Books Literary Silk Road - China and Middle East Non-fiction Wednesday Nonfiction Picture Books Reading Themes

[Nonfiction Wednesday] Drum Beat Rhythm of Dreams in Margarita Engle’s Drum Dream Girl


Myra here.

We are delighted to join the Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge 2015 hosted by Alyson Beecher @ Kid Lit Frenzy. We would also be linking our nonfiction choices with our reading themes throughout the year, as well as reading challenges that we have pledged to join this year.

We have just launched our new reading theme for May-June: Walking the Literary Silk Road – China and the Middle East. 


Since the main character in this gorgeous picture book biography happens to be a Chinese-African-Cuban girl, I just know that it’s perfect for our current theme.


Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl’s Courage Changed Music

Written by: Margarita Engle
Illustrated by: Rafael Lopez
Published by: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015
ARC sent by Margarita Engle.

Back in the early 1930s, girls were not allowed to play drums. This musical activity was believed to be exclusively for boys/men only. This gorgeously illustrated picturebook biography is inspired by the life of Millo Castro Zaldarriaga whose insistent rhythm inside her allowed her to dream the impossible.


There are many things that young children of today take for granted – the courage to dream despite all odds is one of them. Millo held that beat in her dreams, she listened to the imaginary pounding in her mind, everything had a tap-tap-tap dancing rhythm to it – all of nature is alive with the sounds of the drum dream girl’s beat: from the waving palm trees, whirring parrot wings, to “towering dancers on stilts” – there was bounce, cadence, rhythm.


What I loved about this picture book, aside from this young girl’s tenacity, quiet resolve, and willingness to work hard for her music, is the importance of listening with heart open and spirit alive with the sounds of the world. Another picture book biography from Margarita Engle to fall in love with.


#nfpb2015 Challenge Update: 25 of 25

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

6 comments on “[Nonfiction Wednesday] Drum Beat Rhythm of Dreams in Margarita Engle’s Drum Dream Girl

  1. Great minds read alike! Shared this one last week with my third graders, since we are studying Latin America. Really powerful topic for discussion.


  2. crbrunelle

    I have to get this one. I’m seeing so many positive reviews. What a great combination – Engle and Lopez.


  3. I am thrilled to see this book showing up all over Nonfiction Wednesday! Looks stunning It is now on my wish list.


  4. I’m so glad that people who aren’t exactly remembered or written about and yet have made a difference or two int heir lifetime or for others- that their stories are being told.


  5. Pingback: [Our 2015 In Books – Part One of Two] A GatheringBooks List of Outstanding Reads | Gathering Books

  6. Pingback: [DiverseKidLit] A Tiny Fisherperson in “Hand Over Hand” – Gathering Books

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