Playing at the Border

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  • Regular price $21.99


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.