Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl's Courage Changed Music

by Margarita Engle

Other authorsRafael López (Illustrator)
Hardcover, 2015

Call number

E E

Publication

HMH Books for Young Readers (2015), Edition: Illustrated, 48 pages

Description

Biography & Autobiography. Juvenile Nonfiction. Music. HTML: Girls cannot be drummers. Long ago on an island filled with music, no one questioned that rule�??until the drum dream girl. In her city of drumbeats, she dreamed of pounding tall congas and tapping small bongós. She had to keep quiet. She had to practice in secret. But when at last her dream-bright music was heard, everyone sang and danced and decided that both girls and boys should be free to drum and dream. Inspired by the childhood of Millo Castro Zaldarriaga, a Chinese-African-Cuban girl who broke Cuba's traditional taboo against female drummers, Drum Dream Girl tells an inspiring true story for dreamers everywhere.

User reviews

LibraryThing member Sullywriter
A beautifully illustrated story based on the life of Millo Castro Zaldarriaga who breaks Cuba's traditional taboo against female drummers and becomes a world-famous musician.
LibraryThing member wichitafriendsschool
Girls cannot be drummers. Long ago on an island filled with music, no one questioned that rule—until the drum dream girl. In her city of drumbeats, she dreamed of pounding tall congas and tapping small bongós. She had to keep quiet. She had to practice in secret. But when at last her
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dream-bright music was heard, everyone sang and danced and decided that both girls and boys should be free to drum and dream. Inspired by the childhood of Millo Castro Zaldarriaga, a Chinese-African-Cuban girl who broke Cuba's traditional taboo against female drummers, Drum Dream Girl tells an inspiring true story for dreamers everywhere.
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LibraryThing member ccampeaux
The pictures in this book show a lot of emotion and passion women have toward music.
LibraryThing member pataustin
Star-filled night skies with colorful creatures and flowers invite readers in to the drum dream girl’s story–a story of longing. Only at home did the young girl drum out rhythms on the furniture; only at home could she dare to play conga drums and bongo drums where everyone believed that only
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boys should play drums. Lopez’s hot orange palette sizzles where men play drums at outdoor cafes and glows in capturing the drum girl’s dreams. When the girl’s father finally recognizes her talent and gets her a teacher, those dreams are realized. Engle credits the inspiration for her poem to Millo Castrol Zaldarriaga, a Chinese-African-Cuban girl who in the 1930s “broke Cuba’s traditional taboo against female drummers” (unp). Lyrical language ripples off the page, making this a lovely read aloud.
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LibraryThing member carrier3
This is an inspirational story of determination as a little girl never gives up on her dream to be a drummer in a village where only boys are allowed to be drummers. This is a great example of gender equality, an important lesson in today’s society. Also, the illustrations are outstanding.
LibraryThing member cbl_tn
A young Cuban girl dreams of playing the drums. Her older sisters encourage her dreams, and they offer her a place in their all-girl band. However, her father believes that only boys should play drums, and he will not allow her to play them. Eventually he relents and permits her to take lessons.
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She becomes Cuba's first female drummer, but not its last.

This story is based on the life of Millo Castro Zaldarriaga, Cuba's first female drummer. The story is incomplete. It doesn't explain why girls couldn't be drummers but they could play other instruments in an all-girl band. What was different about drums? It also doesn't explain her father's change of heart. The colorful illustrations are eye-catching, and the details match the text. This will be popular with young girls who aspire to participate in traditionally male activities.
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LibraryThing member gmorgan14
I really enjoyed this book and I think it would bring a lot of cultural diversity into my class library. One idea that I had for this book was to use it to show students that they can accomplish what they set their eyes on. Just because there are some social norms that seem to limit them, doesn't
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mean they can't do something that they are passionate about.
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LibraryThing member SmuckersLewis
Inspiring true story about a girl going after her dreams. Colorful illustrations will capture the hearts and minds of young and old alike.
LibraryThing member Dipodomy
Drum Dream Girl is set in Cuba in 1932 and is about the first female drummer in Cuba. The book shows an example of the frustration caused by gender inequality and the power of perusing your dreams in spite of inequality. Ultimately it ends with the revelation that by prohibiting women the culture
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was limiting itself and society changing for the better. The book has some good information about Cuban culture at that time, especially around music and drums. Beautiful, vibrant art.
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LibraryThing member nbmars
How many girls still grow up being told that “girls can’t do that”? I know I was - not by my parents, but by others, who discouraged me from pursuing my dreams.

