Ada’s Violin:The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay
Written By: Susan Hood
Illustrated Bt: Sally Wern Comport
Published: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers – New York, NY, May 3rd, 2016
Awards: NCTE Orbis Pictus Award 2017, Recommended Book New York Public Library – 2016, Best Books for Kids – Nonfiction
Themes: As this nonfiction picture book story is told, one may think nothing could ever come of a poor community in Paraguay – especially not an orchestra. With this tale, Susan Hood explores the themes of overcoming hardship and learning to embrace what is set before you because one may never know when something small turns into something outstanding.
Summary: A young girl names Ada lived in a city made of trash. With gangs and violence ever present in her community her grandmother finds an outlet for her granddaughter – music. Ada begins music lessons although there are hardly enough instruments to go around. However, the towns people embrace this opportunity and begin to make instruments out of trash. Ada loves her violin made of wood, aluminum, and a fork – and soon the unexpected is about to occur as her recycled orchestra begins to make music.
Response: Describe the setting. Was the setting essential to the plot of the book? Explain why or why not.
Although nonfiction, the setting of this novel, I feel, really tells and has the reader embrace the story for all that it is worth. The setting is Cateura, a town made of trash in Paraguay. This town is in an extreme state of poverty, where violence and the lack of job opportunity plagues the town and cripples the younger generations. However, some try to make the best of the situations and provide music lessons to the children of the city. Eventually, those music lessons result in an over popular orchestra touring the world. Who would have ever thought, that would come from an impoverished city like Cateura?
The setting plays a pivotal roll in the plot of the book – because no one would ever imagine that something so successful would come from a place such as this. The people (children and adults) made this possible through their diligence to not let the norms of their society corrupt them. The setting makes the story all more powerful, and truly inspiring.