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Friday, September 24, 2010

Outcasts United by Warren St. John

I read this book because it was chosen for the One Maryland One Book program for 2010.  Outcasts United is supposedly being made into a movie, and I can see why; it's super heartwarming.  It's about a kids soccer team called "The Fugees" that is a lifeline to many refugee kids from other countries.  Fugees is simply short for "Refugees," and is not named after the formerly-popular hip hop group.  The town of Clarkston, Georgia has had a complex influx of refugees from many countries since the 1990's.  Here's a video link on Luma Mufleh, the Jordanian woman who took these kids in hand and got them a soccer program, just outside of Atlanta, Georgia.  This book came out of a popular series of articles in the NY Times, and so it's written in a journalism style--it's not the great American novel, but I didn't care.  I listened to the book and found it easy to follow, despite the fact that it often digresses to highlight the backstory of a particular child and their family.  All the children are from war-torn countries and situations, and many have endured great hardship.  The book starts out at the very beginning of this now-successful soccer program, and takes you through their early struggles, including just trying to get the right to play on a safe plot of unused grass built for games such as soccer.   Here's a link to the Fugees organization with a touching short video showing the beautiful faces of the boys on the team.  Here's another link to a couple of good youtube videos by the author.  I don't even know how to play soccer, and I still liked this book!

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