Parents' Guide to

Playing at the Border: A Story of Yo-Yo Ma

By JK Sooja, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 5+

Cellist builds bridges in lovely tale of his life and work.

Playing at the Border: A Story of Yo-Yo Ma Poster Image

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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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