It’s Perfect Picture Book Friday!

Sponsored by Susanna Leonard Hill

Title: Goal!

Written by Mina Javaherbin and illustrated by A.G. Ford

Candlewick Press, 2010

Suitable for:  grades 3-5

Themes: soccer, bullying, friendship, teamwork

Opening and Brief Synopsis: “I have to get water from the well before dark.  But I finished my homework, and right now it’s soccer time.”  Six boys living in South Africa are enjoying a game of soccer in the dusty street. One must stand guard on the roof, because the streets are not safe. Then the bullies come. The boys are afraid they might lose their new federation-size soccer ball.

Links to resources: http://www.californiayoungreadermedal.org/ResourceGuide2011_2012/10PBOR.pdf

Why I like this book: Goal! is one of this year’s twenty nominees for the Texas Bluebonnet Book Award. It is my personal favorite.  The book gives readers a small taste of what it is like to live in South Africa.  It also highlights the game of soccer, or football, as it is known everywhere in the world except in the United States. Although conditions are difficult for these boys, they are still children, and they love to play soccer. When they play, they forget their worries.  I never tire of reading this book aloud, and my third, fourth, and fifth grade students love it. I see the anticipation in their faces when the bullies come and the boys hide their new ball under the water bucket.  Will the bullies find it? You’ll have to read Goal! to find out!

Watch the book trailer!


16 responses to “Goal!

  1. elizabethannewrites

    Great-sounding book! A book that talks about bullying, that appeals to boys, and that introduces another culture — Perfect!

    I so love seeing the variety of books covered in Perfect Picture Book Friday.

  2. I want this one! Kids playing football is something you see all over the world, whatever the culture. This has great universal appeal as well as giving a glimpse into the beautiful nation of South Africa. Great choice, Kelly. I hope it wins an award.

    • Me, too, Joanna! I really really want this one to win the Bluebonnet Award. The students in third, fourth, fifth, and sixth grades across Texas vote for the award-each school gets one vote. We’ll see at the end of January! Fingers crossed 🙂

  3. This sounds like a great read! I’m so glad you shared a picture book for older readers – no one has done that yet. I am making a list for the library this weekend – I’m going to need a semi 🙂

    • lol!! 🙂 I hear you! Many times when I visit the public library I have to make a couple of trips to the car! Have fun! Glad you liked the older selection-that is the great thing about the Bluebonnet Award-the Texas Library Association committee finds great picture books for older students-many times they are historically or culturally based-a good variety each year.

  4. Catherine Johnson

    What a great all rounder! There ought to be a lot more books like this out there.

  5. Kelly, such a great choice! Have not heard about this book with it’s great story line, information about another culture and a wonderful message. My kind of a book. Thanks for sharing!

    • You’re welcome, Pat! This is one of those perfect picture books that has a little of everything. And I LOVE the illustrations-the art is vivid and beautiful-the illustrator A.G. Ford really captures the mood of the story in the artwork.

  6. Ditto elizabethann’s comments! Great choice!

  7. I thought “oh a soccer book,” but what a fun surprise. I visited a slum in Johannesburg. The illustrations from the video clip look very much like the neighborhood I visited. Sounds like a good choice for the Bluebonnet Book Award and the classroom.

    • Wow, Stacy! What an amazing experience. I would really like to visit South Africa some day. There is a part in the story where one of the boys chooses the short straw, so he has to stand guard on the roof while they play. My students were like, “He was standing on the roof??!!” They were thinking of their own homes. Then I pointed out the slums in the illustrations to them and explained how these kids lived. It was a real eye opener for them.

  8. Thanks for introducing this book to us. I’m putting a hold on it for my eight year old grandson who will be spending his Christmas vacation with us. Just his cup of tea. He loves soccer and is bullied at school. He’ll love it. 🙂

  9. Thanks for stopping by! I believe your grandson will love this book-it is incredibly uplifting.

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