Drum Dream Girl

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

Sometimes just living your true self can be the most remarkable act of rebellion, and this simple act can change the world around you.

A young girl grows up surrounded by the beats of drums in her island home, and feels the rhythm deep down in her soul. But girls cannot be drummers, not according to tradition and long-held belief. Only boys can experience the bongos and congas, and learn from the wisdom of their drumming elders. But the rhythm can only be denied for so long, and eventually the girl’s music bursts from within and fills her world with song, dance and light.

This stunning picture book was inspired by the real-life experiences of Millo Castro Zaldarriaga, a young Chinese-African-Cuban girl who in the 1930s challenged Cuba’s traditional taboo against female drummers, and the story is retold by award-winning Cuban-American poet and author Margarita Engle. Zaldarriaga defied the wishes of her family and the expectations of society and pursued her passion for percussion, eventually becoming one of Cuba’s most famous and beloved musicians, and paving the way for countless young female musicians. Zaldarriaga let her passion and her talent do the talking, and eventually convinced even her skeptical, traditional father to support her as she joined Cuba’s first all-girl dance band, and performed with her sister, fellow musician Cuchito Castro. Poetic, powerful and inspiring, Drum Dream Girl will speak to every child who harbours big hopes and dreams, and won’t let anyone stand in their way.