Peru is much more than a brand. It's a feeling, it's a dream. At least that’s how Jerome, the protagonist of the book “The Word Collector”, written and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds, envisions it. The book was chosen by husband and wife Barack and Michelle Obama to open a new division of the Chicago Public Library on the South Side of the city, the largest and most diverse area of the metropolis.
There, between old buildings, the couple participated in the “Live from the Library” streaming program in which they shared the live reading of Reynolds' book. The novelty is that in this piece of fiction Peru’s name appears in all its glory.
“My trip to Peru was perfectly pleasant,” is one of Jerome’s phrases, the main character in the story, that is quoted by Michelle Obama. At one point during the video you can see an image of Jerome with a suitcase on which the Peruvian flag appears together with the logo of Marca Peru. Moreover, former U.S. President Barack Obama agrees with his wife by adding: “Short and sweet words (...), words he [Jerome] did not know the meaning of at first. But they were marvelous to say.”
You can see the video of the reading by clicking on the following Twitter.
The aforementioned phrase is not in itself an invitation to travel – times do not yet permit it – but it is part of the search of this child who is gathering new words in an album and who finds the word Peru to be a symbol worthy of being treasured.
Peru’s country brand around the world
Last year, a FutureBrand report revealed that Peru had experienced the most important emerging brand growth in Latin America. According to the report, Peru is one of the “must-see” nations (in terms of the positioning of the country brand), said Gustavo Koniszczer, general director of FutureBrand Latin America.
The mention of the word “Peru” in Reynolds' story and its diffusion by the Obamas only confirms this position. And what better way than through the story of a child and his curiosity for words.
“It's a fun book that vividly illustrates the transformative power of words – and we hope you enjoy it as much as we did,” the former president wrote on his social network.
Origin and meaning
The very origin of the term Peru involves a unique mystery. According to the chronicles of San Bartolomé de las Casas, upon the arrival of the first Spaniards to the continent, the terms “Birú”, “Berú” and “Pirú” were heard, presumably derived from the Choco languages of the Caribbean, in allusion to the lands of the south. Even Gaspar de Morales, a Spanish captain, would have heard of the existence of a cacique (chief) called Birú, who ruled a territory east of the Pacific Ocean.
Later, the term was derived into “Peru”, a word that Jerome picked up in Reynolds' story as a gem that he would later turn into a poem and then a song.
In the story told by the Obamas in the video, Jerome did not intend to own the words, but wanted to teach them to others so that they could also enrich their vocabulary. So, he climbed up a big hill with his whole collection and threw the words into the wind. The words flew until they fell among some children who were watching from below.
Do you want to find out for yourself how this story ends? We suggest you read it here.
Did you know that...?
Peter H. Reynolds is also the author of “Happy Dreamer” and “The Dot”.
Sources: Twitter / Gestión/ La República