Jasper Zammit Soccer Legend by Deborah Abela and Johnny Warren
Random House, 2014. ISBN 9780857983206.
With a partnership between Deborah Abela who brings her fabulous storytelling skills and former Socceroo captain Johnny Warren who brings his in-depth knowledge of soccer, readers are treated to a series of stories about kids who love their soccer and their team the Rovers but each has obstacles to overcome and issues to deal with.
In The Game of Life Jasper Zammit is a soccer legend - in his own head. Whole stadiums cheer as he bends balls and scores magic goals. When Lil joins the Rovers Under-11s, Jasper finds someone as obsessed with soccer as he is. But Lil's dad is the reason Jasper's dad lost his job. Can they be friends?
The focus of The Striker is Aamir who can't speak English, but who is a brilliant soccer player for the Rovers. The trouble is, Eastville Kings star player Badger can't resist badgering his opponent to put them off their game. Now his target is Aamir. Who will be sent off the field with a red card?
The third book in the collection is The Finals. In this, the Rovers get a new coach just before the finals. But winning is all he cares about, and playing soccer isn't as fun anymore. Lil's big brother devises a plan to get the Rovers back on track. Can he save them? Time is running out and he's their only hope.
Interspersed throughout the chapters, are anecdotes and advice from Johnny Warren that will help the soccer reader improve their game. There is also a glossary at the end of the first book which not only explains soccer terms but also tips on how to perfect them.
Soccer fans, both boys and girls, will be wanting to read this as their dreams, like Jasper's, about being an Australian soccer superstar are fuelled by the World Cup inspiring them to work just the little bit harder.
For those wanting to read the novel aloud as the World Cup progresses and support it with activities, here are some links which may be useful:
World Cup for Kids Activity Village
World Cup Teaching Ideas
Flags and Activities
World Cup for Kids on Pinterest