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Overview

Celebrate soccer—and the World Cup!

“Uplifting and inspiring, this beautifully written and illustrated book reminds us of the joys and saving grace of friendship and sport.” — Archbishop Desmond Tutu


In a dusty township in South Africa, Ajani and his friends have earned a brand-new, federationsize soccer ball. They kick. They dribble. They run. They score. These clever boys are football champions! But when a crew of bullies tries to steal their ball, will Ajani and his friends be able to beat them at their own game?

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Large and colorful action shots, many full spread, keep the story moving at a quick pace. . . . Choose this book with an international bent to supplement other books on bullying, because it will open up another opportunity for conversation and discussion.
—School Library Journal

The poetic text’s rhythmic repetition emphasizes the boys’ joyful empowerment: “When we play, / we forget to worry. / When we run, / we are not afraid.” In full-page oil paintings, Ford uses unusual angles to intensify the sense of the scuffling, exciting action.
—Booklist

While the level of danger—and deprivation—these boys face may be unfamiliar to many American readers, the quick-moving soccer action, tension, and triumph over the common threat of bullies have near-universal appeal.
—Publishers Weekly

Moving message about soccer’s power to inspire and connect fans and players around the world.
—Booklist

I can’t think of another book that so succinctly and simply portrays the power of sports to unite and uplift….wonderfully conveys the passion the rest of the world feels for football as well as the conditions much of the world lives in - a fabulous sports book and so much more.
—Bookends (Booklist blog)

A lyrical, strikingly illustrated story that celebrates the unifying power of soccer.
—90 Minutes Soccer Magazine

A lyrical, spare story of friendship and empowerment. . . . Gorgeous oil paintings, and Ford perfectly nails the wide-ranging moods that rear their heads in the story: Elation, fear, embarrassment, courage, and right back to elation. And …victory.
—Seven Impossible Things blog

Uplifting and inspiring, this beautifully written and illustrated book reminds us of the joys and saving grace of friendship and sport. Set in South Africa, this book is a gift for soccer fans and all families around the world.
—Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Action-packed oil paintings expand the artfully clipped style of a satisfying story as much about teamwork, global connection and the pleasure of play as about soccer itself.
—San Francisco Chronicle

Ford's oil paintings capture the faces and posture of boyhood confrontation perfectly. His color choices and use of light to imply motion are masterful
—News & Record

Publishers Weekly

In her debut picture book, Javaherbin crisply relays a simple story that should strike a chord with a wide range of readers. In a barren South African village, Ajani calls for his friends to come out to play soccer. The boy carries the pristine federation-size ball (which he won for being the best reader in class) in a dented pail he'll later use to fetch water. Ford's (Barack) dramatically lit oil paintings convey Ajani's excitement and pride about his new acquisition (“We are real champions, playing with a real ball”). He and his friends are also wary of bullies who roam the streets, and one boy stands guard on a rooftop. When the mean boys arrive, Ajani surreptitiously kicks the soccer ball into the overturned bucket and the oblivious bullies instead steal an old plastic ball nearby, barking, “No playing soccer here or you'll be sorry.” While the level of danger—and deprivation—these boys face may be unfamiliar to many American readers, the quick-moving soccer action, tension, and triumph over the common threat of bullies have near-universal appeal. Ages 6-10. (Apr.)

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780763658229
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publication date: 04/10/2012
Pages: 40
Sales rank: 472,689
Product dimensions: 9.10(w) x 10.60(h) x 0.30(d)
Lexile: AD480L (what's this?)
Age Range: 6 - 10 Years

Customer Reviews