Picture books are given formidable tasks to perform for their young readers – to entertain, to offer new experiences, to expand emotional vocabulary and empathy, to explore their own worlds or the worlds beyond.
Everything about this book is important. The wonderful vision of one man to form an orchestra, the making of instruments from materials found in the garbage, the possibility of a different life for these young orchestra members and the simply stunning illustrations.
Start with this little film. You will hear the wonderful sounds these children can make using instruments made from an amazing assortment of recycled materials. Here is a report from US Sixty Minutes.
Ada's grandmother sees an advertisement for music lessons. There are no music instruments. There are so many children who want to learn. Favio Chavez is not defeated. He enlists help to make instruments from the junk dropped daily at the dump near their town and so the orchestra begins.
This book is based on the true life story of Ada Rios and the children in her town of Cateura in Paraguay. You can read more about this at the back of the book along with further reading and web links.
I would pair this book with Magic Trash, The paper house and the senior novel Trash by Andy Mulligan.