We Belong to the Drum

  • Illustrated By: Azby Whitecalf
  • Pages:32
  • Publisher:Orca Book Publishers
  • Themes:belonging, powwow, family, separation anxiety, daycare
  • Available:05/16/2023
  • Lexile:AD520L
  • Fountas & Pinnell Text Level Gradient:L
9781459834378 LICENSE OPTIONS

The drum represents the heartbeat of Mother Earth. We all belong to the earth and we all belong to the drum.

Nikosis grew up going to powwows with his family, happily immersed in music, dance and the sounds of the drum. But when he starts going to daycare, he doesn’t feel like he belongs. Nikosis cries every time his mother leaves him in the unfamiliar environment until, one day, she and the teachers use drums to help Nikosis find connection and comfort.

Inspired by her son’s experience—and her family's love of powwow music and dance—Indigenous educator and champion hoop dancer Sandra Lamouche shares this uplifting true story of the transformative effects of culturally safe and inclusive early childhood education.

“This upbeat story, accompanied by exuberant watercolor illustrations, demonstrates the power of sharing and appreciating varying cultures.”
– Booklist
“Flowing lines and colorful details to enliven this simple yet emotionally resonant story. ­Offering an appreciative glimpse of Cree culture and traditions, and a gentle message of ­inclusion, this is a welcome addition to the ‘first day of school’ shelves in school and public ­libraries.”
– School Library Journal
“A delightful picture book…Tells a classic family story of a child’s introduction to the world outside of their family and the growing pains involved. Lamouche sweetly emphasizes the importance of family and culture, particularly for Indigenous families.”
– CM: Canadian Review of Materials

“Bold watercolor illustrations clearly capture Nikosis’s many moods and energy of the drum…Recommended.”

– Children's Literature Comprehensive Database (CLCD)

“This title exemplifies the importance of inclusion and belonging and offers a sense of community, whether it be with family, at cultural events or at daycare. The illustrations are bright, vivid, and joyful and they serve as a wonderful supplement to the text. Recommended for school, home and public libraries.”

– Canadian Children's Book Centre (CCBC) Canadian Children’s Book News
CCBC Best Books for Kids & Teens, starred selection   | 2023  |  Commended
Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy (CLEL) Bell Picture Book Awards for Early Literacy - Sing   | 2024  |  Winner
Toronto Public Library (TPL) Ready for Reading First and Best List   | 2023  |  Commended

Download the We Belong to the Drum Poster.