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HAPPY LIKE SOCCER by Maribeth Boelts


by Maribeth Boelts & illustrated by Lauren Castillo

Pub Date: May 1st, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-7636-4616-5
Publisher: Candlewick

Soccer is a bittersweet mix of sorrow and joy for Sierra.

Sierra struggles with conflicting emotions about her new soccer team. Traveling out of the city, Sierra now plays on soccer fields unlike the one near the apartment where she lives with her aunt, which is exciting. However, being on this new team has some drawbacks. With most games on Saturdays—which is her aunt’s busiest day at the restaurant—Sierra is sad to be the only player without family members to cheer for her during games. Yet, with a little ingenuity, Sierra discovers a solution to her dilemma. Boelts focuses on the relationship between Sierra and her aunt, deftly portraying Sierra’s maturity and fortitude as she attempts to resolve the situation. Sierra, while dedicated to her sport, recognizes the importance and inspiring effect of her aunt’s support and encouragement. Castillo’s watercolor-and-ink illustrations of the city’s landscapes feature towering buildings in an austere setting. In contrast, drawings of Sierra’s home and her aunt’s workplace depict warm, cozy scenes. Scenes with the dark-skinned, crinkly-haired auntie and niece emphasize the close, nurturing relationship. Action-filled paintings of the soccer games capture the fast-paced excitement of the game.

Boelts’ quiet tale celebrates the perseverance of a young girl as she attempts to achieve her goals

. (Picture book. 5-9)