“Outcasts United: The Story of a Refugee Soccer Team That Changed a Town,” adapted for young people by Warren St. John; Delacorte Press, 226 pages ($16.99).

This is the amazing true story of how one person can make a difference. Luma Mufleh was born in Jordan and went to college in the U.S. She always loved soccer. Her decision to stay in the U.S. angered her family in Jordan so much they cut off contact with her and all financial support.

On her own in her adopted country, she was coaching private youth soccer teams in Atlanta when she discovered the community of Clarkston, Ga., a town where the federal government had resettled large numbers of refugees from around the world. Everywhere in town, kids were playing soccer (many couldn’t afford shoes and played barefoot).

Mufleh decided to start a youth league in Clarkston for the refugees, battling obstacles including the lack of a decent playing field and town politicians who weren’t too happy with the presence of so many refugees. (Her teams were the Fugees, short for refugees.)

The author, a New York Times reporter, adapted his book for young readers and it’s a fascinating, exciting story. There’s plenty of thrilling soccer action, but the memorable characters are the best thing about it, both the profiles of young refugees, many of whom had seen terrible things in their homelands and lived for years in refugee camps. The most interesting profile of all is of Mufleh herself, a very tough coach with a heart of gold, who is still devoting herself to both athletics and academic success for young refugees.

– Jean Westmoore


The KeyBank Sunday Film Series continues with “ParaNorman”(PG) at 2 p.m. Sunday in the Riviera Theatre, 67 Webster St., North Tonawanda. Cost is $2. For information, call 692-2413 or visit


The Trojan War is one of the greatest events in Greek mythology and is the focus of such epic Greek poems as the Iliad and the Odyssey by Homer. According to legend, the war began following the kidnapping of Helen of Sparta by Paris, the prince of Troy. Sparta was a city-state in ancient Greece. Helen’s husband, Menelaus, was the king of Sparta. He went to war with Troy to get his wife back.

– Time Book Book of Why