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Soldier's Game

James Killgore

160 pp.  

Floris Books

As Bruntsfield Primary soccer team suffers another humiliating defeat, Ross is fed up with being on the losing side. However, following football practice each week, he goes to visit his grandmother, and this week she has a special present for him.

Pat digs out a pair of old soccer boots and strip that belonged to her father, who once played for Heart of Midlothian Football Club. Ross is amazed that his great-grandfather Jack had played for the famous Hearts. As he finds out more about Jack, an incredible story unfolds—a tale of Edinburgh’s young heroes and a battalion of footballers and fans who fought in World War I at the Battle of the Somme.

Based on the true story of the 16th Royal Scots, otherwise known as the “Heart of Midlothian Battalion,” this moving book brings a fascinating moment of Scottish history to life. James Killgore interweaves the present-day life of an ordinary soccer-crazy boy with a story of young men who were sent to war. He focuses on the friendships that develop as the lads play football and learn to become soldiers together, making this remarkable story enjoyable and accessible for young people.

(Ages 8–12)

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