2016 in [Book] Review Books Non-fiction Wednesday Nonfiction Picture Books Reading Themes

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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.”


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!

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

6 comments on “[Nonfiction Wednesday] Finding Glorious Music in Recycled Materials: Ada’s Violin

  1. lindabaie

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


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


  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!


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


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


  6. Pingback: [Saturday Reads] Favourite Titles Across GatheringBooks’ 2017 Reading Themes – Gathering Books

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