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Ada's Violin

The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay

Illustrated by Sally Wern Comport

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About The Book

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.

About The Author

Photograph courtesy of the author

Susan Hood is the award-winning author of many books for young readers, including Ada’s ViolinAlias AnnaHarboring HopeThe Last StrawLifeboat 12, and Shaking Things Up. Susan is the recipient of the E.B. White Honor Award, two Christopher Awards, the Américas Award, the SCBWI Golden Kite Award, and the Bank Street Flora Stieglitz Straus Award, given to “a distinguished work of nonfiction that serves as an inspiration to young people.” In addition to winning many state reading awards, Susan’s books have been named a National Jewish Book Awards finalist, a Sydney Taylor Notable Book, a NCTE Notable Poetry Book, a NSTA Best Stem Book of the Year, an Amazon Teachers’ Pick, a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection, and a Bank Street Best Book of the Year. Visit her at SusanHoodBooks.com.

About The Illustrator

Photograph by Coleman Sellers Photography

Sally Wern Comport has illustrated numerous picture books and novels, including Love Will See You Through: Martin Luther King Jr.’s Six Guiding Beliefs (as told by his niece)Brave Margaret: An Irish AdventureHanging Off Jefferson’s Nose: Growing Up on Mt. Rushmore; and the Spy Mice series. She has also translated her picture making skills to various large-scale public, private, and institutional artworks. Sally lives with her husband and two daughters in Annapolis, Maryland, where she operates Art at Large Inc. Learn more at ArtAtLargeInc.com.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (May 3, 2016)
  • Length: 40 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781481430951
  • Grades: P - 3
  • Ages: 4 and up
  • Lexile ® 820L The Lexile reading levels have been certified by the Lexile developer, MetaMetrics®
  • Fountas & Pinnell™ P These books have been officially leveled by using the F&P Text Level Gradient™ Leveling System

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Raves and Reviews

"The mixed-media collages are a particular effective medium for this true story, layering images of Ada and the orchestra over the landfill. The nuances of the subject may strike a stronger chord with adults rather than children, but the interesting visuals and the underlying message of hope and perseverance should help this find an audience."

– Booklist

"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. . . . Pair with the suggested video links to experience the music of a remarkable, resilient cultural community. "

– Kirkus Reviews

*“A virtuoso piece of nonfiction, gloriously told and illustrated.”

– School Library Journal, Starred Review

* “Comport (Love Will See You Through) employs a vibrant collage technique…to form colorful, almost ethereal backdrops. . .[An] uplifting, instructive story.”

– Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

"The illustrations, compilations of torn paper, paint, and pen and ink illustrations, add to the feeling of being within the landfill, and are a beautiful representation of the location...Highly Recommended."

– School Library Connection

Recipient of the E.B. White Read Aloud Award

Awards and Honors

  • Kansas NEA Reading Circle List PrimaryTitle
  • Christopher Award
  • Flora Stieglitz Straus Award
  • Nutmeg Book Award Nominee (CT)
  • Great Lakes Great Books Master List (MI)
  • ILA Notable Books for a Global Society
  • Texas Bluebonnet Master List
  • Connecticut Book Award Nominee
  • Red Clover Book Award Nominee (VT)
  • Green Earth Book Award Selection Title
  • Rhode Island Children's Book Award Nominee
  • Eureka! Excellence in Nonfiction Gold Award (CA)
  • Wisconsin State Reading Association's Reading List
  • NCTE Orbis Pictus Recommended Book
  • Center for the Study of Multicultural Children's Literature Best Multicultural Books List
  • New York Public Library Best Books for Kids
  • Black-Eyed Susan Book Award Nominee (MD)
  • Américas Award for Children's and Young Adult Literature
  • Louisiana Young Readers'Choice Award Nominee

Resources and Downloads

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More books from this author: Susan Hood

More books from this illustrator: Sally Wern Comport