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August Books: Soccer Stars

By on July 29, 2015

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Are you a soccer fan? This summer’s Women’s World Cup has featured many outstanding games and players. If your child is interested, remember to register to play in a local league. Remember too, there are wonderful storybooks about soccer to support an interest in playing and watching. Any of these titles will “kick up” your child’s interest. Yours too! Have a great time!

Betty Bunny Wants a Goal

BettyBunnyby Michael B. Kaplan, illustrated by Stephane Jorisch

Betty Bunny is excited about her first soccer game: “I am going to score ten goals!” Her family, including two brothers, a sister and parents, go to watch her play. But she does not score even one goal. Betty decides she hates soccer and will not play any more. Her cleats, uniform and ball all go in the trash. But her brothers and sister show up in her room to encourage her. And she digs out her uniform and plays the next game – still unsuccessful at making a goal.

The pencil, ink, watercolor and gouache illustrations are cartoon-like and enhanced with lots of white space. The individual family members are rabbits with distinctive characteristics, accented by their clothing, posture and expressions. Bright and lively paintings show different animals playing on Betty’s soccer team.

Finally, after a family discussion, Betty realizes she’s not very good. She and her older brother Bill practice together. The comment that “trying is important, but if you want to get good at something, you have to practice,” is the key to getting Betty her very first goal.

Dial, $16.99 Interest Level: Junior Kindergarten – Grade 1 (This book may be purchased from local and online booksellers.)

Winners Never Quit

by Mia Hamm, illustrated by Carol Thompson

winnersMia loves playing soccer. But when she has trouble scoring a goal and her team is about to lose, Mia quits. She’d rather quit than lose. But Mia’s brother and sisters won’t let her play the next time. “Quitters can’t play on my team,” her brother Garrett says. Mia stands on the sidelines, watching.

Watercolor paintings with lots of action show players involved in playing soccer games. Facial expressions exhibit anger, tears, cheering, shouting and much active play on the green soccer field.

When Mia is chosen to play the next time, and her shot on goal is caught, sister Lovdy predicts, “She’s going to quit.” But Mia decides that she doesn’t “hate losing as much as she” loves playing soccer. Playing is more important to Mia “than winning or losing because winners never quit.”

A note from the author, who is an Olympic Gold Medalist, Soccer World Cup champion, and US Soccer Player of the year, is at the end. Also, captioned photos of the author as a young girl and as a champion are included at the back.

HarperCollins, $6.99 (paperback) $17.99 (hardcover) Interest Level: Junior Kindergarten – Grade 2 (This book is available to borrow at Miami Dade Public Library: Main Branch, Little River, Naranja. Also, may be purchased from local and online booksellers.)

Happy Like Soccer

by Maribeth Boelts, illustrated by Lauren Castillo

happySoccer makes Sierra both happy and sad. She’s happy to make the team. Happy to have soccer shoes with flames. But, sad because her auntie works at a restaurant where it’s too busy on Saturdays for her to take off to watch Sierra play. The games are played away from Sierra’s neighborhood. She notices the other girls all have families cheering for them. Then, auntie’s boss asks her if she’d like to trade her shift, because he’s heard Sierra talking. But it rains and the final game is canceled. Rescheduling won’t help because “auntie’s boss won’t do two favors right in a row.”

Ink and watercolor pictures show the contrast in neighborhoods from Sierra’s inner city row houses, to outside the city “where the buses don’t run.” Colorful red and white team uniforms contrast with the dark cloudy sky on the rainy Saturday, mirroring Sierra’s disappointment.

But Sierra has an idea. She follows up Coach Marco’s question, is there anything she needs. She makes a scary phone call with her idea – could the make-up game be on a Monday in the vacant lot by her apartment? Coach Marco doesn’t promise, but agrees to “make some calls.” This is a sweet story that doesn’t require a goal to make a happy ending. It’s especially true, since Sierra solves her problem by taking action for her own idea!

Candlewick Press, $6.99 (paperback) Interest Level: Kindergarten – Grade 3 (This book may be purchased from local and online booksellers.)

Try out these titles too!!

Soccer Hour, by Carol Nevius, illustrated by Bill Thomson

Cavendish Square Publishing, $16.99
Interest Level: Kindergarten – Grade 2
(This book may be purchased from local and online booksellers.)

Madlenka, Soccer Star, by Peter Sis

Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $16.99
Interest Level: Kindergarten – Grade 3
(This book is available to borrow at Miami Dade Public Library: Main Branch, Arcola Lakes, West Dade Regional. Also, may be purchased from local and online booksellers.)

Kick It, Soccer by Bobbie Kalman and John Crossingham

Crabtree Publishing, $8.95 (paperback) $19.95 (hardcover)
Interest Level: Junior Kindergarten – Grade 3
(This book is available to borrow at Miami Dade Public Library: Naranja. Also, may be purchased from local and online booksellers.)

The Sock Thief by Ana Crespo, illustrated by Nana Gonzalez

Albert Whitman, $16.99 Interest Level: Junior Kindergarten – Grade 2 (This book may be purchased from local and online booksellers.)


Meribeth Shank works in the Media Center at Miami Country Day School, an independent school in Miami Shores, Florida, teaches classes on Writing Books for Children, and earned her MFA in Writing for children from Vermont College. You can also find her on the web: http://meribeths.blogspot.com    

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