This book is about a group of kids who live in South Africa. They are united by their love of soccer and so when one of the boys gets a new soccer ball as a prize at school, they are all excited and can't wait to play. However, since they know their neighborhood is unsafe they always have to be careful and watch out for bullies. While they are playing, the bullies come and the boys manage to hide their new ball from the bullies, who steal their old ball instead.
At the end, there is an author's note that talks about how poverty, bullies, and unsafe alleys are rampant in rural areas like the one in the book and how soccer is a form of uniting the people who live through this and persevere.
I think this book is a great and subtle way to talk about issues in our community and communities around us because the students could relate to the story well. I also like how the author sheds light on sports as something strong that unifies a community to pull through difficult times.
The book can definitely be applied to sj levels 1, 2, and 3. Students can talk about things that bring them and their families (and/or communities) together. The book also could potentially go into the 3rd level because you can explore issues of class, neighborhood, etc. and what brings about things like poverty. As a follow up to the book, if things like "what we can do about these issues..." are discussed then it could also serve as an introduction to level 4 and possibly 5, depending on how far the teacher and students are willing to expand on it.