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Also by Tara Sullivan

The Bitter Side of Sweet

Golden Boy


An imprint of Penguin Random House LLC, New York

Copyright © 2021 by Tara Sullivan

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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Names: Sullivan, Tara, author.

Title: Treasure of the world / Tara Sullivan.

Description: New York, NY: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 2021. | Summary: After a mining accident kills her father and leaves her brother missing, twelve-year-old Ana puts her dreams on hold and goes into the mine to help her family survive in their impoverished Bolivian silver mining community.

Identifiers: LCCN 2020040827 (print) | LCCN 2020040828 (ebook) | ISBN 9780525516965 (hardcover) | ISBN 9780525516972 (ebook)

Subjects: CYAC: Silver mines and mining—Fiction. | Bolivia—Fiction. | Family life—Bolivia—Fiction. | Child labor—Fiction.

Classification: LCC PZ7.S95373 Tr 2021 (print) | LCC PZ7.S95373 (ebook) | DDC [Fic]—dc23

LC record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2020040827

LC ebook record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2020040828

Ebook ISBN 9780525516972

This book is a work of fiction. Any references to historical events, real people, or real places are used fictitiously. Other names, characters, places, and events are products of the author’s imagination, and any resemblance to actual events or places or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Images of railway, rocks, textures, and fabric courtesy of Shutterstock

Cover design and additional art by Eileen Savage


For Dad, who loves Bolivia



Also by Tara Sullivan

Title Page



Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24


Author’s Note

A Note on the Use of Italics, Languages, and the Bible



About the Author


Even though I hate getting up before dawn to make coca tea for my family, I have to admit that there is nothing so stunning as watching the sun rise at the top of the world.

Holding a match to the pile of dried dung, I blow on it softly until the flame catches. Once it’s going strong, I put the beaten tin pot on top of it and breathe on my chilled fingers, looking forward to the tea. It will be warm and filling, and because it’s only water, I’ll be allowed to have as much of it as I want. I toss a handful of coca leaves into the pot and stand, hugging my arms around myself as the orange sun shoulders its way out from behind the rough red slope of the Cerro Rico.

Behind me, I hear the soft shuffle of feet as Abuelita joins me from the house.

“Look at that, Ana,” she says, tipping her wrinkled face to the sunlight. “Only God has a better view.”

I smile. “I bet God is warmer.”

“Probably.” She laughs. “How’s the tea coming?”

“Almost ready.”

“Good. Your brother woke up with that cough again. A cup of coca tea would do him good.”

I frown, worried. It seems like Daniel is always fighting off one chill or another. Although we’re not even a full year apart, it usually feels like I’m much older because I’m always taking care of him. He just gets sick so easily. If the rest of us get a sniffle, his turns into bronchitis; if we get a fever, his turns into pneumonia and he’ll still be fighting to breathe weeks after the rest of us are better. This high in the Andes, there are only two choices for temperature—cold, and colder. Today is the first day of February, right at the end of summer. I chew on my bottom lip. If Daniel is struggling this much now, I hate to think how sick he could get when we get to June and July, the depths of winter.

I hand a cup to Abuelita and follow her inside, carrying the pot. Papi doesn’t like weak tea, but I don’t want Daniel to have to wait longer than he has to. I put the pot on a folded manta that Mami has placed in the center of the room. We all dip our cups in, sipping until our bellies slosh. The tea will take the chill off the morning and trick us into thinking we’re full for about an hour. Then we’ll start chewing coca leaves to dull the real hunger that comes from working on an empty stomach. Mami helps Papi buckle an acetylene tank to the belt on his miner’s coveralls and hands him his lunch sack as he walks out the door. Abuelita sits off to the side with Daniel, rubbing his back as he coughs between sips of tea. I get dressed for school, sure I’ll be going by myself again, but Daniel surprises me.

“Mami, can I go to school today?” he asks. “Please?”

She walks over and smooths his thick black hair away from his forehead. She hides it in a caress, but I notice she lets her hand rest there an extra moment, checking for fever. This time, bronchitis has kept him home from school for over a week.

“I don’t know, mi hijo,” she says, concern lining her round face, “your cough is still pretty bad.”

“I feel fine, really,” he protests. “Ana will make sure I’m okay, won’t you, Ana?”

I shoot him a glare for making me a part of this.

“If we left now, we could walk slowly,” I say, leaving the decision up to Mami.

For a moment I’m not sure what it’s going to be, but then Abuelita chimes in and settles the matter.

“Let the boy go. He’ll never learn anything sitting

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