Drum Chavi, Drum! / Toca, Chavi, Toca!
Region: Latin America, Cuba
Author: Mayra Lazara Dole
Original Language: Bilingual: Spanish-English
Translator: Mayra Lazara Dole
Genre: Contemporary fiction
Descriptors: drums; festivals; gender roles.
Age: 8-10 years old
Cuban author, Mayra Lazara Dole challenges gender roles in her picture book Drum, Chavi, Drum! Chavi was born to be a drummer, if only the people of her town would allow her to play in the Calle Ocho Festival. In particular, the music teacher Mr. Gonzales tells Chavi that only boys should play drums. This does not deter Chavi, and she continues to tippy-tap-chicky-chack on any surface she can find. On the day of the Calle Ocho Festival, Chavi and her best friend Rosario dress up in masks and hats to attend. During the parade, Rosario sneaks Chavi a set of bongos, and she plays her heart out. The townspeople cheer, not recognizing Chavi while wearing her costume, and assume she is a boy. Chavi reveals that she is a girl, and the people continue cheering. At the end of her performance, Chavi is asked to play every year at the Calle Ocho Festival, and her music teacher is shamed for discriminating against Chavi based on her gender. The message echoed throughout this story is that girls can do anything they set their minds to. Dole and Tonel have created a story with unique characters and lively illustrations. The story’s language is upbeat and lyrical, with drum sounds, and Spanish phrases throughout. Tonel portrays the characters in the story through distinct facial expressions, and other physical descriptions. Though it’s a picture book, the story is rather long, and each page has two to three paragraphs of text. Older children, 8-10 would enjoy reading this bilingual story. Dole’s Colombian tale is available through print, eBook, and Audiobook for everyone to enjoy.
More About This Book
Reviewed: print book by Editorial Libros para Niños (2003). 32 p.
Reviewed by: Raquel Martinez