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

4.36  ·  Rating details ·  1,702 ratings  ·  390 reviews
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 th
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published May 3rd 2016 by Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
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Average rating 4.36  · 
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 ·  1,702 ratings  ·  390 reviews

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Jul 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: art, kids, music, coming-of-age
Ada Rios lives with her family in Cateura, Paraguay, a slum built on a landfill that services the capital city of Asunción. The majority of people in the town work as gancheros (recyclers) in the landfills, and houses are built on the flood plain and worth next to nothing. The outlook for a child being raised in these conditions is dismal if not worse. Ada’s grandmother desired that her grandchildren Ada and Noelia have a better life than the one that generations of Cateura’s citizens have lead. ...more
Lisa Vegan
Thanks to GR friend Crystal for letting me know about this book. I knew about this orchestra. I’d seen the 60 Minutes television story and had heard about the movie and had seen them in the news.

The last 3 pages of this book upped it to 5 stars for me. More information, photos, resources, and I was happy to see that the publisher had made a donation to the orchestra/community.

The true story is 5 stars without question. The way it was told, even though interviews with the founder & conductor an
May 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Hilary by: Lisa Vegan
This inspiring book tells the story of Ada, a young girl living in Paraguay in a neighbourhood that earns money from recycling rubbish from the enormous amounts of waste the city churns out. An environmental engineer who was working in the area noticed the lack of a constructive outlet for the children and started to give music lessons. Lacking enough instruments to go round some talented local people started to make instruments from recycled materials found in the rubbish heap.

Truly inspiring h
Crystal Marcos
Mar 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
My 7 year old is interested in playing the violin and also interested in art. While out at the library looking for books about art this was right in the selection and she immediately grabbed it and started flipping through the pages. I asked her if she wanted to borrow it and she gave an ethusiastic, "YES!" So glad we checked it out. It is a truly inspiring book based on real life events. We both enjoyed the illustrations. To us they were unique and complimented the story well. My daughter's wor ...more
Amanda Schreiber
May 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Extraordinary story & beautiful illustrations that teach grit and problem solving to students. Delighted to add this nonfiction book to my library. Pairs well with the 60 Minutes feature on the orchestra. A must have for classroom libraries! ...more
Edward Sullivan
A remarkable true story about a visionary teacher who finds a way to help children escape their lives of extreme poverty and squalor through music. A beautifully told, hopeful, inspiring story handsomely illustrated in colorful collage art.
Stephanie Anze
May 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Cateura, Paraguay is a landfill. Its also home to dozens of families that earn their living by selling what they can rescue from the trash. That was perhaps the only thing Cateura was known for. Now Cateura is on the map for another reason: The Children's Recycled Orchestra. When Favio Chavez went back to Paraguay, he started music lessons for the children but lacking enough instruments, he decided to make his own. In time, his small orchestra caught international attention and has since shown t ...more
Jun 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Nonfiction picture books that tell true stories of what's going on in other parts of the world draw me like a bee to nectar. And when they're well told, illustrated beautifully, and loaded with pertinent information, I'm one happy teacher. However, I don't have a classroom in which to share this book anymore, and this is a book to be shared and discussed. Perfect for the intermediate-grade classroom that is learning about how to make a difference in our world.
I can't imagine a town that's buil
Jan 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Incredible(!!) story and the art feels like a perfect match.
Alex  Baugh
May 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Living in Cateura, Paraguay, where scouring the trash from nearby Asunción to recycle and resell is a way of life, Ada Ríos liked to imagine that truckload of garbage was "a box of surprises." And that turns out to be just what they are when Favio Chávez arrived in town and offers music lessons to the children of Cateura. With more children wanting music lessons than instruments to play, Chávez knew he had to do something. After experiments, trials, mistakes and finally success, instruments were ...more
Mississippi Library Commission
Buried in the trash was music. And buried in themselves was something to be proud of.
Ada's Violin is the perfect picture book for kids who like true stories about other places and other cultures. It discusses the overwhelming poverty and hopelessness of the slum where Ada and her family live in Paraguay, but it also does a lovely job of portraying her close-knit family in a positive light. This is mirrored in the hope and aspirations of new arrival Favio Chávez and the orchestra he helped th
Nov 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-mg
Beautiful story, sometimes it takes so little to make an impact in the world.

Lo que ese señor le dio a esa comunidad nunca podrá ser medido <3.
May 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2018
This is the true story of how a village turned garbage into music. Ada Rio’s family lives in Cateura, Paraguay. Her town is filled with trash and is actually built on a landfill. Many of the people in the village go through the garbage collecting items, like plastic, which they can trade in for money. Then Favio Chavez arrives and starts teaching about ecological safety, and before long he brings music to the children. When there aren’t enough instruments for everyone who wants to play, he works ...more
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
Amazing story of a music teacher and his poverty-stricken students who create an orchestra of instruments out of junk and learn to play them. What a testament to the power of recycling and of music! I visited some of the web sites about these kids listed at the back of the book. Not only do the instruments sound almost like real ones made of traditional materials, but these kids are playing Vivaldi and sounding darned good! The band Metallica was so impressed with them that they asked the Recycl ...more
Jul 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
I’d been meaning to check out this book after reading so many rave reviews about it. It didn’t disappoint. In fact, after reading it, I was impressed by how many great music books there are for kids- and how important that students need to have music in their lives. Music can teach them so much! I even ended up recommending this to a librarian already because this story about the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay is truly inspiring.
Jul 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: pbnf-700
What an inspiring story! The illustrations, which were created from collage, acrylic glazes and paints, drawings and digital mediums executed on stipple paper, are an excellent match for the text about musical instruments made from recycled materials, because it looks like the illustrations use recycled materials as well.
Sep 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A truly inspiring tale, about perseverance, dedication, finding yourself, making music and making the most of a challenging situation. Definitely worth a read! I believe that children will become inspired by this book.
Darshana Khiani
Mar 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Loved, loved this book!
After reading this book, go watch the 60 Minutes news clip about this orchestra.
Feb 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow, what an incredible story. I will be using this with my section on overcoming challenges next year. Watching a video of the orchestra play had me in tears. Absolutely incredible.
Feb 25, 2019 added it
Shelves: diverse-books
"Ada’s Violin" by Susan Hood (Américas Award: 2017 Award Winner)

