Ada’s Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay

You’ve heard about rags to riches, how about trash to treasure? Be inspired by the incredible true story of the Recycled Orchestra of Cateura, Paraguay when author Susan Hood comes to talk about Ada’s Violin. In a small town built on a landfill, musical instruments were crafted from trash and an orchestra was born. Hood worked directly with the Recycled Orchestra to create her book and plans to donate a portion of her earnings to the Orchestra. 

Join us on Tuesday, May 3 (the publication day of the book) at 4:30 p.m., in the Rotary Room at the Main Library, 1080 Old Post Road. Books will be available for purchase and signing through Fairfield University Bookstore. Registration is requested.

Ada’s Violin unfolds through the eyes of Ada Ríos who had long dreamed of playing an instrument.  In her small, poor town doing so was never an option, until a local engineer, Favio Chávez, had an ingenious idea.  What if he turned some of the garbage—the town’s only resource—into instruments?  Using scraps of dirty oil cans, jars, wood, forks, and other junk in the landfill, he and other locals built beautiful musical instruments—violins, flutes, cellos and drums.  From this ingenuity, the Recycled Orchestra was formed, with the local children learning and performing Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven.  As the children fine-tuned their skills, they started to garner attention.  Ada and her fellow members have now played concerts throughout their home country, South America, and the world. The Orchestra has been profiled on the television show 60 Minutes and is also the subject of a documentary, The Landfill Harmonic.

Susan Hood has written more than 200 picture books.  Spike, The Mixed-Up Monster won the 2013 International Latino Award. Her picture book, The Tooth Mouse, was named a 2013 Best Book of the Year by Bank Street and the Cooperative Children’s Book Center.  Prior to becoming an author, Susan was a children’s magazine editor at Scholastic and Instructor Magazine, a book editor at Sesame Workshop, and the Children’s Content Director of Nick Jr. Magazine.  Ada’s Violin is her first nonfiction picture book. ( She lives in Connecticut.

All programs at the Fairfield Public Library are free. For more information about this and other programs, visit or call 203-256-3160. Follow the Fairfield Public Library on Twitter at

Recycled Orchestra students

Recycled Orchestra of Cateura, Paraguay

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