Ada’s Violin

Hood, Susan. Ada’s Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay. New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2016. 

Ada lives in a poverty-stricken town that serves as the main garbage dump for the capital city of Paraguay. She – along with thousands of other residents – spend their days picking through the trash to find things to recycle and sell. This poignant and inspiring story tells how a man sent to teach safety practices decided to teach the children how to make musical instruments. The orchestra he formed has now performed around the world!  Dramatically illustrated by Sally Wern Comport, this true story is recommended for readers 7 years old and up. 

More stories from South America

More stories of musicians

More stories of poverty

Will you still love me?

Zuppardi, Sam. Jack’s Worry. Somerville, Mass.: Candlewick Press, 2016.
Jack loves playing the trumpet. And he’s looking forward to his first concert. But then the worries start. What if he makes a mistake? What if his mother won’t love him anymore? A jaunty font and zany full-page illustrations help make this a picture book sure to reassure worriers of all ages.

More stories about musicians HERE

Note to parents: 

How can young adults believe that they have to cheat to please their parents?

But they do.
By far, the most common reason why middle school students cheat, I’ve noticed, is that they want to live up to their parents’ expectations. Not because they particularly care about getting high grades for themselves. Rarely because they want to impress their peers. They cheat because they can’t get high grades honestly and are afraid their parents will be disappointed. Once they are reassured that their parents will still love them…
“You will still love him even if he doesn’t get a high mark, right?” I ask the parent. In front of the child.
“Of course,” comes the puzzled reply.
“Well, this would be a good time to tell him.”
… once people are reassured that they are loved, everything changes. They relax. Smile. And start to enjoy learning. Everything changes.

Why is this picture book appropriate for readers of all ages?

It’s funny. And we all can use a laugh in life.

It speaks to the heart. And we all need reassurance once in a while.