Puffin has netted The Dream Team, a football-themed middle-grade series from Priscilla Mante, in a two-book deal.
Assistant editor Sara Jafari acquired world rights from Sallyanne Sweeney at MMB Creative. The first title in the series,The Dream Team: Jaz Shoots for the Stars, will be published in April 2021.
Billed as “Bend It Like Beckham” for fans of Jacqueline Wilson, the series is said to explore unlikely friendships, family and never giving up on a dream.
The first book's synopsis explains: “Things begin to go wrong for Jaz when her mum moves out, leaving her family behind. Determined to fix everything, she creates her own girl's football team to be the star her mum always wanted. First, she recruits a brilliant new group of friends to join her team. But after a shaky start, seven very different personalities to manage, and no one at school taking the girls' team seriously, football stardom feels a long way off. Can Jaz keep everyone–and herself–out of trouble long enough to convince her mum to come home?”
Jafari said: “As soon as I began reading Jaz Shoots for the Stars I knew I was reading something truly special. Jaz Shoots for the Stars, the first book in The Dream Team series, is a heartwarming, funny, relatable story about a girl named Jaz who creates her own girl’s football team, ‘The Dream Team’, in order to win her mum back home. Priscilla has such a natural talent for writing characters that you can’t help but root for and see yourselves in them. We’re all so incredibly thrilled to be welcoming Priscilla to Puffin and launching this new series.”
Mante said: “It's been a childhood dream to become an author and as someone who grew up on Puffin Classics, I am beyond thrilled to be working with the team at Puffin. I've been overwhelmed by their enthusiasm and support for my stories. It's my hope that Jaz's journey inspires young readers everywhere to strike out in pursuit of their dreams. It's a story of overcoming fear, realising self-worth and holding on to hope. I'm excited to kick off The Dream Team series next year with Jaz Shoots for the Stars. 2021 is a monumental year for women's football–it marks 100 years since the first year of the FA's 50-year ban on women's football. Much has changed since then and women's football is now one of the fastest growing sports in the world, but there is still a long way to go.”