The Cardboard Books in Quechua
The handmade cardboard books are an unexpected discovery. We got them without knowing that a whole cultural movement started in Argentina, as an effort to keep publishing during the financial crisis.
In our case, we started writing handmade cardboard books out of the necessity of having books in Quechua language. So that they can be read by Quechua speaking children in the rural areas of Ayacucho. This is a project that hopes to increase the level of reading in Ayacucho.
When we arrived to Sarhua, a rural community in Ayacucho, we realized that though the children could read books in Spanish, they preferred commenting and expressing themselves in Quechua. That is where the idea of writing books in Quechua started.
I remember, after reading, we were motivated to write a new book along with the children for the following week, to read and share together. So we started writing in a playful and fun way.
In my case, I started adapting my favorite children’s changing the setting and putting characters from this area of Peru adding rhythm and music from this area too so that the story can be vivid and fun.
Later, I began writing phrases and play on words that I heard since I was a little kid. For example, I started writing tongue twist phrases, play on words to count or the lift the cover to see what is behind the cover.
During that process, the Pandemic happened, and everything stopped. During the months of quarantine, the team had a brilliant idea: to record videos reading the Quechua cardboard books and share in our Social Media with English subtitles.
To our surprise, we discovered that our videos were a big hit not only with Quechua speaking population but also with those who wanted to learn the Quechua language through children’s books.
After we published the videos, while we were just discovering the Cardbooks idea, we realized this could be a great opportunity. This new experience encouraged us to keep writing more cardboard books.
Social Media was an interesting way for many people to learn about what we were doing, and they began inviting us for writer’s workshops and events. For the first time people wanted to buy our books, until then, it didn’t occur to us that we could sell handmade cardboard books. A new publishing house was born. Books made of cardboard to keep our environment clean and handmade were born.
Currently, we have 4 handmade cardboard books that we are publishing in our Puriq Publishing house.
- Uywakuna (The Animals in Quechua)
- Piki Puka Kapa (The red cap fly)
- Pichqa Chiwchicha (the 5 chicks)
- ¿Imaynallam? (¿How are you?)
These are children’s books, that invite us to explore the Andes and culture of Peru through books with singing. The first two books have been presented via internet and in person, the other two are new. Also, the first two books were placed at the ‘seed of time’, a capsule that will be opened in the tricentennial anniversary of the independence of Peru in July 28, 2121.
We encourage you to get our environment-friendly handmade cardboard books by calling: 999575738
We are very happy that something we started like playing now is a publishing house where we share the culture and traditions of children in the Andes of Peru. We hope that this story is inspiring for you so that perhaps you could write your own story.