Sunday, February 13, 2011

Goal! by Mina Javaherbin

No one likes to be bullied, including Ajani and his football (soccer) buddies in South Africa. Mina Javaherbin's story is one in which children all across the globe can relate. Ajani and his friends live in poverty. Their homes are shanties. Their street is unsafe. They have little time to play between school and daily chores. But when they do find time to play, they find escape and hope in a simple game of football. They know the bullies will come again and try to take their ball. But for today they have outsmarted the bullies. Today there will be kicking, running, scoring and laughter.
     This 2010 large picture book is a winner not only for it's high interest level, but for the gentle yet realistic way of handling difficult issues like poverty and bullying  for young readers. A.G. Ford's illustrations are full of color and energy while also showing a range of emotions throughout the story.
     Literature Connections: K-5, Language Arts, Guidance, Geography, Social Studies, Physical Educaiton: Goal! would make a great discussion starter for poverty and global citizenship as well as character traits and life skills such as perseverance, overcoming obstacles and dealing with bullies.This book would be an excellent choice for a language arts mini lesson on conflict and resolution. The author's notes at the end of the book would make a great physical education tie-in about the history of football/ soccer.

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