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Happy Like Soccer

by Maribeth Boelts
Illustrated by Lauren Castillo

Published by Candlewick Press, 2012
32 pages
ISBN: 978-0-7636-4616-5

Ages 5-8

Sierra loves soccer and is thrilled to be on a team. But her aunt with whom she lives can never come to the games. Not only does she work at a restaurant on Saturdays, but the games are played at a suburban field far from the city apartment where they live. Everyone on the team but Sierra has someone to cheer for them. Yet when the coach asks if there’s anything she needs, Sierra says no. Finally, Sierra’s aunt is able to shift her work schedule to see Sierra’s last game of the season. The two travel by bus through the city, “then walk the rest of the way to the fields.” But when they arrive, it starts to rain and the game is cancelled. Sierra knows her aunt can’t ask off work again, so that night, without her aunt knowing, she sneaks out of the room they share, working up the courage to call her coach and ask if the rescheduled game can possibly be played on a Monday, in the empty lot near her apartment. The coach makes no promises, but is able to make it work in this picture book that offers a matter-of-fact look at class and economic issues in the context of an emotionally genuine story with a welcome but not unbelievable happy ending. (MS) ©2012 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

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