I recently got my hands on the new book by one of the my favorite story teller and writer, Hiba Masood aka Drama Mama. Currently based in Karachi, she runs Happy Place, which is an enrichment center for women and children, where she holds various activities around children’s literature. Drummer Girl is a heartwarming tale of a girl who dreamt to do something that no other girl had ever done before and how her father’s support made her dream come true. Set in the backdrop of a Muslim household in Istanbul during the most holy time of the year – Ramadan/Ramzan, Drummer Girl is a must read for all little girls.In most Children’s books and fairy tales, the fate of the princess is either in the hands of a Fairy God Mother or a Prince Charming. Hardly do we come across books which give the courage to the little girls to stand up for themselves and follow their dreams. Drummer Girl does just that and thats why I think every girl needs to read this book!
“Girls can be anything they like!” , Baba said to her every night.
Hiba tells the story of an old woman, Grandma Najma in Istanbul, who sits on the front steps of her house and sings softly to herself:
Why do you sleep, why do u sleep
Wake if you know what is better for you
Why do you sleep, who do you sleep
You Lord, the Merciful, is waiting for you.
The story then flashes back to her childhood and how she was always fascinated by the ‘Musaharti’ – the old traditional drummer who walks and beats a drum in residential areas during Ramzan, to wake people up to eat their suhoor/sehri (a meal eaten before the beginning of the fast) before morning prayers. Becoming a Musaharti herself, became Najma’s passion and despite all the gender stereotypes and social pressure, her father supported this little girl to follow her heart and be what she always dreamt to be!My daughter absolutely loved this book! And I could see why she loved it so much – because she could totally relate to it! With two little brothers and a father that always supports her passion for music, she could see herself in Najma’s character.Not only did she find the character relatable, but also the setting of the story was also very familiar, a Muslim household during Ramadan/Ramzan. Also she had always heard stories from her grandma’s childhood about these drummers in Karachi who used wakeup people at Sehri time.This book empowers girls and challenges gender stereotypes, and therefore is a MUST read. Not only does Hiba tells this brilliant story in an exceptional way, the illustrations by Hoda Hadadi are a visual delight! I cannot recommend this book enough!