The Book That Made Me: Philip Reeve 16/10/19
Marta: Ultimate Football Heroes
Publisher: Dino Books
Marta grows up playing football barefoot on the sun-scorched earth of Alagoas, Brazil, using makeshift balls fashioned from scraps of cloth. She has natural flair for the game but the local boys don’t want to play with her; girls don’t belong on a football pitch. Marta laughs off the naysayers, trains hard and is spotted by a scout.
Aged 14, she sets off to the dizzy lights of Rio to join a women’s team but their funding is soon axed; Brazil offers little opportunity for female players. This time, Marta joins a Swedish club. She trains hard but has fun and teaches her teammates samba! Her career flourishes and she is awarded Fifa Player of the Year 2006.
While playing for Brazil in the 2016 Olympics, Marta realises that she isn’t playing football only for herself now, but for all women around the world.
This biography showcases Marta’s strength on and off the pitch and should be compulsory reading for every girl. It is a story about the vibrancy of Brazil, coping with leaving home and overcoming sexism. Marta’s steely determination inspires resilience and urges young people to follow their passions, whether they feature a football or not.