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I Am Drums

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  327 ratings  ·  88 reviews
Sam knows she wants to be a drummer. But she doesn’t know how to afford a drum kit, or why budget cuts end her school’s music program, or why her parents argue so much, or even how to explain her dream to other people.

But drums sound all the time in Sam’s head, and she’d do just about anything to play them out loud—even lie to her family if she has to. Will the cost of cha
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published September 6th 2016 by Clarion Books
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Average rating 4.24  · 
Rating details
 ·  327 ratings  ·  88 reviews

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Kathleen Glasgow
Feb 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book really blew me away. Highly recommended for kids and their parents, as Sam's relationship with her parents is well-detailed, poignant, and honest. Sam is one of the best characters I've read this year--headstrong, passionate, creative, flawed, and funny. Girls and boys alike will be charmed by this unlikely heroine. At heart, this is a book about discovering yourself and your dreams--it's also got a lot to say about the importance of mentors and teachers in a young child's life, which ...more
Victoria Coe
Apr 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received an advance reader copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I AM DRUMS by Mike Grosso is a rocking middle grade story! I loved cheering for Sam as she struggled to express herself, both in her relationships and through her music. She is such an endearing and relatable character! Young readers are going to give her a standing ovation! Highly recommend!
Sep 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Sam is a girl with a dream: she wants to be a drummer, but she's facing an uphill battle--budget cuts at school and an even tighter budget at home. I really enjoyed Sam's resiliency, and how she went after her dream in spite of tough circumstances. I think that's something kids need to see. Highly recommended. ...more
Jul 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: juvenile, comics
Sam's insatiable need to become an incredible drummer can't be stopped. Except for the fact that she doesn't own any drums, her struggling family has no money for lessons, and word is, she might just be the weakest link in symphonic band's percussion section at the moment. Well...even John Bonham had to start somewhere. Luckily anyone with enough perseverance to teach themselves drumming on a desk and a stack of books may just be hard-headed enough to find a window of opportunity, IF that same h ...more
Jenn Bishop
Jan 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
There are some books that do a perfect job of feeling both super current but also somehow timeless. "I Am Drums" is one of those books, both an older kindred spirit to the Ramona books with how well it handles a challenging economy and the strain that puts on a family, and something that I could share with a kid right now who would see herself in Sam.

Sam's an every kid. Her grades aren't perfect. She's not the best musician in her school band. And yeah, she plunked one of her classmates with a m
Oct 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
How do I give more stars? That has to be an option somewhere. This book is about 20 years late... It's the story I needed to read when I was twelve years old in 7th grade percussion and drumming got too hard for me so I quit. I decided to go the "easy" route and sing soprano in the choir. I'm sure there were other reasons for me quitting. Being a girl and getting teased about drumming didn't help; middle grade is tough, y'all! (Read my drumming story on my blog:

I haven't
Jun 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! A really wonderful story that captures the difficulties of middle school - shifting friendships and allegiances - and the joy when you are doing what you are meant to do. For Sam, that's playing the drums. I think a lot of middle school students will find themselves in Sam's story. I love how author Mike Grosso showed Sam's passion for the drums and for music as well as the difficulties she faced in pursuing something she loved.

Absolutely recommended!
Jul 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Read this fun, unique, and interesting story is pretty much one setting! Loved it and loved the character of Sam. I want to drum! Look for book in September...
Jun 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Summary: This book was adorable. Not profound, not entirely well-written, just simple, sincere, and adorable. Students who like linear plots, minor family issues, slightly rebellious kids, and are thinking literally about a text will enjoy this story of a girl whose heart beats drums. They'll cheer for her on her quest to improve and to prove the naysayers wrong.

Review: Things aren't looking so hot for Sam. First, she gets in trouble for beating a classmate with marimba mallets, even though he
Brooks Benjamin
Jun 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

There are about a million different drum-related quips I could begin this review with. And I almost picked one. But the more I thought about it, the less I wanted to start like that. Beginning that way felt a little cliched and this book deserves so much better.

