Pair with the suggested video links to experience the music of a remarkable, resilient cultural community.

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ADA'S VIOLIN

THE STORY OF THE RECYCLED ORCHESTRA OF PARAGUAY

Hood presents the story of a Paraguayan youth orchestra whose instruments are fashioned from garbage collected in the local landfill.

Cateura is, literally, “a town made of trash.” The dump for the capital city of Asunción, Cateura receives 1,500 tons of trash daily, and 2,500 families subsist there, with generations of gancheros scouring for recyclable materials like cardboard and plastic. Favio Chávez, an environmental engineer assigned to Cateura to teach the recyclers safety methods, began offering music lessons to children, to help keep them safe. He enlisted a carpenter’s expertise in creating instruments from salvaged materials. “They transformed oil drums into cellos, water pipes into flutes, and packing crates into guitars!” Hood’s narrative focuses on talented Ada Ríos, whose years of dedicated practice on a metal-and-wood violin parallel the orchestra’s ascendant fame in Paraguay and internationally. “Ada and her friends flew on their first airplane, stayed in their first hotel…and saw sights they never imagined.” Comport’s complex, digitally enhanced collages combine acrylics, drawing, and layered typographic elements, conveying both the oppressive omnipresence of garbage and the functional beauty of the handcrafted instruments. For a spread celebrating the music’s transforming effects, Comport renders musicians and gancheros in silhouette against the landfill, bathed in sunset pinks and golds.

Pair with the suggested video links to experience the music of a remarkable, resilient cultural community. (author’s note, websites, videos, quotation sources, photographs) (Informational picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 3, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3095-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2016

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Whimsy, intelligence, and a subtle narrative thread make this rise to the top of a growing list of self-love titles.

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YOU MATTER

Employing a cast of diverse children reminiscent of that depicted in Another (2019), Robinson shows that every living entity has value.

After opening endpapers that depict an aerial view of a busy playground, the perspective shifts to a black child, ponytails tied with beaded elastics, peering into a microscope. So begins an exercise in perspective. From those bits of green life under the lens readers move to “Those who swim with the tide / and those who don’t.” They observe a “pest”—a mosquito biting a dinosaur, a “really gassy” planet, and a dog whose walker—a child in a pink hijab—has lost hold of the leash. Periodically, the examples are validated with the titular refrain. Textured paint strokes and collage elements contrast with uncluttered backgrounds that move from white to black to white. The black pages in the middle portion foreground scenes in space, including a black astronaut viewing Earth; the astronaut is holding an image of another black youngster who appears on the next spread flying a toy rocket and looking lonely. There are many such visual connections, creating emotional interest and invitations for conversation. The story’s conclusion spins full circle, repeating opening sentences with new scenarios. From the microscopic to the cosmic, word and image illuminate the message without a whiff of didacticism.

Whimsy, intelligence, and a subtle narrative thread make this rise to the top of a growing list of self-love titles. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-2169-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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Cool and stylish.

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ADA TWIST, SCIENTIST

Her intellectual curiosity is surpassed only by her passion for science. But what to do about her messy experiments?

Ada is speechless until she turns 3. But once she learns how to break out of her crib, there’s no stopping the kinky-haired, brown-skinned girl. “She tore through the house on a fact-finding spree.” When she does start speaking, her favorite words are “why,” “how,” and “when.” Her parents, a fashion-forward black couple who sport a variety of trendy outfits, are dumbfounded, and her older brother can only point at her in astonishment. She amazes her friends with her experiments. Ada examines all the clocks in the house, studies the solar system, and analyzes all the smells she encounters. Fortunately, her parents stop her from putting the cat in the dryer, sending her instead to the Thinking Chair. But while there, she covers the wall with formulae. What can her parents do? Instead of punishing her passion, they decide to try to understand it. “It’s all in the heart of a young scientist.” Though her plot is negligible—Ada’s parents arguably change more than she does—Beaty delightfully advocates for girls in science in her now-trademark crisply rhyming text. Roberts’ illustrations, in watercolor, pen, and ink, manage to be both smart and silly; the page compositions artfully evoke the tumult of Ada’s curiosity, filling white backgrounds with questions and clutter.

Cool and stylish. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2137-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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