Ten by Shamini Flint<br>
Allen & Unwin, 2015. ISBN 9781760112264
(Age: 9-12) Recommended. Themes: Girls' Soccer, Family Life, Sports, Soccer, Resilience. Ten year old Maya sits in her dark living room watching her favourite football team Brazil play in the 1986 World Cup Quarter Final. She scrutinises every move, imagines she is there on the pitch shooting a goal. Maya lives in a small Malaysian town Kuantan with her parents, her old Indian grandmother Amamma and older brother Rajiv and she's never played soccer. Life at home is difficult, Mum and Dad constantly quarrel. Her mother is Indian and her father is English, Maya attends a Catholic school, where she feels she doesn't fit in.
When Maya is given a football by her mum, she begins to train and perseveres despite all the roadblocks. She has to fight stereotypes and prejudice - girls don't play football, from her family and friends. Insights into a different way of life, Malaysian customs, Indian weddings, food and ways of living provide an interesting background to Maya's story. She gathers a team of misfits and together they learn the skills and techniques to play in a real match.
This is a multi-layered story, while Maya is busy with her football, her father leaves the family and returns to England, the family is torn apart. The ending is a surprising one showing Maya's resourcefulness, perseverance and ingenuity.
Shamini Flint's junior novel is a great read for 9-12 year olds.