Publisher: Candlewick
Publication Year: 2012
ASIN: 0763658227
ISBN: 9780763658229

A lyrical, strikingly illustrated story celebrates the unifying power of soccer.

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About the Book

A lyrical, strikingly illustrated story celebrates the unifying power of soccer.

In a dusty township in South Africa, Ajani and his friends have earned a brand-new, federation-size 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?



Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Uplifting and inspiring, this beautifully written and illustrated book reminds us of the joys and saving grace of friendship and sport. Set in South Africa, this book is a gift for soccer fans and all families around the world.

Publishers Weekly
In her debut picture book, Javaherbin crisply relays a simple story that should strike a chord with a wide range of readers. …While the level of danger—and deprivation—these boys face may be unfamiliar to many American readers, the quick-moving soccer action, tension, and triumph over the common threat of bullies have near-universal appeal.

Awards and More

  • International Reading Association- IRA Notable Book for a Global Society: 2011
  • Texas Bluebonnet Award Runner Up: 2011
  • California Young Reader’s Medal Nominee: 2011-2012
  • Nominated for awards in many states including Maine, Georgia, and Ohio: 2010-2011
  • New York Public Library best books of the year list: 2010
  • Smithsonian best books of the year list: 2010
  • Translated into twelve African languages
  • Published in United Kingdom -this publication replaces the word Soccer with Football.
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