Review: Ada’s Violin
The Recycled Orchestra began as a small music class for kids in Cateura, a small Paraguayan town built on a landfill where most of the residents work as recyclers in the landfill. There weren’t enough instruments to go around, not to mention it was hardly safe for the kids to carry around the valuable instruments, so they made their own instruments out of whatever they could find among the trash. Their story went viral in 2015, and now the young musicians have found themselves in the spotlight.
Ada Ríos was among the original members of the orchestra. She had always dreamed of learning music and playing the violin, but it didn’t seem possible. Her family had worked in the landfill for generations, after all, and a landfill is not a place where dreams are nurtured. Until Favio Chávez, an environmental engineer with a musical background, started his music class. It wasn’t easy, but Ada and the other children were dedicated. After many years of playing together in Cateura, they are now performing to large crowds all over the world.
Ada’s Violin is a beautiful picture book that shares the story of the Recycled Orchestra through the eyes of Ada, now first violinist. The mixed media collage illustrations by Sally Wern Comport add to the idea that trash can be transformed into art. This picture book is a celebration of the way that hope can change lives, and it is sure to inspire young readers to believe in their own dreams no matter now impossible they may seem.
Ada’s Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay by Susan Hood and illustrated by Sally Wern Comport. 9781481430951. May 2016. Gr. K-3 – Spanish version available
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