Pele: King of Soccer/ El Rey Del Futbol

Pele:  King of Soccer/ El Rey Del Futbol

Pele wasn't always a famous soccer player. No, he began in very humble surroundings, playing with a grapefruit or a stuffed sock and forming the Barefoot Team because he could not afford shoes. In this bilingual biography, we see Pele's humble beginnings and watch as he overcomes his obstacles.


If you love soccer, you have to read about the most famous player in the world! Pele, the king of soccer was not always world famous. In fact, he began his life in a small village in Brazil, woefully underfed, under nourished, under-dressed, but thoroughly loved by his soccer loving Papa. In such poverty, owning a soccer ball in his neighborhood isn't just out of the question, it is unheard of! But that does not stop young Pele and his friends from playing with such items as grapefruit, or a newspaper stuffed sock, and even forming the winning "barefoot" soccer team, gaining recognition for his skill on the field at the young age.

At the age of only 15, he is invited to play for a recognized team. This is also the first time in Pele's life his belly is full, with more than enough to eat. Can you imaging being hungry your whole life? Pele scores and wins big for his new team! By the age of 17, he is in the world cup, helping to score and win knowing his proud Papa will be home crying tears of joy, listening to the game on the radio, knowing his son helped Brazil win its first world cup.

Pele went on to help Brazil win two more world cups, a world record by the way! More information about Pele and Brazil are found in the back of this great book. Gutierrez captures the flavor of Brazil through color, and design. Readers quickly realize that from a young age, he IS the king through not so subtle crowns on Pele's head in every shot. Movement, joy, and exuberance are all portrayed throughout this wonderfully illustrated book. A perfect example of how illustrations in picture books can enhance minimal text.

Reading Pele’s story invites the rise of pride in the reader for this poor boy who accomplished worldwide fame and glory!

A perfect pair with Goal! / Mina Javaherbin ; illustrated by A.G. Ford. 32 pages, ages Prek_6, 2010, a wonderfully illustrated book about kids who live to play soccer to spite utter poverty, and bullies who threaten the very existence of fun in a South African slum!

Recommended by: Colette Eason, Librarian, Texas USA

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