail for four days. The book has meaning now. Inca trail adventurers...this book will recreate your travels.
Aug 17, 2017 rated it liked it
I'm sort of all over the place about this book. I was convinced near the end that I was disappointed with it, but I guess I wasn't really. Ha.
Wonderful, calm, and enchanting little book about a ''modern" Incan boy (this was written in the 1950s), Cusi, and his elderly guardian, Chuso.

The penultimate chapter devolved into a picture-book repetitive, sing-song-ey interruption, but every single other sentence was lovely.

I have been quite sick, and this story was perfect sick-bed reading, with its descriptions of life in Hidden Valley, way up in the thin air between mountaintops in the Andes; the simple life Chuso and Cusi live with thei
Dec 30, 2013 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.

Bree Dignan
Jan 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Bree Dignan
Honors 9 World History

Book Review:
Secret of the Andes
By: Ann Nolan Clark

The book The Secret of the Andes by Ann Nolan Clark was published by Viking Press in 1952. The Secret of the Andes is a fictional book written about a young Indian boy who lives in the highland of the Andes Mountains in Peru and tends to llamas. The paperback version of this book goes for around $6.00 and the hardcover is priced around $12.00. You can find this book by searching the title,
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