Title: Soccerverse – Poems about Soccer
Author: Liz Steinglass
Illustrator: Edson Îke
Publisher: Wordsong, 2019
Themes: soccer, poetry, poetic forms, diversity
I like it when my parents come. I like when they are near.
But when they yell instructions, I pretend that I can’t hear.
From the coach who inspires players to fly like the wind, to the shin guard that begs to be donned, to soccer dreams that fill the night, Soccerverse celebrates soccer. Featuring a diverse cast of girls and boys, the poems in this collection cover winning, losing, teamwork, friendships, skills, good sportsmanship, and, most of all, love for the game. Elizabeth Steinglass cleverly incorporates thirteen different poetic forms throughout the book, defining each in a note at the end, and Edson Ikê’s bold artwork is as creative as the poems are surprising.
Why I like this book:
Honestly, you don’t need to be a football fan or poetry afficionado to enjoy this collection, but soccer kids will be especially drawn to it for sure.
Liz Steinglass is a gifted children’s poet (and clearly knows her soccer.) She uses space, form, word-choice, rhythm to terrific effect. For example, dribbling is presented as a list of soccer action verbs—I book, I drag, I dodge, I zag…” This poem has rhythm and perfect layout on the page to mirror all that movement.
My favorite is a bilingual (spa/eng) poem called Want to Play? Having seen the universal language of soccer across the continents, this one speaks powerfully to me.
I love how Liz covers so many aspects of the game, from playing shinguards, rules and emotions, to fans & disappointment, and much more! The illustrations are bright and diverse, and the poetry is snappy and engaging.
This collection of 22 poems should be in all classroom libraries.
As well as this being a great read-aloud, it is a cool tool to teach poetry forms. Thirteen different forms (Concrete, Couplet, Haiku, Metaphor, Quatrain, Reverso, etc.) are used to present the world of soccer. At the back of the book is A Note About Poem Forms and an Answer Key identifying which poem is constructed in which poem form.
Each week a group of bloggers reviews picture books we feel would make great educational reads. To help teachers, caregivers and parents, we have included resources and/or activities with each of our reviews. A complete list of the thousands of books we have reviewed can be found sorted alphabetically and by topics, here on Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.