Drum Dream Girl : How One Girl’s Courage Changed Music by Margarita Engle, illustrated by Rafael Lopez

Published by HMH Books for Young Readers

Summary:  Millo Castro Zaldarriaga, a Chinese-African-Cuban girl growing up in 1930’s Cuba, dreamed of playing drums.  But only boys were allowed to be drummers.  She kept dreaming, though, and practicing any way she could, until finally her father allowed her to take drum lessons.  By the age of 15, she was good enough to play at President Franklin Roosevelt’s birthday celebration, and she went on to perform with many of the great jazz players of her time.

Pros: This is really a poem inspired by the story of Zaldarriaga.  It’s a celebration of following your dream, illustrated with eye-popping neon colors that perfectly capture the celebrations and street cafes where Millo hears the music she loves.

Cons: You’ll need to give some context for kids to understand what this book is about. The historical note at the end is a good place to start.

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