Ada’s Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay

Susan Hood, illus. by Sally Wern Comport. Simon & Schuster, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4814-3095-1
Hood’s (Rooting for You) beautifully narrated true tale begins in Cateura, a “noisy, stinking, sweltering slum” of Paraguay. That’s where Ada Ríos lives with her family, recyclers (gancheros) who collect and sell trash from the nearby landfill. When engineer Favio Chávez begins teaching music to at-risk children there, Ada learns the violin, and she and other students play instruments made from recycled trash. Comport (Love Will See You Through) employs a vibrant collage technique, using pictures of food labels, tires, and other detritus to form colorful, almost ethereal backdrops. Light-infused scenes of gancheros picking through mountains of trash, children playing soccer in Cateura’s streets, and Ada practicing violin all include hopeful shades of yellow. Torn bits of a musical score edge out the garbage scraps as the story progresses. When the Recycled Orchestra gains fame, its members perform in some of the world’s biggest, brightest cities: “Buried in the trash was music. And buried in themselves was something to be proud of.” An author’s note expands on this uplifting, instructive story; a Spanish-language edition is available simultaneously. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Brenda Bowen, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. Illustrator’s agency: Shannon Associates. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/07/2016
Release date: 05/03/2016
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