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To Be a Drum by Evelyn Coleman
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To Be a Drum

by Evelyn Coleman

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The story begins very serenely and uses many descriptive words to describe Daddy Wes' voice and the major effect it had on his children. The story of the movement from enslavement to freedom by Africans brought to America highlights the cultural strength of the people.This book is very powerful and informational towards letting children know about slavery and the hardships that they had to endure. At the same time, this book is also peaceful by reminding us through all the hard times, and how it is vital to find an inner peace and relax. I recommend reading this book to students who are struggling or may feel like giving up on their school work. It will help those students on remembering to take a deep breath and come to a peaceful place.

Was very well written and made you feel like you were in Africa when reading. Engaged the readers well by taking everyone back to African American culture. ( )
  mwatki5 | Oct 5, 2016 |
I really enjoyed this book for many reasons. The illustrations made the story come alive throughout each page. The pictures looked very abstract and had many different warm colors throughout each page. The warm colors brought out the feeling of the culture throughout the pictures and helped the reader imagine the story. The topic of the story is also something I would have my students be familiar with in my classroom. Learning about different cultures is very important for young students. This story helps portray the customs of that family and their culture in this cute story. The language also depicts the story well and helps bring out their culture better. This is a great cultural book for young students. ( )
  smurph33 | Dec 10, 2015 |
To Be a Drum is now one of my favorite children’s books. The main reason I love this book is because of the metaphor a drum used throughout the book. The book opens with a father telling a story to his children about the heartbeat of the Earth flowing though the African people. When slavery comes, they drum beats through them and everything they do. The word choice in this book is beautiful, with lines like “A story that could tap tap tap them gently on their hearts.” The spiritual language (drums beating though dreams) and the strength depicted by the African people make this book so rich with beauty. The pictures are vibrant, though I find the story to be the strongest factor of the book. I will recommend this book to everyone I can. ( )
  cmarti50 | Oct 4, 2015 |
I like this book for three reasons. First, I like how the author employs the metaphor of a drum in order to represent the overall concept of freedom. The author mentions how the drums were taken away from the people when they were made slaves. Then the author writes, “cruelty cannot stop the earth from beating...we became drums.” The author uses the idea of drums to represent how the people had their lives and freedom taken away; however, the people were still able to be alive and continue on by making themselves the drums and making their own way with what they had.
Second, I like how the author presents the tough concept of slavery to the reader. The father tells his children how the people were taken away from their homes in order to be put into slavery. At one point in the story, the author writes how the people were unable to speak their own language. Then, the author shows the strength and determination of the people. The author writes, “we were the earth’s drum…we will always be free.” Thus, the author displays the people’s ability to continue on and make their own music and rhythm. In this way, the author is able to display the tough issue of slavery along with the determination of the people.
Third, I like how the story is presented to the reader. The author employs the concept of a father telling his children a story in order to display the book. For instance, the author writes, “then, Daddy Wes told them a story.” By having the father tell the story to his children, it displays a serious tone of the work that points to its importance to the family. In addition, it also demonstrates how the story’s meaning of freedom is relevant to everyone in today’s society.
Overall, the book’s main message is about finding one’s own identity and way in the world. For instance, the author writes, “beat out your own rhythm on the earth.” In this way, the author demonstrates how everyone should find his or her own way. One can do this by finding courage in life and standing up for what one believes in. ( )
  ChristinaAlms | Oct 1, 2015 |
I highly enjoyed the language and illustrations of the book. The language was the strongest aspect because it was poetic and meaningful, while also providing a very touching drum metaphor. One quote that I loved was, "You too can be free...become a drum." The reason that I felt this was significant is because the author is referring to slavery, and how slaves deserve to follow the rhythm or beat of their hearts; be free. Additionally, I enjoyed the illustrations because they successfully portrayed how slaves were treated when they were tied up and ordered around. They also showed how free and happy the slaves looked when they allowed their minds and mouths to become a drum-- they began singing together with happiness. The overall message of the story was to listen to your heart, and be free-- listen to the beat of your heart. ( )
  aholli3 | Feb 25, 2015 |
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Daddy Wes tells how Africans were brought to America as slaves, but promises his children that as long as they can hear the rhythm of the earth, they will be free.

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