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Playing at the Border: A Story of Yo-Yo Ma (Hardcover)
The New York Times bestselling author of Eyes That Kiss in the Corners, Joanna Ho, delivers a poignant picture book biography about the musician Yo-Yo Ma, immigration, and using music to build bridges.
Winner of the Ezra Jack Keats Award Honor * Featured in Book Riot’s Must Read September 2021 List
“By examining the life of Ma, whose story resonates with courage, persistence, and unity, Ho inspires readers to break barriers of their own.” —Horn Book (starred review)
“Everyone can benefit from Ho’s message of music bringing calm and peace to the world.” —Booklist
“Hopeful and lovely.” —Kirkus
“An ambitious portrait of a storied humanitarian with a clear message of advocacy.” —Publishers Weekly
Joanna Ho’s lyrical writing and Teresa Martinez’s vibrant art weave together to tell an inspiring story of Yo-Yo Ma, who challenges conventions, expectations, and beliefs in order to build bridges to unite communities, people, and cultures. A beautiful picture book biography to enjoy and share in the home and the classroom.
Before Yo-Yo Ma became one of the most renowned and celebrated cellists, he wanted to play the double bass. But it was too big for his four-year-old hands. Over time, Ma honed his amazing talent, and his music became a reflection of his own life between borders, cultures, disciplines, and generations.
Since then, he has recorded over a hundred albums, won nineteen Grammy Awards, performed for eight American presidents, and received the National Medal of the Arts and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, just to name a few accomplishments.
Staying true to himself, Yo-Yo Ma performed at the US-Mexico border at the Rio Grande on April 13, 2019, as part of his multi-continent “Bach Project” tour to prove a point—through music, we can build bridges rather than walls between different cultures.
About the Author
Joanna Ho is passionate about equity in books and education. She has been an English teacher, a dean, and a professional development mastermind. She is currently the vice principal of a high school in the San Francisco Bay Area. Homemade chocolate chip cookies, outdoor adventures, and dance parties with her kids make Joanna’s eyes crinkle into crescent moons. Her books for young readers include Eyes That Kiss in the Corners. Visit her at joannahowrites.com and @JoannaHoWrites.
Teresa Martinez lived in a small town in the north of Mexico during her childhood, playing in the river, walking with the cows, and feeding the neighbors’ pigs. When her family decided to move to a bigger city, she became a very shy girl at school. Drawing helped her connect with other children. Listening to music has helped her to imagine different places and times and has been a great source of inspiration. When she grew up, she studied graphic design and traveled to Italy to learn traditional painting techniques. Today she lives in Puerto Vallarta, drawing for kids as she did during her school days, and that makes her happy. You can visit her online at behance.net/teresamtz.
“By examining the life of Ma, whose story resonates with courage, persistence, and unity, Ho inspires readers to break barriers of their own.” — Horn Book (starred review)
“A beautiful tribute to an award-winning musician with a heart much larger than the number of albums he has created and accolades he has garnered.” — New York Journal of Books
“Everyone can benefit from Ho’s message of music bringing calm and peace to the world.” — Booklist
“Hopeful and lovely.” — Kirkus Reviews
“An ambitious portrait of a storied humanitarian with a clear message of advocacy.” — Publishers Weekly