“I AM DRUMS,” by Mike Grosso, Clarion Books, Sept. 6, 2016, Hardcover, $16.99 (ages 10 and up)
Sam is destined to be a drummer — she just knows it. She can’t afford a drum kit of her own, but she’s learned how to improvise with different things in her bedroom. Sam is the queen of making things work, but then she learns that her school music program is begin cut because of budget concerns, and her parents are arguing a lot, her skills are really put to the test.
How do you walk away from your dream? Sam just can’t. Drums sound in her head all the time. She doesn’t know how to explain it, but she has to play. Even if that means getting creative.
As someone who grew up passionate about dancing, I immediately felt a kinship with Sam. Everything I did revolved around ballet. It was my life. It was what kept me moving forward. Sam is much the same way. Instead of choreographing in her head, she composes.
Sam is the kind of kid you immediately like and want to succeed. She’s not perfect, but her resourcefulness is endearing.
At first glance, you might think Mike Grosso’s book is only about band and music, but it goes way beyond. Anyone who’s ever been passionate about a sport, reading, writing — even gardening — can relate. Grosso’s writing is easily accessible. Like the subject he writes about, his prose has a driving rhythm that ebbs and flows in just the right places.
“I Am Drums” is a great choice for middle-graders of both genders. In it, Grosso has created a strong contemporary voice you’ll want to revisit again and again.
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