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May Favorite: Drum Dream Girl June 18, 2015

Posted by ccbooks in Book Reviews.
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Better late than never, right? Travels in May meant that I got a little behind on writing about what I was reading. This picture book, however, has stuck with me, in my head and my heart and I’m so happy to talk about it here.

drumDrum Dream Girl, by Margarita Engle, tells the story of Millo, who lives in Cuba and longs to play the drums. But drums are only for boys and men, so that means she dreams and practices in secret before finally finding a teacher and joining her sisters’ band. Millo is based on a real person, Millo Castro Zaldarriaga, who is credited with helping change the stigma against women playing drums in mid-twentieth century Cuba. The illustrations, by Rafael Lopez are vibrant and colorful, with movement that sometimes has the reader turning the entire book on end to try and contain the life and excitement of the drawings.

This book made me want to learn more about Millo and the history of her all female band in Cuba. It made me want to go back to Cuba and listen to drummers and appreciate their music. This is a fantastic book to pair with Sweethearts of Rhythm or another picture book about female jazz musicians and women of color during the swing era in the US. The poetry of the words in this piece makes it a great read aloud and hopefully it will inspire young readers to try making music, visual art or writing their own stories about their dreams.