Parents Read Drum Dream Girl for Women’s History Month

Roving Readers, one of our Tellin’ Stories signature activities, creates a space for parents to read stories in their children’s classrooms. On March 9, at Thomson Elementary School (DCPS), a group of eight parents read to both of the second grade classes. The school is in the Chinatown neighborhood of northwest D.C.

We read Drum Dream Girl, by Margarita Engle, based on the true story of the first female drummer in Cuba. It was a fitting choice for the school for Women’s History Month because the girl in the book is Chinese and Afro Cuban.

With the help of parents and professional translators, we translated the book into Spanish and Mandarin in advance of the classroom visit. The parents were excited to share this beautifully illustrated story in three languages.

After reading the book, we asked the students to raise their hand if they understood the story in more than one language. Several hands went up.

One of the Chinese American parents asked the class a question about the book in her native language and several students responded excitedly in Mandarin. Another student (who is learning Mandarin at Thomson) went up to one of the Chinese parents and said “hello” in Mandarin. It was evident that the book reading made students excited to share their ability to speak the many languages in the story.

This Roving Readers session was a great opportunity to celebrate the diversity of the student body at Thomson and to integrate parents into the students’ educational experience inside the classroom.


Story submitted by Talia Brock.