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

Last updated Friday, March 2, 2018

Author: Susan Hood
Date of Publication:
ISBN: 1481430955
Grade Level: 3rd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Mar. 2018

Synopsis: This is the extraordinary true tale of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay, an orchestra made up of children playing instruments built from recycled trash. Ada Ros 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 Chvez 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.

Note to readers:
•  See last two pages for Author's note and videos of the Orchestra performing

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Where is Paraguay? (In South America between Argentina, Brazil and Bolivia. The official languages are Spanish and Guarani.)
•  Do you play a musical instrument? Do you know someone who does?


•  Landfill- a system of trash and garbage disposal in which the waste is buried between layers of earth
•  Ton- 2000 pounds, or a large number/amount
•  Slum- a thickly populated section especially of a city marked by crowding, dirty run-down housing, and generally poor living conditions
•  Crescendo- a gradual increase and peak especially in the loudness of music
•  Bodega- a small grocery store

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  What is recycling? Do you or your class recycle?
•  Do you listen to music? Who are your favorite artists?
•  How does listening to music make you feel? Is it different with different types of music (fast, loud, slow, no words, etc)
•  Have you performed in front of people? How did you feel?

Craft ideas:
•  Make an instrument out of recycled items! (drum, rain stick, etc- see Pinterest link)
•  Draw a picture of an instrument
•  Check our craft ideas on Pinterest!

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don't have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!