The Banana-Leaf Ball: How Play Can Change the World

Separated from his family when they were forced to flee their home, a young East African boy named Deo lives alone in the Lukole refugee camp in Tanzania. With scarce resources at the camp, bullies have formed gangs to steal what they can, and a leader named Remy has begun targeting Deo. Then one day a coach gathers all the children to play soccer. Though Deo loves soccer and has even made his own ball out of banana leaves, he's unsure at first about joining in when he sees Remy on the field. But as Deo and the other boys get drawn into the game, everything begins to change. Their shared joy in playing provides the children --- including Remy --- with a sense of belonging. Ball by ball, practice by practice, children who were once afraid of each other laugh together, the book explains, and no one feels so alone anymore. Based on a true story, Katie Smith Milway's inspiring tale shows how a desperate situation can be improved by finding common ground through play.

Age Level: 6-9