HomeJean Marzollo, author of I SPY
Soccer Sam Cover

My husband moved from Italy to the United States when he was 9 years old. He did not speak any English. He says he learned English in a few months because none of the kids at his new school spoke Italian. At home he still spoke Italian with his family. In 1985 he and I and our two sons visited my husband's relatives in Italy. Our sons were 10 and 11 years old. They watched Italian kids playing soccer. The Italian kids were better than American kids, who in 1985, were not as used to playing soccer as they are today.

Inspired, I wrote Soccer Sam. At first in my story I had Sam come from Italy. Then I realized that many more kids come to the United States from Mexico than from Italy today. So I kept the same story but changed the country. When you write fiction, you can make changes like that. When you write non-fiction, you can't.

I'm very happy that Soccer Sam has stayed in print for so many years. It was first published in 1987. I thank Stephanie Spinner at Random House for being such a good editor and Blanche Sims for drawing such great kids.

Reading Rainbow Selection

Bank Street Child Study Children’s Book List

“A welcome addition to easy-to-read section.”

“An entertaining light read with simple sentences and lots of appeal”




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