Check out our reviews by some of our readers.
Victoria Simmons, Deputy Headteacher (Inclusion)
I really enjoyed reading Baller Boys.
It's so refreshing to read a book that has such a diverse range of characters.
I love the message that if you are determined and don't let setbacks pull you down, you can be successful.
Each character has their own challenges but with the care and support of the team, they do not let them get in their way.
This book will grab the attention of any football crazy young person but will go on to help them see that kindness and understanding can make a huge difference to someone's life.
It will also inspire young people to believe that if they work together, they do have the power to change things.
As an inclusion lead, I truly believe it is important for children with additional needs and those that have non-traditional family structures see themselves represented in the books they read.
This book will support such children to see their lives reflected in a positive light through the lives of the boys in this book.
Professor Marcia A. Wilson Ph.D
This excellent book is a much needed addition to the literary world and should be in every school library. Baller Boys is a story about the friendship between Shay and Frankie and their passion for football. The importance of this book is the diversity of characters and their everyday experiences. The story is beautifully written so that children will be able to identify with the diverse characters and be able to see themselves reflected in the story. It is a great way to get children, especially boys engaged in reading. Baller Boys is well written, humorous, and a page turner!
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Alex Wheatle, MBE
Baller Boys is a fantastic read for any young person interested in football, friendship and perusing your dreams.
The characters are diverse and richly talented.
The story will warm your heart.
Bejal Mistry, Teacher
I couldn't wait to start reading this as I'd heard so many great reviews. I was fortunate to receive an early copy and I enjoyed sharing it with my students who can't wait for the book to go on sale.
Joanne Meeks, Librarian
I read this book with my godson who is of mixed heritage and he loved seeing characters that looked like him and had the same interests as him.
Baller Boys is fun, easy reading and the characters really do come to life!
Finally, a series that ALL children can relate to.
These books touch upon current issues that we face in today's society, that many people struggle to understand.
This series will take pride of place on my bookshelf for generations to come.
Jahnyel, 7 Year Old
I really like the book. My favourite character is Shay. I really like the way that Shay jumped on the bed. I could also relate to the characters. I felt like Shay was a happy boy who loves his family and likes attention. I felt the message of the book was about being kind.
Accounts Navigator Associates
We are proud to sponsor Baller Boys Books. The message that is portrayed in Baller Boys Books is extremely powerful and relatable to young children today. As well as an interesting and fun read the book also teaches young people about teamwork, leadership, inspiration and culture.
Nyesha Jones Director of Paper Pages Publishing Ltd
Venessa Taylor takes readers on a heart-warming journey to witness the birth of 9 ‘Baller Boys’ and their friendships.
Each character, unique in their backgrounds, skills and talents will relate to so many children and their adversities and experiences. Tackling issues such as health, families and emotions, Shay’s loyalty and “never give up” attitude is a message that will stay with readers forever, especially football lovers.
There is no doubt that representation matters and children need to see books that reflect themselves. Not just in ethnicity, but through their limitations, strengths and weaknesses.
Baller Boys is a fantastic portrayal of that diversity and how it can be celebrated through the gift of friendship and the love of football.
“But he was a good footballer and that was all they cared about.”
Aleiseia, 7 Year Old
I think the book is interesting and I really liked the picture cards. I feel like there are lots of good words that I can use in my own writing. I really like the football sections. My favourite character is Shay. I think he is very energetic and loves playing with his dad. I liked the message of the book - that you should keep trying and don't give-up.
Kairo, 8 Year Old
The characters are children I can relate to as they like doing the same things that I do. I am really excited to find out what happens in the next book
Saranna Maynard - Football Mum
What a brilliant, well written book! Being a football mum to a son who struggled with reading growing up I would have loved this for him.
A book about his love, with characters that reflect the diversity of friends that he used to play with. Everything about this book echoes and mirrors my son and will do the same for a lot of boys through all walks of life. I love the style of writing, the description of all the characters and the highs and lows of the families. I can’t wait for the next book in the series!
Anthony Acheampong - Football Consultant and Former England C Player
Pulling inspiration from people and events in her own life Venessa's debut book about young boys; from all walks of life, united through football, is truly exceptional.
Growing up I wouldn't say I was much of a reader, however if I had books featuring characters similar to myself and friends, and of course about football, I would have definitely picked up more than a book or two.
Admittedly it made me quite keen to check out its authenticity and whether the title really captured how culturally unique and different players are in football; as well as whether the lingo and football jargon was true to life, to make it all that more real. To my surprise this book did exactly that.
The book explored themes of team work, friendship, hard work, culture, and leadership, those of which are important for young readers and lovers of football as they navigate through todays world, this book definitely would have been good for when I was growing up.
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed the book, it's star character Shay and his best friend Frankie reminded me very much of my Caucasian primary school best friend. We loved football and were aspiring Baller Boys too, I remember those team dinners, and sponsor forms all to clearly. Like the book I met lots of different people, whom I made great friendships, and bonds with. It was refreshing to read a book that undoubtedly reflected how diverse London and football is, and I was delighted to be able to be drawn back to a time, when I was a young boy growing up and loving everything football.
Perfect for footie fans.
Joe Black - Football Coach/Player
A great story detailing the ups and downs of youth football. A highly recommended read.