Ada Ríos is a real girl who lives in the South American slum of Cateura next to a landfill of garbage in Paraguay. Ada’s Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay by Susan Hood, illustrated by Sally Wern Comport beautifully tells her inspirational story.
Recycled Orchestra in Paraguay
In Ada’s world, the adults make a living by selling plastic bottles and other recyclables that they find in the landfills and often the kids roam the streets and get into trouble.
Ada’s grandmother learns about free music lessons taught by environmental engineer named Favio Chávez. He wants to give the slum children hope and a purpose for the future.
Ada goes to the lessons and learns there aren’t enough instruments for all the kids. Fortunately, the adults, especially a man named Nicolás Gómez, are creative and invent instruments from everyday things — water pipes into flutes, packing crates into guitars, and so on. (Amazing, right!?)
Ada chooses to play a violin made from a paint can and wooden crate. She practices and becomes one of the star musicians in the Recycled Orchestra.
I think you’ll love this inspiring true story of hope and the power of the arts as much as me.
Make Your Own Recycled Instruments
Stick Harmonica from Housing a Forest
You’ll need popsicle sticks, rubber bands, toothpicks, and a piece of paper.
Pan Flute from Deceptively Educational
Cut the plastic straws different lengths to hear different sounds.
Matchbook Guitar from Martha Stewart
Stretch rubber bands around a matchbook box. Pluck to play.
Maracas and Shakers from Lets Play Kids Music
Recycle thick bottles and add in different shaking supplies from rice to beans. Then cover with contact paper and decorate.
Kazoos from Handmade Kids Art
Wax paper, rubber bands, and cardboard tubes . . .
Drums from Lewis Music Studio
Tissue Paper Guitar from All Kids Network
This is an easy instrument of a tissue box and rubber bands.
Pin Strummers from Piikea Street
Pluck bobby pins to make a fun sound in this thumb piano.
Stick Instrument from Two Daloo
Shake your stick instrument to hear the jingles.