Happy Like Soccer
By Maribeth Boelts, illustrated by Lauren Castillo
Candlewick Press, 2012
Awards/Recognitions: *Publisher’s Weekly, Starred review
In Happy Like Soccer, Sierra has just made a new soccer team and she loves it, but Sierra’s team plays across town, far from her apartment, and games take place on Saturdays. That’s the day Sierra’s auntie works long hours. While it’s nice to hear people cheering for her jersey number, Sierra wishes her auntie could see her play just once. Just once, Sierra wishes she could hear someone cheer for her by name.
Finally, her auntie gets a day off to watch Sierra play soccer. Under gray skies and the threat of rain, they take two buses to get to the field across town. Sierra can’t hide her disappointment when the game is called before it starts; she knows that Auntie’s boss will never allow her to take off two Saturdays in a row. Later that night at home, Sierra thinks of a way to play the rescheduled game that just might work for her auntie and the team. She’ll need some help to make it happen. Does Sierra dare to share her plan with Coach and ask for his help?
One of the most important skills for girls to learn is self-advocacy. For Sierra, the desire to join the two things she loves most – family and soccer – helps her speak up for herself. Author, Maribeth Boelts, and illustrator, Lauren Castillo, are perfectly paired in Happy Like Soccer. The inviting call and response of words and pictures bring both the light and shadows of Sierra’s story to life. GA