I Am Drums is about Sam, a girl with a dream of becoming a real drummer. The problem is, her parents can't afford to buy her a drum set and the school's jazz band is getting
Kerry Cerra
Jun 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read an arc of this book as part of the Fearless Fifteeners author community.

I am so happy this book has found a new home after Egmont decided to close its US doors. I AM DRUMS is a wonderful story full of heart and truth. Sam is a determined character who is not afraid to go after what she wants. Though she makes mistakes in how she initially goes about this, she remains true to her age, and for that, I find her admirable. I'm especially glad that the author didn't tidy up the ending into a h
Wendy MacKnight
Apr 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016-reads
Oh My Gosh - I loved this book so much! Sam Morris is a girl with a mission: to take the drum beats from her head and translate them into playing a real live drum. The only problem is the rest of the world seems to be conspiring against her: her stressed-out parents, her classmates, her own anger. When she finally gets a chance to take drum lessons from super teacher Pete Taylor, she'll do whatever it takes to learn. As a non-musician, I always wondered what was in the heads of musicians. Now I ...more
Jun 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fearless-15ers
I love this book, mainly because of the characters, the heart, and the main character's perseverance even when it's not easy, even when she makes questionable choices, even when she's not a "natural." I love the message that passion for something (in this case the drums, obviously) is enough reason to keep going. And I so appreciate the character flaws and the sometimes questionable choices, because really, that's life. ...more
Jill Diamond
Jun 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Bravo for I AM DRUMS, a strong character-driven story that manages to be both relatable and unique. The characters - including Sam - are very human and believable, and Sam's passion for drums is conveyed incredibly well by the author, making the reader feel like they share it with her. This book even taught me quite a bit about drums and music but only in the sense that it came up organically in the plot - never in a teachy way by the author. Great middle grade read! Encore, please! ...more
May 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
What a fantastic book. I really enjoyed the story and so did my percussionist son. :)
The Library Lady
Dec 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Okay, a side note. Why do so many reviews of kids' fiction like this book here use the words "cute" or "adorable," especially when it's not about cute l'il fairies?

This book isn't cute. It's a pretty typical kid-has-a-dream, kid-has-family-problems, kid-realizes-dream. But it doesn't go for easy solutions to everything. Sam has parents who clearly have a failing marriage, and while dad is working on his work situation and his anger issues, there's no happy ending. Sam DOES realize her drum drea
Jennifer Fenn
Apr 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Sam, the protagonist of "I Am Drums," hears drum beats in her head. She loves the drums, and aspires to be an amazing drummer. Will Sam be able to overcome family tensions, money woes and an under-funded school music program to realize her dreams?

I loved Sam! It's so refreshing to see this type of female protagonist, especially for middle-schoolers! She's passionate, she's kinda tomboy-ish but still has other female friends and she's not caught up in boy/social media drama. LOVE!

Pete, Sam's d
Scott Fillner
Nov 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book! I think it would reach a lot of readers who have a passion for something that they may not believe their parents or others will accept or agree with.

I believe that there are many opportunities for upper elementary and middle school students to connect with strong emotion and challenging decision making situations in this wonderful story. There is a family dynamic issue in this novel that students may connect with as well. Just many places to stop and communicate with
Gail Nall
Jul 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-grade, arc, 15ers
There are so many things I love about this book -- Sam herself (a girl who loves drums!!), the realistic family, Sam's awkward friendships, Pete the drum teacher, and on and on. I especially enjoyed the scenes where Sam finally gets to learn to play drums. I knew nothing about drums (aside from having dated a drummer in high school who liked to pound out rhythm on my car dash), and this book made me kinda wish for my own drum set! Sam is strong character who isn't afraid to say what she thinks o ...more
Sam is a rhythmic person, and that doesn't always work well when you have to sit for hours in school. The constant rhythm that she hears in her head interferes with her communication skills, too. Well, it's that or the fact that she is 12. This story about Sam learning to find her own way is a good read, and I will purchase it for my school. ...more
Jun 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I received an ARC for an honest review.
Let's just say this book is so witty and funny and at the same time, poignant that my children fought over it. They love to see the ARCs that come to the house and this was a middle grade favorite. It's evident in Grosso's writing that he has a background in music. His writing was seamless and laced with humor. I loved every word.
Sweet and humorous with a great main character that you will root for like crazy.
Anita McDivitt Barrios
Dec 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
And I thought violins were loud!

