The holidays are typically a happy occasion to spend quality time with family and friends. If you’re like my family – there’s always some competitive activity going on whether it was ice skating on the Pine River while growing up in Michigan, running a Christmas Town Dash, or taking a brisk walk after New Year’s dinner to “make room for dessert.” Participating in sports always makes me happy. HAPPY LIKE SOCCER is a picture book with marvelous watercolor illustrations and is a story about more than just a love of playing soccer. Sierra, the main character, doesn’t have family members able to come cheer her on at soccer games since her team plays in the suburbs far from where she lives in the city. Reading this made me recall my senior year in high school when (due to my father’s illness) my parents were absent most of the swim season. It was tough to glance at the bleachers from the starting block and see other parents cheering for their daughters but no one able to be there for me. I recall feeling very alone, and I had forgotten about that sad time until I read this book. In this story, Sierra lives with her Auntie who works at Café Garcia on Saturdays and can’t take time off to watch her games. One weekend, however, her boss allows her to switch shifts from Saturday to Sunday so she can attend her niece’s game, but darn luck would bring a storm that causes it to be canceled. What transpires after that, however, is an uplifting solution that brings to light the impact sports have on inner city neighborhoods and communities. Children of all backgrounds deserve to have an opportunity to play where they live and have access to safe playing fields. They also deserve to be cheered on by family members and neighbors and to hear their name called out as they dribble down the field, get a block on a shot, or score a goal. I highly recommend HAPPY LIKE SOCCER for a holiday read or gift for sporty girls who like soccer or any other sport.