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Drum Dream Girl – How One Girl’s Courage Changed Music by Margarita Engle

This book, based on a true story, teaches children about perseverance and following their dreams — even if those dreams don’t fit society’s standards.
The main character, known as Drum Dream Girl, would love to play the drum. However, on the island where she lives, girls are not allowed to play drums. Nevertheless she never stops dreaming about it and trying to make it happen. Finally her dad gives in to her wish and finds a teacher willing to teach girls. Her strength and courage opens the door for many girls to play the drums. The book is beautifully illustrated with lush, warm colors that reminded my students (and their teacher) of the island that we call home!

The engaging illustrations accompany rhythmic text evoking the drum
— clack of woodpecker beaks, comforting pat of her heartbeat!
The children were excited that “carnival” was mentioned — it’s one of their favorite celebrations.
These pages encouraged the kids to talk about how one person can be part of many different cultures and celebrate different holidays. The author is Chinese African-Cuban and the melting pot of her experience is represented perfectly with the dragon of the lunar year showing up at Carnival!
All the children were moved by Drum Dream Girl’s story.
It opened a wonderful conversation with boys and girls alike about their own dreams and how to hold tight to them. Their dreams might change the world!

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