Sam hears drum music in her head, all the time, but she's got no idea how to get it out in a way that it'll sound the same way it does in her head.

She's in band, and when the two other drummers tell her she's the worst of all, instead of being pushed down she gathers the pluck to ask the only drum teacher in town for lessons.

Problem is, you have to pay for lessons, and her dad's out of work and has a nasty temper. Her mother's already pawned her wedding ring. She
Jun 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Amazing! A very real book. It doesn't sugar-coat things, which I appreciated. I can't wait to recommend it to my sixth graders!

Note: As an adult, I found the beginning a bit slow. However, keep on reading. It gets so much better. No matter your age, you'll love this book.
Christine Edwards
Aug 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
So good. So accurate. And such a commentary on the importance of advocacy for music in schools. Very well done!
Ms. Yingling
Jun 30, 2016 rated it liked it
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline

Sam loves to drum, but her family is having some financial difficulty, making private lessons and even a drum set hard to swing. She has put together her own kit on an old computer desk, with a variety of different books and newspapers that make different sounds. When she finds out that her school is going to cut the entire band program, she gets desperate and decides that she has to finally try to get lessons from the local expert, Pete. She needs to find
I was so sad when Egmont USA shut down, but I’m glad that this book found a new pub home. For those of you wondering, this book will be published in September of 2016, not 2015, but I’ve been waiting on this post for awhile, so I decided to publish it now.

I AM DRUMS, for the record, is worth the wait. I loved this book, more than I’ve ever loved a book about band. I AM DRUMS is heartwarming and realistic. I would recommend it for boys and girls, and for anyone who loves the arts–especially kids
S.A. Larsen
Jul 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Sam has a great voice - authentic and flows with ease. Basically, she breaths off the page. Like most kids her age (heck, myself included), she questions much about herself and her world, constantly exploring to find her place. Sam experiences loads of inner conflict, which just adds to the way others misunderstand her, her mannerisms, her loves, her hopes, and her dreams. She's a thinker, which I love! The author does a great job showing and exploring the stereotypes of this age by peers and ev ...more
Robin Yardi
May 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Sam wishes she had a headphone jack installed in her scull. Maybe then her friends and parents would understand how she feels when she can’t come up with the right words to say. Like when she gets in trouble for whacking Danny, the most full of himself kid in the middle school band, with a Marimba mallet, if they could just plug in they would know how it feels to be told that no way can girls be good drummers.

They’d hear how that feels, just as clearly as Sam hears the rhythmic beat of slamming
Feb 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I seriously loved this book. It wasn't what I expected, but I had so much sympathy for Sam.

Sam (Samantha) wants nothing more than to play the drums. But when no one will take her seriously, and to top things off, the music program at school is cancelled, she has no choice but to take things into her own hands. And though she makes a lot of very poor decisions (and I love that the author doesn't just let her off the hook for that), I really, really appreciated all the hard work that she put in t
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Mike Grosso is a musician and a fourth-grade teacher who always keeps a guitar in his classroom. His father gave him his first lesson, and his mom taught him how to keep a steady rhythm. Mike continues to write and record music at his home in Oak Park, Illinois, where he lives with his wife, son, and a drum set he plays much too loud. I AM DRUMS is his first novel.

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