Playing at the Border A Story of Yo-Yo Ma

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playing at the border

Joanna Ho’s lyrical writing and Teresa Martinez’s vibrant art weave together to tell an inspiring story of Yo-Yo Ma, who challenges conventions, expectations, and beliefs in order to build bridges to unite communities, people, and cultures. A beautiful picture book biography to enjoy and share in the home and the classroom.

Before Yo-Yo Ma became one of the most renowned and celebrated cellists, he wanted to play the double bass. But it was too big for his four-year-old hands. Over time, Ma honed his amazing talent, and his music became a reflection of his own life between borders, cultures, disciplines, and generations.

Since then, he has recorded over a hundred albums, won nineteen Grammy Awards, performed for eight American presidents, and received the National Medal of the Arts and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, just to name a few accomplishments.

Staying true to himself, Yo-Yo Ma performed at the US-Mexico border at the Rio Grande on April 13, 2019, as part of his multi-continent “Bach Project” tour to prove a point—through music, we can build bridges rather than walls between different cultures.---from the publisher

40 pages                                          978-0062994547                                    Ages 4-8

Keywords:  biography, music, musician, role models, immigration, power of the individual, role of the individual, respecting others, diversity, Asian American author, 4 year old, 5 year old, 6 year old, 7 year old, 8 year old, Mexico US Border

*******

"Feet planted on the soil of one nation, eyes gazing at the shores of another, Yo-Yo Ma played a solo accompanied by an orchestra of wind and water."

On April 13.2019, on the  US banks of the Rio Grande he played a piece of music hundreds of years old to an audience on the opposite banks in Mexico to show that building bridges is so much better than building walls.

But this is more than just a story of one man playing a cello alone to be heard by a few - this is the story of a renowned cellist, himself a blend of cultures as he was born to Chinese parents in France and raised in the US. Because his fingers were too small for a double bass, as a little child he chose the cello - and its particular blend of international origins is woven into both the story and the music.  And from its strings comes the music dancing 'over rocks and rivers and walls into the sky", born in Germany 300 years before, lost,  then found in Spain, and renewed in the US to unite those who had once been one but who were now separated...

Connecting cultures and countries through music was Yo-Yo Ma's ambition when he began the Bach Project in 2018, reviving the rare cello solos which "create the sound of harmonising melodies on one instrument" there was a much symbolism as there was entertainment on that day in 2019 when the people of two nations momentarily joined together again, in defiance of the rhetoric and actions of the then POTUS. And in Johanna Ho's text, which is as lyrical as the music itself, we discover that there were many more than just two nations involved in making it happen.

Recommended by:  Barbara Braxton,  Teacher Librarian, New South Wales AUSTRALIA

See more of her recommendations:

500 Hats http://500hats.edublogs.org/

The Bottom Shelf http://thebottomshelf.edublogs.org/

Storybook Cushions http:// bit.ly/storybook_cushions

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