Soccer Starby Mina Javaherbin (Author), Renato Alarcao (Illustrator)
Paulo Marcelo Feliciano, aka “Felino”, the captain of the local soccer team dreams of big wins! After all, he has a strong team. Carlos who shines shoes during the day, will score goals with his fancy footwork. Jose who dives off of bridges for tourists, will one day dive for the team. Givo who works tirelessly on carnival floats for the dancers, will dance with the ball as his fans cheer him on. And Pedro climbing the coconut tree at the coconut grove will climb to glory with his trophies.
But for now, Felino must dribble his way towards the docks. He is headed out to the ocean with Senhor da Silva on his boat to catch fish from the sea. Later that evening the boys have a big game. Felino looks up at the sky, at the wild storm clouds gathering and hopes that the clouds will simply disappear.
Finally it is time to head back. Felino’s friends are already there waiting. They prepare and plan for the big game.
Just then Maria, Felino’s sister arrives. Like her brother, Maria loves soccer. She watches her brother and his team play the game. She practices some moves with Felino as they walk to school daily. She impresses Felino with her bicycle kick! But when it comes to playing the game, the boys have one rule: “no girls!” But Maria doesn’t lose hope. She runs to the team and asks “Please can I play on your team”. Although Felino supports her, the other boys frown and say no.
The game begins. The team is strong. Jose jumps to fend the attack.. and whoosh! He falls on his wrist. It’s not broken, but Jose needs rest. The team is short one player. Maria watches eagerly… will this be it?Will the boys finally let her play?
“Soccer Star” is a story set in the Brazilian favelas. The boys on the street carry the burden of supporting their families. Born and raised in the midst of poverty, these kids face unusual responsibilities. Instead of going to school, they go to work. However, despite their circumstances, the kids have a passion that brings them together. One that lifts them from their daily drudgeries and give them a dream to rise above their circumstances. “Soccer Star” is a beautiful picture book that tells the story of these boys, who above all else want to be just that.. Soccer Stars!
“Soccer Star” is also the story about Maria. A girl who dreams of playing like her brother. A girl who works hard and plays hard. This is the story about Maria who wants to prove herself .. given a chance!
Renato Alarcao’s digitally colored ink illustrations are refreshing. There is an unusual warmth to the characters, a die-hard optimism that he captures in the faces and to the pages adding to the theme of hope and inspiration. Children will delight in the art that joyfully depicts the sport and the sheer fun factor of the game.