[Nonfiction Wednesday] Finding Glorious Music in Recycled Materials: Ada’s Violin

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Myra here.

We are delighted to join the Nonfiction Picture Book meme 2017 hosted by Alyson Beecher @ Kid Lit Frenzy. We would also be linking our nonfiction choices with our reading themes throughout the year.

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It is our first Nonfiction Wednesday post for the year. I am glad to see that there are so many amazing nonfiction titles published in 2016 that we can not wait to share here with you.


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

Written by: Susan Hood lllustrated by: Sally Wern Comport
Published by: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2016
ISBN: 1481430955 (ISBN13: 9781481430951)
Borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.

This nonfiction picturebook title has been receiving a great deal of love and for good reason. As soon as I started reading this book, I was immediately reminded of a pop band in the Philippines called Smokey Mountain formed sometime in 1989 – coined for a large landfill located in Manila, Philippines.

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I am not unfamiliar with the concept of finding beauty or music or even magic and beauty in trash or landfills. That is simply the way of the world in a lot of developing countries – along with the celebration of grit and resilience, similar to what can be seen in Ada’s Violin.

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The Author’s Note was particularly compelling with a quote from Favio Chavez, the environmental engineer sent to Cateura Paraguay to teach safety practices. The engineer decided to organize a music class that eventually became an orchestra: “The world sends us garbage. We send back music.”

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As the parent of a Music student, I find this to be an amazing story that shows how music does not necessarily need to be staggeringly expensive, as most people tend to think – it just needs to be beautiful and true. For teachers who wish to use this in the classroom, here is a link to a free downloadable nine-paged PDF created by the author herself.

I also found this youtube clip that would make a wonderful companion material to this nonfiction picturebook title. Enjoy!

  1. I love this book. The man who began to create the instruments was very creative, and hopeful, too. What a grand story!

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  2. I really enjoyed this book and the youtube video is a great visual to use with readers. Happy 2017 reading!

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  3. This is one of my favorites from 2016 as well. Thanks for sharing the youtube video. Will definitely share that with my students after we read the book!

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  4. Thanks for sharing the PDF. I wish I could see how teachers use book like this in their classrooms!

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  5. I really like the inspiring story behind this! 😀

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