Monday, February 15, 2010

Ponga Boy - Phil Lebherz & Philip Reed

Publisher: Epic Press, 2009
Pages: 180
Source: Review copy received in exchange for review

I have to say the reason I agreed to read and review this book is because I have many students who love soccer.  Many of them are from Mexico, Brazil, and Haiti where the one thing they have in common is soccer.  I teach reading and I also teach English to non-English speaking students.  They are constantly trying to read my books on my shelves.  The problem is that many of them can find nothing they relate to.  I believe they will be able to relate to this book on many levels.

Ponga Boy is the story of a young boy named Pichu.  He lives in the small fishing village of Los Barriles.  His father operates a ponga boat.  Pichu loves fishing with his father.  However, times are touch because the fish are not always there.  He usually arrives early and can be found on the beach juggling a soccer ball or doing some other fantastic athletic feat.  It is early one morning when two coaches from American happen upon him and see his ability.  They offer him a dream.  Come to America, go to college and play soccer.  Pichu makes the tough decision to leave his parents and Angelina behind to reach his dream.  However, he realizes that often times others do not have his dream in mind when they help make decisions for him.  He has to decide for himself what he really wants before he completely loses who he is and was.  He has to decide what his dream is and what he has to do to obtain it. 

I liked this book a lot because it really portrayed the world of sports the way it is.  It showed there are consequences, good or bad, for each decision we make.  It showed that sometimes to reach our dreams we have to make the toughest decisions of all.  I can't wait to take this book to school and offer it up to my students.  I know I will have so many who will be interested in it.


  1. Folks can buy the book at Thanks!

  2. Hi Sandra, I hope you enjoyed reading “The Ponga Boy” as much as we enjoyed writing it. The book is available in Spanish, as well as a book on tape read by the star of “Ugly Betty” Tony Plana. We have had the children in the 8th grade at Nativity School in San Diego read the book and they enjoyed it as well and mentioned that they identified with the book’s themes. Thanks for the review. Phil Lebherz

  3. What a great teacher you are to read these types of books for your students to find something that will speak to them.