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Outcasts United

By: Warren St. John

BOOK TALK

Refugee families from countries such as Albania, Bosnia, Somali, Liberia, Burundi, and Sudan are being relocated to Clarkston, Georgia. The local citizens are not happy with the influx of foreigners with their strange food, clothes and languages.  The new refugees have lived through unbelievable atrocities before arriving in the United States. Relocating to America is an answer to their prayers but learning the culture and language of a new country isn’t as easy as they might have thought. As children are left home alone while parents work at menial jobs far away, a Jordanian immigrant finds new meaning for her own life when she happens upon a group of these kids playing soccer in the apartment building parking lots.  An athlete herself, Luma makes it her mission to create organized soccer teams for these disadvantaged teenagers.  With no money and very little support, Luma fights the city council and the citizens themselves in order to find space for kids to play.  Her challenges continue with parents who barely have money for food and shelter, let alone soccer shoes. Luma becomes much more than a coach for the kids and their families as she tries her best to help them navigate their way in a new, strange country. While her coaching methods and moral expectations are stricter than some can handle, the boys (and later girls) perform beyond anyone’s imaginations. Courage and bravery take on new meaning in this amazing, inspirational story about how a compassionate woman unites a diverse group of boys so they can play a game they love.

Prepared by Jill Webb, Children's Librarian, Farmington Community Library, Farmington, Michigan