In Cateura, Paraguay, a town built on a landfill, music teacher Favio Chávez longed to help the families living and working amid the hills of trash. How could he help them find hope for the future? Favio started giving music lessons to Cateura’s children, but soon he encountered a serious problem. He had more students than instruments!

But Favio had a strange and wonderful idea: what if this recyclers’ town had its own recycled orchestra? Favio and Colá, a brilliant local carpenter, began to experiment with transforming garbage into wonder.
Old glue canisters became violins; paint cans became violas; drainpipes became flutes and saxophones. With repurposed instruments in their hands, the children of Cateura could fill their community—and the world—with the sounds of a better tomorrow.

Based on an incredible true story, Building an Orchestra of Hope offers an unforgettable picture of human dignity reclaimed from unexpected sources. Carmen Oliver’s inviting words and Luisa Uribe’s dynamic illustrations create a stirring tribute to creativity,
resilience, and the transformative nature of hope.

Table of contents

About the Book and the Creators p. 3
Meet the Orchestra p. 4
Who is Favio Chavez? p. 4
Discussion Questions p. 5
Vocabulary p. 6
Exploring the Craft of Writing p. 6
Writing Prompts (with Common Core Connections) p. 7
STEM Activities (NGSS linked standards) p. 8
Social Studies Connections p. 9
Other Activities p. 9
Picture Book Text Set p. 10
Further Reading and Study p. 10
Q & A with Carmen Oliver p. 10
Printables for Activities pp. 12–17
Definitions p. 18