Summary: Drum Dream Girl is a children’s book written by Margarita Engle and illustrated by Rafael Lopez. It’s the story of young girl who lives on an island of music. All she wants is to play the drums, but in her island, only boys are allowed to be drummers. So she practiced and practiced and one day she was able to play her drums and she quickly inspired everyone to allow both boys and girls to play drums.
Cultural Markers: The illustrations of award winning Rafael Lopez really shine in this story. The most obvious in the illustrations are the skin tones of all the characters. Even though it is never stated in the book, the inspiration for the island of music is Cuba, where you see many Hispanic skin tones. And in this book you see skin tones ranging from light tan to dark skinned. The clothes of the islands inhabitants are also worth noting. You see them wearing guayabera shirts and panama hats, which are both very popular in Hispanic culture. As mentioned earlier, the setting is inspired by Cuba and you can notice the palm trees, the parrots, and other tropical birds in the illustrations. The houses are also inspired by the type of architecture you will see in Hispanic cultures. The illustrations tend to be very vibrant and vivid, which is common in many Hispanic illustrated books. The cultural markers continue with the type of music that is being played throughout the story. You see the characters play with bongos, timbales, and other musical instruments popular in their culture.
Personal Reflection: To me, it is the illustrations of the book that really stand out. You can feel the Hispanic influence all around as you read. The theme of the story can inspire younger girls because it shows them that they can do anything that boys can. So it combines Hispanic culture with helping girls be themselves. I also think that the ending was a bit rushed. I mean, a few people hear her play the drums and all of a sudden it is okay for girls to play drums? I know it is a children’s’ book and we all want a happy ending, but they could have gone in more depth with the solution.
Awards: Pura Belpré Illustrator Award and Author Award
Lesson Plans: https://www.teachingbooks.net/tb.cgi?tid=43294