Olivia y los monos

Book Title Olivia y los monos (Olivia and the monkeys)
Author(s) Verónica Moscoso
Illustrator(s) Pablo Ortega López
Other Contributors
Published by Self-published
Command Performance Language Institute 
Genre Realistic Fiction
Publication date 2018
#Ownvoices YES
From the author/publisher’s website
Level 1

Total Word Count

Illustrations                 YES 
Glossary                       YES  
Guiding Questions     NO  
Context                        YES

Races, Ethnicities, and Nationalities

Languages spoken

Sex and Genders
Female (main character)

Teenager: 13-18

Social classes
Working class
Middle class

Sexual Orientation



Family Structures

Body Type

From the author/publisher’s website 

Olivia is a very curious 16-year-old girl who likes to travel and who loves animals. She travels with her parents to Misahuallí, a town in the Amazon region of Ecuador. She is fascinated with the group of monkeys that live in the town. The monkeys approach and interact with tourists and the town’s people. She spends a week in Misahuallí with her parents. In Olivia y los monos one after another amusing situations occur with the monkeys. Olivia narrates the story.

To what extent do the illustrations present positive and thoughtful representations of identities?

There are nine grayscale pencil illustrations in this book. Five of the illustrations are of the monkeys. One is of a hand holding a chontaduro worm and another of a hand giving bread to a monkey.

Two illustrations are of Olivia, a blond teenager wearing a t-shirt. One illustration is of Juana, a hotel owner, with two upset tourists. Juana’s skin color is deeper than the bakery owner’s hand, suggesting a range of skin colors of the people living in Ecuador.

We understand identities are complex and no single story represents the spectrum of identity-based experiences. Also, a text may address a stereotype, misrepresentation, or generalization without relying on it.

Does any stereotype, misrepresentation, or generalization affect any positive and thoughtful representations of identities in the text?


This section is for teachers who are working towards sourcing more texts within the four domains of anti-bias education. We are excited about reading all books and we understand that not all books are written for this specific purpose. 

Does this text work toward goals within any of the four domains of anti-bias education as defined by Learning for Justice

Diversity: Foster intergroup understanding

Olivia y los monos is a story about monkeys in the Amazon of Ecuador. The author includes a link to a thirty-minute documentary she created about the topic.

The story is meant for Level 1 and it is very simple yet descriptive of the series of events. 

There is intergroup understanding fostered between Olivia, her family, and the local community.  For example, Olivia doesn’t just do whatever she wants, but respects the monkeys based on what the locals believe. “Yo digo: ‘quiero abrazar y besar al mono’… Las personas no pueden abrazar a los monos porque no les gusta a los monos” / I say: ‘I want to hug and kiss the monkey’… The people cannot hug the monkeys because the monkeys don’t like it” (18). 

At one point there is a meeting with Olivia and others from the town in which they discuss whether or not they should continue sharing their space with the monkeys.  This opens up the opportunity for the teacher to discuss taking on different perspectives, for example, seeing the monkeys as an opportunity versus a strain on the community.  

When Olivia and her family encounter the monkeys and residents eating the chontacuro worm, she and her family are intrigued initially and some decide to partake of the food.  This encounter with a new food models respectful behavior towards the unfamiliar.

Olivia approaches new customs and people with thoughtfulness, yet there are other tourists who cause issues with the locals.  For example, there’s a tourist who steals a baby monkey (26); three tourists who tease the monkeys (24); and tourists who falsely accuse someone, most likely local, of emptying the contents of their backpacks (although it was the monkeys) (7).  These behaviors are seen as unacceptable by Olivia and others. This allows the teacher to explore appropriate and inappropriate behavior when experiencing a new culture or country.

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