Margarita Engle and Rafael López picture book, Drum Dream Girl, tells the story of a young girl who wants to play drums on the island of music but cannot because everyone says that only boys can play drums. Each night she dreams about playing the drums and everywhere she goes in life she hears music. She hears music in the birds. She hears it in the people. She hears music in her heart and knows she can make her own music, but everyone constantly reminds her that girls cannot play drums. She tries to join an all girl band and is stopped by her father who later changes his mind and helps her find a teacher. She learns so much from the teacher that eventually when she plays in a café, all the people enjoy the music so much that they change their minds. They think “girls should be allowed to play drums and both girls and boys should feel free to dream.”
Engle’s poem creates a rhythm like music that flows though the book mimicking the drums that Dream Drum Girl wants to play. The reader can almost hear the music just as the Drum Dream Girl does in all parts of her life. López’s pictures to life the feel of the poem and in many aspects encompass a dream like state as the Drum Dream Girl fights for her dreams. This story is based off the true story of Millo Castro Zaldarriaga, a Chinese-African-Cuban girl who paved the way for girls to become drummers when in Cuba during the 1930’s females were not allowed to play. She along with her sisters preformed as Cuba’s first “all-girl dance band.” Millo eventually became world famous and at 15 played for US President F.D. Roosevelt for his birthday. Millo’s passion and determination to follow her dream changed the story for females in Cuba. In the same way Engle and López use her story in a book to encourage other young ladies that they too can change the story of others by following their passion.
Posted by: Kirsten Nieman