Symphony for a Broken Orchestra by Amy Ignatow, illustrated by Gwen Millward

Published by Walker Books US

Summary:  Kids love to play music, but what happens if their instruments break and families can’t afford to fix them?  Unfortunately, they often get locked away, and the students have to put their music education on hold.  Robert Blackson, the artistic director of Philadelphia’s Temple Contemporary, discovered some of these broken instruments in a closed city school.  He had the idea to get musicians to see what kind of music they could create with them, and the Symphony for a Broken Orchestra was born, using the money raised from the performance to buy new instruments for kids.  Includes an author’s note with additional information and a link to hear the performance as well as a note from Robert Blackson.  40 pages; grades 1-4.

Pros:  This true-life story provides plenty of inspiration and humor (the kids torturing those around them trying to play their broken instruments) with cute and colorful illustrations.  The performance is worth a listen. 

Cons:  Those not familiar with Philly’s Mummer’s Parade may not understand the reference made to the boy playing a broken drum.

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