Illustrator: Sally Wern Comport
This is a story about Ada Ríos who lives in Cateura, Paraguay. This is an extremely poor town where many adults (some children) work in the landfill, digging through the garbage in hopes of finding something to sell or recycle. Ada’s Violin is based on a true story when a man comes into the town for his job as an environmental engineer and falls in love with the people…so much so that he wants to change the way the children think about their futures in such a town. He desires to give them meaning and hope to their everyday existence in a town based around a landfill.
At the end of the book, a large chunk of the true story is there, teaching us that Favio Chávez comes to town to train the gancheros (“gleaners” who eke out a living by finding and trading recyclable materials) about safety practices while working in the landfill. He got to know the people of this village. His concerns for their children led him to teach music to the children in order to try to keep them out of gangs and away from trouble. As a musician himself, his interest, along with several others, spurred a whole new way for this village and others like it in Paraguay. Without enough instruments, he enlisted some of the men to help him make violins, flutes, clarinets, guitars, and percussion instruments from items of the landfill.
The children each had an instrument then and attended practice on Saturdays with home practice in between. After a time, they began to sound better and better. The community began to hear sweet sounds coming from their children’s Saturday orchestra practices. This led to hope for all even amidst a town filled with the stench of a landfill. As they grew to sound like an orchestra, they were asked to give concerts around their nearby villages and then across Paraguay. They now have been in many countries. Money has come in and has helped change the community too. New homes have been built away from flood-prone areas. The adults have gained pride through their children; the children have been given hope through their accomplishments.
Favio Chávez began with ten children. Over two hundred fifty have participated in it as of the writing of this book. This one orchestra in Cateura has been a model for other children around the world.
There is a documentary about the orchestra: http://www.landfillharmonicmovie.com/
Frontline did a story on the village and orchestra in 2007.
CBS/60 Minutes did a segment in 2013 on them called The Recyclers: From Trash Comes Triumph
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yDQ6c_bLr2o ; there are many more on YouTube.
Age Range: 4 – 8 Years
SUSAN HOOD has been in the world of children’s stories for many years. She was a children’s book editor at Sesame Workshop, and a children’s magazine editor at Scholastic and Instructor Magazine, the Children’s Content Director of Nick Jr. Magazine.
While working as an editor, she wrote many children’s books, including board books, concept books, interactive books, nonfiction and beginning readers. She has published books with Disney, Fisher Price, Penguin Putnam, Scholastic, Sesame Workshop and Simon & Schuster, to name a few. In addition to writing for children, she has written for parents and early childhood educators in The New York Times, Nickelodeon’s ParentsConnect, Sesame Street Parent’s Guide, Working Mother and more.
Susan lives with her family in coastal Connecticut, and enjoys spending the summer sailing with her husband along the coast of Maine. You can find Susan @ http://www.susanhoodbooks.com/home
SALLY WERN COMPORT has been drawing since she was a girl, making her first income when she was 15 by drawing furniture for newspaper ads for the local franchise of Ethan Allen. Since then, she has been using her skills in many different ways.
Comport is a Summa Cum Laude graduate of the Columbus College of Art and Design; she earned her graduate degree from Syracuse University. She guest lectures and teaches at Maryland Institute College of Art. She founded W/C Studio Inc., a commercial art studio. She also established Art at Large Inc. to produce large scale commissioned original works for interior and exterior wall spaces for commercial, residential and institutional clients.
In 2004 she cofounded a Public Art initiative and subsequent non-profit organization called ArtWalk and is currently serving as Curator, Artist, and Designer for that community organization.
Her work is included in the permanent collection of the Museum of American Illustration in New York. She can be found @ http://sallycomport.com/
- ISBN-13: 9781481430951
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
- Publication date: 05/03/2016
- Pages: 40
- Product dimensions: 10.30(w) x 10.20(h) x 0.50(d)