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Ken reading The Drum

Last Saturday, a sunny day on the eve of Easter half-term, children and adults gathered together to make music and celebrate the launch of Ken Wilson-Max’s The Drum.

The launch took place in the middle of the African and Caribbean Spring Mini Market at New Beacon Books. Before the event people were bustling around the cosy bookshop, eating delicious Caribbean food and looking at handmade products such as soaps and baby toys. There was already a feeling of happiness and excitement in the air as people gathered around a bookshop which was at the heart of a community.

Soon parents and children started to arrive, and it was time for Ken to begin. He started by introducing himself and The Drum, explaining that The Drum was part of a wider series, Children.Music.Life, which explores music from around the world. Some children looked around for a drum, but Ken told them that they were going to use their own bodies to make the music. Music comes from the heart, and is filled with love, so the best way to make the sound of a drum is by beating against our chest.

Then he began to read The Drum aloud. He started slowly, making sure that everyone was familiar with the words and the hand gestures. Then he read it louder and faster until it became a song. He danced, stomped his feet and clapped his hands. At first people were reserved. It felt odd to be dancing and singing in public. But Ken’s enthusiasm alongside the magnetic pull of the drum beat meant that people of all ages were stomping, clapping and singing along. A child was dancing at the front of the crowd, while a woman chanted along with the words. As everyone laughed and sung it felt like the tension of a long week was leaving everyone. Ken read aloud a couple more times until everyone was danced out.

After the event was over Ken answered questions from the audience. They asked about his inspiration and the process of writing The Drum.  Ken signed copies of The Drum for children, writing small messages in them for his future readers. Then the event was over. Some people left, while others milled around the market, taking it all in. The day was filled with happiness, and we want to thank New Beacon Books for allowing Ken to bring The Drum into its store. We also want to thank everyone that came along; you all made it such a joyful event.

Tiny Owl often host events at bookshops, libraries and schools. If you would like us to visit you and do an event then please email 

  • Read an interview with Catell Ronca the illustrator of The Drum
  • Check out this wonderful review of The Drum by Parents in Touch

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