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Cover for Calling the Water Drum

Calling the Water Drum

Latisha Redding, Aaron Boyd (Illustrator)


List Price: 10.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.

Other Editions of This Title:
Hardcover (12/31/2016)


A moving story about a family's attempt to flee Haiti in a boat, and a young boy who bravely learns to navigate a new world through playing his drum.

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.

Lee & Low Books, 9781643795997, 32pp.

Publication Date: February 8, 2022

About the 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' accounts 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. You can find her online at or @LaTishaRedding. Aaron Boyd has illustrated numerous picture books, including Calling the Water Drum, Janna and the Kings, and Babu's Song for Lee & Low Books, as well as the chapter book The Story of Civil Rights Hero John Lewis. His work has been recognized by the Children's Africana Book Award and the International Literacy Association (ILA). He lives with his wife, son, and dog in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. You can visit him online at