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

by Katie Smith Milway and Shane W. Evans

After escaping the war in his country of Burundi, Deo lives in Lukole refugee camp... read more

After escaping the war in his country of Burundi, Deo lives in Lukole refugee camp in Tanzania along with thousands of others. With resources at the camp stretched thin, boys form gangs and steal food from others. Although Deo tries to keep to himself, he is bullied by Remy and his gang, who steal the twine Deo is using to make a banana-leaf ball. Soon Deo has a chance to play, however, when a man with a real soccer ball organizes a game for the boys in the camp. Placed on the same team, Remy and Deo play well together. They form a tentative friendship, teaching each other new soccer skills, making banana-leaf balls, and eventually sharing memories of their homes and families. Extensive notes about the man who inspired the story, organizations and games that promote teamwork, and ways to help follow this story of children building trust and friendships through play. (Ages 7-10)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2018

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