In the Time of the Drums
By Kim L. Siegelson
Illustrated by Brian Pinkney
It used to be that huge ships often landed near Teakettle Creek bringing African people to work on the island’s plantations. Some of the Africans who live on the island made goatskin drums and play music to remind themselves of home. Young Mentu was island born, but grandmother Twi had come from Africa, and she longs for home. Thanks to Twi, Mentu learns to play the drums and to respect the strength of the music.
One day a new ship carrying Africans docked at Teakettle Creek sends out the beat of drums—a roar from the Africans inside the ship who are pounding for their homeland. The beat calls to Twi, urging her to seek freedom. But the only place for freedom is in the murky waters of Teakettle Creek. Now Grandmother Twi must choose between the drum’s lure and the island that young Mentu calls home.
Here is an extraordinary Gullah tale of mysticism, intrigue, strength, and courage that will leave readers of all ages spellbound.
About the Creators
is the author of several picture books, as well as a popular speaker at conferences, writing workshops, and school visits. She grew up hearing the unforgettable account of Africans walking into the water near Georgia’s Sapelo Island, and this story became the inspiration for In the Time of the Drums. Siegelson lives with her family in Atlanta, Georgia.
is the acclaimed illustrator of numerous award-winning books. In addition to the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award for In the Time of the Drums, he has been honored with two Caldecott Medal Honors, four Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award Honors, and the Boston Globe/Horn Book Award. Pinkney lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife and frequent collaborator, Andrea Davis Pinkney, and their two children.