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Calling the Water Drum

By LaTisha Redding
Illustrated by Aaron Boyd

Hardcover: $17.95

Henri and his parents leave their homeland, Haiti, after they receive an invitation from an uncle to come to New York City. Only able to afford a small, rickety boat, the family sets out in the middle of the night in search of a better life. Out at sea, Henri dreams of what life will be like “across the great waters.”

Then the small boat overturns, and Henri is placed on top of the boat as his parents drift further out at sea. Overcome with grief, Henri retreats into himself and is no longer able to speak once he reaches land. Encouraged by his uncle and neighbor, Henri takes a bucket and plays on it like a drum. The drumming becomes a link to his past and a conduit for his emotions. Slowly, through his drumming and the kindness of his uncle and friend, Henri learns to navigate this new and foreign world without his parents.

Calling the Water Drum is a tender and beautiful tribute to the resiliency of children and the human spirit.

Check out Calling the Water Drum in the Multicultural Children's Book Day Classroom Empathy Kit

Reviews & Comments

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About the Creators

Thumb_latisha_redding_photo LaTisha Redding - Author

LaTisha Redding makes her picture book debut with Calling the Water Drum. She was inspired to write this story based on the memories of some of her Haitian friends’ stories of how they arrived in the United States. This book is a tribute to everyone who has courageously set forth with hope to start a new life in a new country. Redding lives in the sunshine state, Florida.

Thumb_aaron_boyd_photo Aaron Boyd

Aaron Boyd has illustrated numerous picture books and works extensively for the educational and children’s magazine markets. Boyd’s picture books have been recognized by the Children’s Africana Book Award and International Literacy Association, and his pop-up book is included among the rare books of the Cooper-Hewitt collection at the Smithsonian. Boyd lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

About This Title

ISBN

Hardcover: 9781620141946

Awards

Starred Review
Kirkus Reviews

Guided Reading:

P

Lexile:

550L

Interest Level:

Grades PreK - 5

Reading Level:

Grades 3 - 3

Themes

African/African American Interest, Childhood Experiences and Memories, Coping with Death, Courage, Cultural Diversity, Empathy/Compassion, Families, Friendship, Gratitude, Heroism, Home, Identity/Self Esteem/Confidence, Immigration, Kindness/Caring, Multiethnic interest, Music, Nature/Science, New York, Overcoming Obstacles, Persistence/Grit, Poverty, Realistic Fiction

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