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BLAST Elementary
Young Pelé

Young Pelé
Written by Lesa Cline-Ransome

Paintings by James E. Ransome

How did a poor Brazilian boy - who kicked rocks down roads and dribbled balls made from rags - go on to become the greatest soccer player of all time? Here is the inspiring story of the boy who, with great determination, lightning speed, and amazing skill, overcame tremendous odds to become the world champion soccer star Pelé.


Open-Ended Questions

These questions can be used during an interactive read aloud to engage student interest.

  • What are some things we can infer about Edson and his family? (page 10)
  • Have you ever been so focused on something that it is all you can think about? (page 12)
  • How would uniforms and shoes change their image? (page 13)
  • Why does his father encourage his dream while his mother does not? (page 21)
  • Why do you think Pelé stayed loyal to Ameriquinha? (page 25)
  • Why is working together so important in soccer? Can you think about other times working together is important? (page 25)
  • Why did his mother change her mind? (page 31)

Vocabulary Words

  • Clutching
  • Legendary


No Shoes

Pelé and his friend spend most of the story without shoes. Even today, in Brazil and other countries, many people spend much of their lives without something we consider a necessity. What would it be like to go without shoes? Lead a class discussion about what it might be like. What would be challenging about it? Would there be any benefits? Give your students the option of spending 1 school day without shoes. Could they last the entire day? Was it what they expected? Did anything unexpected happen? You could also see if your students would be interested in organizing a shoe drive to help shoeless children around the world or even here in Pittsburgh.

Reading Strategy: Making Inferences

Cline-Ransome's text leads us to infer many things during the story. What do Pelé's teachers think about him? Does Pelé's family have much money? How does Pelé's mother feel about him playing soccer? How does she feel at the end of the story? See if your students can identify other times in the story when making inferences is important. How does that allow us to better understand the story?



Journal Questions

  • Pelé couldn't get soccer out of his head. He was always thinking about it. What do you daydream about?

Pelé was Edson do Nascimento's nickname. What is your nickname? How did you get it?



Extending Books

Pelé, King of Soccer
Written by Monica Brown

Illustrated by Ruby Gutierrez

Translated by Fernando Gayesky

Tells the true life story of Pelé, a poor boy from Brazil who loved futbol more than anything else and became the biggest soccer star the world has ever know, the first man in the history of the sport to score a thousand goals.


For the Love of Soccer!
Written by Pelé

Illustrated by Frank Morrison

The three-time World Cup champion celebrates the kick and thrill of his favorite sport, recounting his inspiring rise to fame as illustrations depict his life and the story of a young athlete's efforts to follow in his hero's speedy footsteps.

Written by Pat Rediger

Learn the fundamentals of soccer, and includes short facts about superstars of the game.