Happy Like Soccer by Maribeth Boelts and illustrated by Lauren Castillo. All I can say is “Wow!” I loved it. It really took me by surprise. It’s not really a soccer story at all, like you would suspect, but rather a very moving and emotionally powerful story of a young girl and her love for her aunt.
Told in a very simple and honest manner, Happy Like Soccer gives a brief, yet poignant glimpse into a young girl’s difficult, but happy life. Yes, there is a soccer element to the story, but it has many other more intriguing layers to it; new friendships, loneliness, hardships of a poor family struggling to get by, overcoming disappointment, a young girl’s initiative and courage to change a tough situation into a positive one, and the dedicated love between a young girl and her aunt
The ink and watercolor art enhance and fit the mood of the story perfectly. Happy Like Soccer is a great story and read-aloud between parent and child!