One day, a young artist named Mira meets a muralist, and alongside their neighbors they transform the “heart of a grey city” into Maybe Something Beautiful (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $16.99). It just so happens that Rafael López, the illustrator of this true story about San Diego’s Urban Art Trail, is the very same muralist whose bright and colorful work inspired this book. F. Isabel Campoy and Theresa Howell tell the story of a neighborhood transformed by joyous collaboration. López uses vibrant acrylics with collaged patterning to create both the cityscape and characters with plenty of personality. After the magical conclusion, the endnotes describe in more detail the true story that inspired this amazing book. Ages 4-8.

Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed a Neighborhood Cover Image
ISBN: 9780544357693
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: HMH Books for Young Readers - April 12th, 2016

In Ada’s Violin (Simon and Schuster, $17.99), Susan Hood tells the powerful story of the Recycled Orchestra of Cateura, Paraguay. Cateura is a trash dump, with thousands of adults and children working as trash-pickers and “recyclers.” It was there that Favio Chávez, an environmental engineer, started a music program for kids and enlisted a recycling crew to create instruments out of scraps of all sorts. See Ada Ríos, one of the first children to join the program, and the Orchestra achieve success with tours, YouTube videos, a 60 Minutes feature, and a documentary. Sally Wern Comport uses pencil and acrylic for her two-page narrative illustrations, also collaging scraps of trash to symbolize Ada’s surroundings. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the book will be donated to the Orchestra. Ages 4-8.

Ada's Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay Cover Image
By Susan Hood, Sally Wern Comport (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781481430951
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers - May 3rd, 2016

A wonderful tribute to the iconic American jazz musician, Just a Lucky So and So (Holiday House, $16.95) offers a glimpse into the childhood of Louis Armstrong. Nicknamed Satchelmouth, Armstrong grew up in a section of New Orleans called The Battlefield. Though poor, he was surrounded by a loving family and local musicians whom he idolized. When a series of scrapes with police landed him in a boys’ home, Armstrong overcame the separation, devoted himself to music, and returned to his neighborhood as a musical dynamo. Lesa Cline-Ransome’s lilting, musical text is accompanied by James Ransome’s magnificent watercolor-and-pencil illustrations. Ages 5-8.

Just a Lucky So and So: The Story of Louis Armstrong Cover Image
ISBN: 9780823434282
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Holiday House - February 27th, 2016