Author: Mina Javaherbin
Illustrator: A.G. Ford
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publication Date: April 2010
Genre/Format: Realistic Fiction/Picture Book
Summary: This gorgeous book tells the story of a boy and his friends who play soccer despite the unsafe village they live in.
What I Think: I didn't really grow up playing soccer but I realize more and more that it is a well-loved sport worldwide. I did watch this summer when the US Women's team rallied to win the Women's World Cup but fell short. I definitely felt the emotion and excitement over soccer rooting for those women. They were amazing.
This book shows students how kids who live in a different part of the world (at least from me...) also love to play soccer. My husband is a P.E. teacher and there is something about sports that can unite people. Games and play in general easily bring people together. I believer everyone has a teeny tiny competitive side to them. It's cool to imagine people all over the world playing soccer. The artwork in this book is absolutely superb. It really brings the story to life.
Beyond the focus on soccer, this book also make it evident that bullies can be found all over the world as well (unfortunately). The boys in the book keep a look out for bullies coming towards them so they can hide their beautiful new soccer ball. What do you think happens when the bullies do show up? You'll have to read to find out, but I can tell you that it's a story of hope for kids everywhere.
Read Together: 3 - 12
Read Alone: 3 - 12
Read With: One and Zero by Kathryn Otoshi, nonfiction about soccer around the world
Snatch of Text:
I have to get water from the well before dark.
But I finished my homework, and right now it's soccer time.Reading Strategies to Practice: Activate Background Knowledge, Make Connections, Make Predictions
Writing Strategies to Practice: Personal Narrative, Expository
Writing Prompts: Write about a time in your life when you were bullied or you saw someone else being bullied. What did you do or what helped you deal with the situation?; Research the sport of soccer or another sport around the world. How do sports help to unite people?
Topics Covered: Sports - Soccer, Friendship, Bullying, Hope, Unity