Sarah Reviews: Footy Dreaming by Michael Hyde
Noah and Ben play on opposing teams in a footy obsessed Aussie town. Both teenagers dream of one day playing professional AFL at the G, but if either of them are going to get there they’ve got some work to do.
Indigenous kid Noah is a natural. When he’s on the footy field he knows exactly what to do. Putting in the hard yards with fitness and training, however, isn’t something Noah’s too fond of. And having to deal with racial prejudice on the field is a challenge he wishes didn’t exist.
Ben wants to do everything right. He trains hard and plays hard and he won’t let disappointment over his absent Mum get in the way of his footy dream. But Ben’s friendship with Noah is turning his club-mates against him and making the game he loves feel more like a battleground than it should.
Michael’s Hyde’s footy-fuelled novel is aimed at 10-11 year-olds, and with Aussie Rules being our most watched sport, it’s sure to capture the interest of young AFL fans all over the country. The match scenes in the book are written with plenty of colour and movement, down to the smell of hot pies wafting from the canteen and the sound of avid barracking from supporters in the stands.
But this book isn’t just about footy. It’s also about mateship. Noah and Ben forge a very believable and endearing friendship and the author skillfully uses this friendship to navigate the often tricky issues of race in a way the targeted reading age-group will understand.
I particularly liked how this book wove elements of Aboriginal culture into the story in a natural and accessible way.
Novels like Footy Dreaming are really important. Australian children need to be reading them. Great stories with some serious messages tucked neatly inside.
Footy Dreaming – Michael Hyde
Ford Street Publishing (2015)