The Banana-Leaf Ball: How Play Can Change the World by Katie Smith Milway, illustrated by Shane W. Evans

Published by Kids Can Press

Summary:  When Deo is forced to flee his home in Burundi, he gets separated from his family and eventually ends up in a refugee camp in Tanzania.  Life there is difficult and sometimes scary, with a bully named Remy who forces the other kids to hand over their meager possessions to him.  Deo tries to make a soccer ball from banana leaves like the one he had back home, but Remy discovers it and takes it away.  One day, a man comes to camp with a leather soccer ball and starts organizing the kids into teams.  Deo and Remy end up on the same team and work together to score the winning goal.  It’s the beginning of a friendship; that and the soccer games sustain Deo until he is able to return home to his family and a chance to coach kids from his village.  Includes information and photos of the real Deo (see above); information about organizations that help kids learn how to trust each other and play together; and a paragraph called “What You Can Do”.  32 pages; grades 2-7.

Pros:  Another excellent entry from Kids Can Press’s CitizenKid series, introducing readers to other young people from around the world and showing them ways they can make a difference.

Cons:  The small font and large amount of text on each page may make this a more challenging read-aloud book.

2 thoughts on “The Banana-Leaf Ball: How Play Can Change the World by Katie Smith Milway, illustrated by Shane W. Evans

  1. My almost 11yo and I have enjoyed many from the publisher. I’m going to see if our library has this title and if not ask them to get it!

    I wanted to let you know that I’ve enjoyed the blog posts I read so far, having come here looking for a list of wordless books to send to a friend. I appreciate the quick overview and pros/cons list! I’m adding you to my blog reader and I’m looking forward to coming back when I have more time.


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