Do you have a fifth, sixth or seventh grade girl in your life who likes soccer? Well, here’s a spot of shameless self-promotion. I’m going to share a few reasons why you might consider getting a copy of DEFENDING IRENE as a Christmas present for a girl who loves to play soccer.
Let me start with a short summary:
A thirteen-year-old American girl plays on a fiercely competitive boy’s soccer team during the year her family spends in Italy and experiences culture clashes both on and off the field.
A girl who plays soccer in Italy is regarded in much the same way as a girl who plays football in America. So Irene faces opposition from players, coaches, and even her Italian grandmother.
Here are some reviews:
What keeps this tale from being just another soccer story with play-by-play action is the unique setting; the inventiveness of the chapter headings, which consist of Italian words, pronunciations, and definitions; and Irene’s determination.” —School Library Journal
“Soccer fans, especially girls, will appreciate the well-drawn action sequences and Irene’s feisty spirit.” —Horn Book Guide
The March, 2008 of Library Sparks included this novel in their round-up of soccer picks as did School Library Journal in their Extra Helping series. It was also listed in Nancy Keane’s The Big Book of Teen Reading Lists in the Girls in Sports category for younger teens.
You typically won’t find this book at a bookstore–it was published a long time ago–so you’d probably have to order it by clicking on one of this link to Amazon. But if you think DEFENDING IRENE might interest a young soccer-playing friend, another very good option would be to check it out at your local library or talk to your children’s librarian about ordering a copy.