This is a story inspired by a Chinese-African-Cuban girl, Millo Castro Zaldarriaga, who never gave up her own dream of being a
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drummer, and succeeded in breaking Cuba’s traditional taboo against female drummers, becoming, at age ten, the first female to play drums publicly in Cuba. Millo was a world-famous musician by the 1930’s, even, at age 15, playing her bongo drums at the New York birthday celebration for U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt.

The story is told in free verse style, echoing the music that courses through her head and heart:

"Her hands seemed to fly
as they rippled
rapped
and pounded
all the rhythms
of her drum dreams.”

The folk-art illustrations were made by Rafael López in acrylic paint on wood board. All the images of a tropical paradise that dominated ideas of Cuba before the Communist revolution come to vibrant life in a riot of sun-drenched color. Like Chagall, López uses the metaphor of flight to show dreams, with butterflies and birds recurring elements in the pictures even when the little girl herself is not launching into the air. Other characters in the pictures reflect Cuba’s multicultural society, as does of course, Millo herself.

Evaluation: The inspirational story and gorgeous pictures will keep kids (suggested age is 4-8) paging through this book over and over again.
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LibraryThing member JenW1
The true story of a young girl from Cuba who wanted to play the drums and would not give up, despite opposition from every corner. The story is inspiring, but the illustrations are the big hit here!
LibraryThing member Mimarler
An inspiring island story about a girl who bravely dreams about playing drums against cultural expectations, and her path and success from practicing.
LibraryThing member williamlong33
This book tells the story of a girl who wants to be a drummer but is constantly told that she cannot because she is a girl. Even though people try to discourage her, she continues to dream of being a drummer until she finally gets her chance. This book offers a great opportunity to discuss gender
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differences and also the importance of holding on to the dreams that inspire you, even if people try to discourage you.
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LibraryThing member Jahnavee
A story of a musical island where girls were not allowed to play drums, but there lived the drum dream girl. She dreamed of playing the drums. And Drum dreamer proved that girls can play drums too.
LibraryThing member AbigailAdams26
Inspired by the story of Millo Castro Zaldarriaga, a Chinese-African-Cuban girl who dreamed of being a drummer in a time when that occupation was reserved for boys and men, Cuban-American author Margarita Engle spins a poetic narrative about a "drum dream girl" who cannot quell her natural impulse
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to drum. Hearing beats all around her, in the natural and human worlds, and in her own heartbeat, the girl must dream and drum in secret, until her father finally relents and has a teacher listen to her. Amazed at what he hears, the teacher takes her on as a pupil, eventually getting her her first gig as a drummer...

Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl's Courage Changed Music was awarded the 2016 Pura Belpré Award for Illustration, and it's not difficult to see why! Rafael López' artwork is absolutely gorgeous here, utilizing a deep, vivid color palette, and creating beautifully stylized scenes that capture the energy and music of the text. That text is just as beautifully realized. It is poetic, allusive, rhythmic - in short, everything it should be to capture a dreaming drummer's tale. A brief afterword gives more information about Castro Zaldarriaga, who is never named in the main text. Recommended to anyone looking for beautifully-illustrated picture-books, to those who enjoy more poetic picture-book texts, and to readers searching for children's stories about girl musicians and/or Cuban musical pioneers.
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LibraryThing member AnnaWaffles
I don't think the kids really "got" it, but personally I found this book to be lovely.
LibraryThing member LibroLindsay
A Margarita Engle picture book, people!!!!!

Not surprisingly, I love the text--I adore Engle's use of poetry to introduce readers to various achievements by Cubans. In writing a picture book, she hit the jackpot with Rafael Lopez. His illustrations are bold and bright, perfect for reflecting the
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tone of the story and the country.
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LibraryThing member ppolanco
Vibrant, exciting and inspiring picture book. This to me was an influential and empowering book about a young girl following her dream of being a drummer. I think this is a good book to introduce to children and discuss dreams and going against "norms" and following your heart.
LibraryThing member MarlenePreciado
This is a good book to read to children. This book will teach the reader that it doesn't matter what people tell you, you can achieve anything. I think this book is a good book to read to children so that they can learn not to underestimate people based on their gender. Great book!
LibraryThing member jennybeast
It feels like a fairy story, and then you realize its based on a real person, which adds to the wonder of it. Also a solid book on drumming, with good read-aloud noises.

Awards

Commonwealth Club of California Book Awards (Finalist — Juvenile — 2015)
Triple Crown Awards (Nominee — 2017)
Georgia Children's Book Award (Finalist — Picturebook — 2017)
Chickadee Award (Nominee — 2017)
Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature (Honor Book — Picture Book — 2016)

Pages

48

ISBN

0544102290 / 9780544102293

UPC

884906833920

Lexile

L
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