Ada spoke of the landfill, and imagined the surprises, the objects that may be found within. Ada’s viewpoint reminded me of my own perspective in relation to garage sales. As a child, and to this day, I relish in my family “garage sale outings.” I knew most children did not actively seek out garage sales with their parents and siblings, nor receive such enjoyment out of it. This did not negatively impact my thinking, I recall view
Justina Wemhoff
My focus for this book is a text to world connection, though I experienced many others as I was reading the story. Ada was one of the main characters in this story, and her story reminded me of another musician's story. Ada came from a poverty stricken town. Through music, she was able to have many opportunities that she never would have had otherwise. She was able to travel. She was able to make more money than she had in her hometown. I hope this doesn't sound too silly, but an artist I know a ...more
Nov 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
I was impressed with this book and especially with the real story that had inspired Susan Hood to write it. I read it last night to my daughter, spent some time discussing the hard lives of poor children and after she went to sleep I did a little research on the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay. It is a sad story but also a project to be appreciated.

The Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay is an orchestra composed of children from Cateura, a needy community built on a landfill in Paraguay. These childre
Ada and her family live in one of the poorest areas of South America where all members of the family work long hours sorting through trash bags looking for items to recycle in the landfill. She wonders what sort of life she is destined for when the children she sees growing up in her neighborhood often turn to gangs.

The arrival of Favio Chavez and his offer of free violin, guitar, and cello lessons on Saturday mornings proves very popular with Ada and the other children. The problem quickly bec
Jun 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: multicultural
Ada’s Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay, 2016

The book I found that this was similar to was Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed A Neighborhood by F. Isabel Campoy. I felt these books were similar because in both stories, the community comes together to help create beauty in their neighborhoods. In Ada’s Violin, the townspeople help take trash from the dump and turn it into workable instruments for the children to learn to play. In Maybe Something Beaut
Nikki Ibarra
Ada’s Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay by Susan Hood
Drum Dream Girl by : How One Girl's Courage Changed Music by Margarita Engle

Content Area : Music

Ada’s violin is about a young girl who grows up in a small town where they are very poor. Ada wants to learn how to play the violin along with 20 other kids, but the instruments are worth more than homes are and they are very likely to be stolen. Her father makes the best of their situation by making a violin for Ada and the ot
Using collage of people and things, against a background what seems to be trash, Sally Wern Comport tells the story in picture, while Susan Hood share the words of this inspiring story of how Favio Chávez helped begin the recycled orchestra of Paraguay. He came to the town of Cateura to help families learn how to dig through the trash safely, but soon became concerned for the children. Although they weren’t supposed to be working in the dump, their abilities to search and carry were needed too. ...more
Alexa Marshall
-Content Area Crossover: Science (Earth Science)

-Twin Text Title: One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia by Miranda Paul, published in 2015

Ada's Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay and One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia have many similarities that I thought made them good twin texts. They both had two female protagonists living in countries outside of the United States dealing with trash piling up in
Jennifer Pletcher
Feb 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is the true story of a little girl who grew up in Cateura, Paraguay, in a landfill. She always wanted to play the violin, but in this part of the world, a violin would cost more than a house. One day, a music teacher named Favio Chavez came to the area. He brought with him the few instruments he had. Not enough to go around, he - and the folks in the landfill - went through the trash and found what they needed to make various instruments. Thus, the Recycled Orchestra was born. The children ...more
Perssis Namour
Jan 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An endearing hearty warming story of over coming life's obstacles of living in a landfill slum. Adults work fifteen hour days digging through trash in hopes of finding: carboard, plastic, or a discarded item that can be fixed and sold. Families survive on two dollars a day! Kids are not allowed to work in the landfill till they are fifteen however the more hands to help carry to better. So most kids work or turn to gangs. I

One family has a love of music. The grandmother sees a posting for free v
Rebecca Muller
Jan 29, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: diverse-lit
Ada is a young girl living in one of the poorest area of our world, Cateura, Paraguay. The poverty of her town is matched by the growing danger of desperate teenagers. This books tells the true tale of how innovation and dedication can change the world. Instruments made from recycled objects found in the garbage dump, which is Ada's backyard, become instruments. Those instruments become hope.
I recommend this book for all grade levels! It would be amazing to see what new instruments students cou
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I spent years getting to know little kids as a children's book and magazine editor at Sesame Workshop, Nick Jr. and Scholastic. Now I write children's picture books full time. Best job ever!

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