Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl's Courage Changed Music
Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl's Courage Changed Music
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Annotation: Follows a girl in the 1920s as she strives to become a drummer, despite being continually reminded that only boys play the drums, and that there has never been a female drummer in Cuba.
Catalog Number: #97433
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Copyright Date: 2015
Edition Date: 2015
Illustrator: Lopez, Rafael,
Pages: 48
Availability: Available
ISBN: 0-544-10229-0
ISBN 13: 978-0-544-10229-3
Dewey: E
LCCN: 2014015056
Dimensions: 26 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
A talented young girl with a passion for drumming dreams of playing music in this upbeat story based on the life of Cuban musician Millo Castro Zaldarriaga. Told repeatedly that girls cannot be drummers, she refuses to give up, practicing in secret and delighting in every bit of music around her. A visit to an open-minded music teacher results in lessons and, eventually, the opportunity to perform in public. Vibrant, warm, and hopeful, this expressive story shows the power of perseverance and importance of following your dreams. Engle's prose flows easily, with clean but evocative language that will be accessible to a range of young readers. López's illustrations are lushly saturated with color, and the warm palette and bright tones transport readers to the tropical setting, while visible brushstrokes and layered colors bring depth to each scene. The text and illustrations work together beautifully here, creating a story that will imbue readers with inspiration and a yearning to make music of their own. An author's note provides some background on Zaldarriaga, the inspiration for this fictional story.
School Library Journal Starred Review
Gr 14 Engle's spare, rhythmic text gets at the heart of the struggle to achieve a dream in this picture-book biography about a Chinese African Cuban girl who aspired to play drums even when society's double standards stood as a barrier. Growing up in tempestuous 1930s Havana, during a time when universities were often shut down because of their opposition to the dictatorial President Machado, Millo Castro Zaldarriaga dared to dream of playing percussion instrumentstimbales, congas, bongósbut her father was adamant that "only boys should play drums." But still she persisted in her hopes and eventually, with the help of her sisters and music teacher, became a member of the renowned Anacaona, Cuba's first all-girl dance band, founded by her sister, Cuchito Castro. López's zinging, neon-tinged art highlights the island's diversity, depicting the drum girl's flights of fancy set against the backdrop of carnival scenes and outdoor cafes. Details of Cuba's and the protagonist's Chinese, African, Taíno, and Spanish roots are seamlessly interwoven into the lyrical narrative and luminous acrylic paintings. The alliterative text parallels the snappy syncopation of the subject's instruments. The heroine's tenacity in the face of naysayers will inspire all dreamers, and the illustrator's smile-inducing cameo on the last page emphasizes the universality of Millo's story. For those looking for more nonfiction titles about female musical powerhouses, such as Monica Brown's My Name Is Celia/Me llamo Celia (Cooper Square, 2004), Katheryn Russell-Brown's Little Melba and Her Big Trombone (Lee & Low, 2014), and Carole Boston Weatherford's Leontyne Price: Voice of a Century (Knopf, 2014). An author's note gives more background on the groundbreaking percussionist. Shelley Diaz , School Library Journal
Word Count: 378
Reading Level: 4.2
Interest Level: K-3
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 4.2 / points: 0.5 / quiz: 173968 / grade: Lower Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:4.3 / points:1.0 / quiz:Q68901
Lexile: NP

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.

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