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Children's Fiction Emigration & Immigration

Golden Game

by (author) David Starr

James Lorimer & Company Ltd., Publishers
Initial publish date
Aug 2017
Emigration & Immigration, Emotions & Feelings, Soccer
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Aug 2017
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Aug 2017
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 10 to 13
  • Grade: 3
  • Reading age: 7 to 8


Abbas is a Syrian refugee and a striker on a junior high soccer team of refugee and immigrant players. He is excited when his team is sponsored to play a big tournament, where he can reconnect with a friend from Syria. But a traffic accident triggers Abbas to experience anxiety and flashbacks to the violence in Syria. He finds ways to conquer his flashbacks and anxiety before the big tournament and also helps his whole team deal with the pressure of the competition.

Golden Game is one of four books that offer readers insight into the experiences of refugee youth as they adjust to life in North America.

About the author

David Starr is a prize-winning author of five previous books. In The Nor’Wester, he told Duncan’s story of fleeing Scotland to Canada, where he joins Simon Fraser on his epic 1808 voyage by canoe down the Fraser. Bombs to Books chronicles the stories of refugee children and their families coming to B.C. Golden Goal and Golden Game are young adult soccer-themed books for reluctant readers. The Insider’s Guide to K–12 Education in B.C. is a resource guide for parents about the B.C. school system. David grew up in Fort St. James in northern British Columbia, and he now lives in Greater Vancouver with his wife, four children and a dog named Buster. He is one of the UBC Faculty of Education’s Top 100 Graduates and a school administrator in Metro Vancouver. For further information and readings availability, visit

David Starr's profile page


  • Winner, CCBC Best Books for Kids & Teens

Editorial Reviews

"This is an upbeat story in spite of the PTSD, and it is treated realistically."


"Starr relays Abbas's issues with a subtlety that perfectly fits the gentle tone while still communicating how shockingly commonplace violence was in Syria ... The book has no antagonists yet still succeeds as a drama, letting Abbas conquer his fears before, naturally, conquering the opposing teams."


"In David Starr and Dirk McLean's new Soccer United: Team Refugee series for reluctant middle-grade readers, kids are given insight into the lives of other kids from war-torn countries through the lens of a sport nearly all of them are familiar with: soccer is now the third-most played team sport in the U.S., ahead of even the game we call 'football.'"

Booklist Reader

"In Golden Game, David Starr has written a truly amazing representation of PTSD and anxiety in Abbas. He created a wonderful support system that was crucial to Abbas being able to grow as he did in the book. Without his teammates, family, friends, and teachers, Abbas wouldn't have been able to progress the way he did, and through this representation support systems like this are normalized."

CM: Canadian Review of Materials

"Soccer United stands apart for discussing the modern refugee crisis and the difficulties of resettlement for middle school readers."

School Library Journal

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