Paperback Candlewick Press, c2010, p2012
Price: USD 7.85
Description: 34 unnumbered pages : color illustrations ; 28 cm
Dewey: -E-; Audience: Lower Elementary; Reading Level: 2.5
AR 2.7 LG .5 136671EN; RC 1.2 1; LEX AD480L
From the publisher: Grades 1-4; Ages 6-9
From Kirkus: Ages 7-9; PW: Ages 6-10; SLJ: Gr 2-4; read the full-text reviews


Other available formats

FollettBound Sewn Candlewick Press, c2010, p2012

USD 15.27

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From Follett

In a dangerous alley in a township in South Africa, the strength and unity which a group of young friends feel while playing soccer keep them safe when a gang of bullies arrives to cause trouble.

From the Publisher
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?

Product Details
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication Date: April 10, 2012
  • Format: Paperback
  • Edition: 1st pbk. ed.
  • Dewey: -E-
  • Classifications: Fiction, Easy
  • Description: 34 unnumbered pages : color illustrations ; 28 cm
  • Tracings: Ford, A. G., illustrator.
  • ISBN-10: 0-7636-5822-7
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-7636-5822-9
  • Follett Number: 0061QW0
  • Reading Level: 2.5
  • Audience: Lower Elementary
  • Grades: 1-4
  • Ages: 6-9
  • Kirkus: Ages 7-9
  • Publishers Weekly: Ages 6-10
  • School Library Journal: Gr 2-4
  • ATOS Book Level: 2.7
  • AR Interest Level: LG
  • AR Points: .5
  • AR Quiz: 136671EN
  • Reading Counts Level: 1.2
  • Reading Counts Points: 1
  • Lexile: AD480L

Reviews & Awards
  • Booklist, 03/01/10
  • Horn Book Magazine, 10/01/10
  • Library Media Connection, 05/01/10
  • New York Times, 06/20/10
  • Publishers Weekly, 03/15/10

* Taken from another format.

  • School Library Journal, 02/01/10
  • Teacher Librarian, 10/01/11
  • Texas: Bluebonnet Award Nominees, 2012 *
  • Wilson's Children, 10/01/10

Full-Text Reviews
Booklist (March 1, 2010 (Vol. 106, No. 13))
Grades K-3. Arriving in time for the 2010 World Cup, this heart-tugging picture book from a debut author tells a lyrical soccer story in the voice of a young boy in a South African shantytown. After winning a federation-size “football” at school, the narrator and his friends enjoy a game, but bullies interrupt them. With some deft foot maneuvers, though, the young players deter the aggressors and resume their game, this time with a wary lookout: “The streets are not always safe.” 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; the tense confrontation; and the reality of shantytown life. An afterword includes fascinating historical notes and reinforces the narrator’s moving message about soccer’s power to inspire and connect fans and players around the world: “I follow the ball to the end of the alley; / I follow the ball to the end of the world.”

Taken from the Hardcover.

Read all 6 full-text reviews …

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