Review Blog

Sep 17 2013

Steppin' with Benji Marshall by David Riley

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Auckland, New Zealand: Studio Q, 2013. ISBN 9780473247010.
Reading Age 12-14. Subjects: Rugby Football. Sports Personalities. Sports. Outdoor Recreation. Self-Awareness. Self-Esteem. Maori Culture.
David Riley is a New Zealand secondary school teacher who is passionate about encouraging students to excel in sport, drama and reading. His website Reading Warrior encourages secondary students to becoming part of the Reading Warrior Tribe.
Steppin' with Benji Marshall is the inspirational story of a Maori boy who has overcome many challenges in his family and school life on his journey to become a world class rugby league player.
'As a young Maori boy from a small town, my life shows that anything is possible.
If I can do it, then so can you! Dreams come true.' Benji Marshall
Riley's enthusiasm for the sport is evident, in his fast-paced style of writing, in the way football skills are explained and even in the book's layout. Different font styles, lowercase heading and plenty of exclamation points are interspersed with full page photographs and additional facts to engage the reader's interest. 'Here's how it went down' is a popular phrase throughout the book leading to match play by play descriptions. Benji's schooling in Australia and his games against his home country are challenges he faces and overcomes with strength of spirit. Benji becomes a Mozzie, a Maori living in Australia.
This is a great sports biography suited for fans of football, suited for high-interest lower reading age students.
Rhyllis Bignell

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