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Ada's Violin
Cover of Ada's Violin
Ada's Violin
The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay
From award-winning author Susan Hood and illustrator Sally Wern Comport comes the extraordinary true tale of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay, an orchestra made up of children playing instruments built from recycled trash.
Ada Ríos grew up in Cateura, a small town in Paraguay built on a landfill. She dreamed of playing the violin, but with little money for anything but the bare essentials, it was never an option...until a music teacher named Favio Chávez arrived. He wanted to give the children of Cateura something special, so he made them instruments out of materials found in the trash. It was a crazy idea, but one that would leave Ada—and her town—forever changed. Now, the Recycled Orchestra plays venues around the world, spreading their message of hope and innovation.
From award-winning author Susan Hood and illustrator Sally Wern Comport comes the extraordinary true tale of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay, an orchestra made up of children playing instruments built from recycled trash.
Ada Ríos grew up in Cateura, a small town in Paraguay built on a landfill. She dreamed of playing the violin, but with little money for anything but the bare essentials, it was never an option...until a music teacher named Favio Chávez arrived. He wanted to give the children of Cateura something special, so he made them instruments out of materials found in the trash. It was a crazy idea, but one that would leave Ada—and her town—forever changed. Now, the Recycled Orchestra plays venues around the world, spreading their message of hope and innovation.
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  • ATOS:
  • Lexile:
    820
  • Interest Level:
  • Text Difficulty:
    3 - 4

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About the Author-
  • Susan Hood has written more than 200 picture books. She has received starred reviews in Publishers Weekly and Booklist, and her book Spike, The Mixed-Up Monster won the 2013 International Latino Award and was selected for the Charlotte Zolotow Highly Commended List. The Tooth Mouse was named a 2013 Best Book of the Year by Bank Street and the Cooperative Children's Book Center. Prior to becoming an author, Susan was a children's magazine editor at Scholastic and Instructor Magazine, a book editor at Sesame Workshop, and the Children's Content Director of Nick Jr. Magazine. Ada's Violin is her latest nonfiction picture book. Visit her at SusanHoodBooks.com/Home.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from March 7, 2016
    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.

  • Kirkus

    March 1, 2016
    Hood presents the story of a Paraguayan youth orchestra whose instruments are fashioned from garbage collected in the local landfill. Cateura is, literally, "a town made of trash." The dump for the capital city of Asuncion, Cateura receives 1,500 tons of trash daily, and 2,500 families subsist there, with generations of gancheros scouring for recyclable materials like cardboard and plastic. Favio Chavez, an environmental engineer assigned to Cateura to teach the recyclers safety methods, began offering music lessons to children, to help keep them safe. He enlisted a carpenter's expertise in creating instruments from salvaged materials. "They transformed oil drums into cellos, water pipes into flutes, and packing crates into guitars!" Hood's narrative focuses on talented Ada Rios, whose years of dedicated practice on a metal-and-wood violin parallel the orchestra's ascendant fame in Paraguay and internationally. "Ada and her friends flew on their first airplane, stayed in their first hotel...and saw sights they never imagined." Comport's complex, digitally enhanced collages combine acrylics, drawing, and layered typographic elements, conveying both the oppressive omnipresence of garbage and the functional beauty of the handcrafted instruments. For a spread celebrating the music's transforming effects, Comport renders musicians and gancheros in silhouette against the landfill, bathed in sunset pinks and golds. Pair with the suggested video links to experience the music of a remarkable, resilient cultural community. (author's note, websites, videos, quotation sources, photographs) (Informational picture book. 4-8)

    COPYRIGHT(2016) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    Starred review from April 1, 2016

    Gr 2-5-Hood tells the story of a real child growing up in an actual place-Cateura-a community of people who live and feed themselves by picking through the tons of trash generated by the capital city of Asuncion, Paraguay, and salvaging items to recycle and sell. Despite her bleak surroundings, Ada Rios liked to imagine each garbage truck was "a box of surprises. One never knew what might be inside." When Ada was 11, a man named Favio Chavez started to hold music classes for the local young people. Since there weren't enough instruments to go around and they were too precious for the kids to take them home to practice, the project seemed doomed to be short-lived. Watching the children play amid the rubble gave Senor Chavez an idea. He enlisted the help of the gancheros (recyclers), and they fashioned cellos from oil drums, flutes out of water pipes, and guitars from packing crates. Ada chose a violin made from an old paint can, an aluminum baking tray, a fork, and pieces of wooden crates. Through hard work and long hours of practice over time, she and the rest of the ragtag crew of kids formed the Recycled Orchestra, and the rest is history, as they've grown and made a name for themselves internationally. Comport's mixed-media collages are nothing short of brilliant as she plays with light and dark throughout. The spreads capture the look and feel of the cramped and stinking landfill, the oppressive heat, and the hardscrabble lives of the residents. They also convey the resourcefulness and warmth of the families and the aspirations of the children. The scenes of the kids embracing their instruments and sharing their joy at making music are absolutely transcendent. "With her violin, Ada could close her eyes and imagine a different life. She could soar on the high, bright, bittersweet notes to a place far away. She could be who she was meant to be." VERDICT A virtuoso piece of nonfiction, gloriously told and illustrated.-Luann Toth, School Library Journal

    Copyright 2016 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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    Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
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Ada's Violin
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The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay
Susan Hood
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