A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Gives some history of Yo-Yo Ma's cello, music, and life. Highlights a particular performance on th eU.S.-Mexico border in 2019.
Build bridges not walls. Even though people can be from different cultures and traditions, we are all the same. Music can remind us that though we can be different, we are also the same.
Positive Role Models
Presents a quick biography of Yo-Yo Ma's accomplishments. The musician inspires people all over the world, and continues to work toward bringing people together.
Yo-Yo Ma was born in France to Chinese immigrant parents, and was then raised in America. A tribute to his "Bach Project" tour and one of his performances at the U.S.-Mexico border in 2019. As part of his "Days of Action," Ma's performance was dedicated to bridging cultures, communities, and people.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Playing at the Border: A story of Yo-Yo Ma is a beautiful children's picture book, illustrated by Teresa Martinez, that recalls Ma's performance at the U.S.-Mexico border in 2019 that was dedicated to connecting different cultures and communities. Author Joanna Ho (Eyes that Kiss in the Corners) manages to pack in lots of information about Ma while depicting his performance. Ho notes Ma's career accomplishments, how he got into cello in the first place, and how his $2.5 million cello was crafted from parts and pieces from all over the world. The primary message is about building bridges rather than walls. With a strong positive message of unity and togetherness, and a real role model who embodies the book's message, this is one's a winner.
Is It Any Good?
This biographical picture book has superb art direction and illustrations and a positive message about bring people together. Author Joanna Ho does a great job at celebrating Ma's life and career, and specifically his performance at the U.S.-Mexico border in 2019. Part of his Bach Project (36 performances around the world) that aims to show how culture connects us, Ho shows how Ma's activism has built and continues to build bridges that bring different cultures, communities, and people together. Music can be one such bridge builder, and Ma's performance shows how art and music can impact and affect people all over the world.
While the art and messages in Playing at the Border: A Story of Yo-Yo Ma are fantastic, some beginning readers might find some of the pages have too much text and can be difficult, with some big and sophisticated words, including boundary, prodigy, memorized, presidential, intersections, rediscovered, centuries, improbable, symphony.
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Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.