Good Game! Children’s Sports Books

The Olympics are winding down and the Paralympics don’t begin until late August, leaving the middle of the month unfortunately sports-free. The S-Collection, of course, has plenty of children’s sports books to tide you over. Readers of all ages can experience the passion, rivalry, and triumph of competitive sports through the books included in this post.

To find additional children’s sports books in the library’s online catalog, do a subject search for “sports” (or the specific sport you’re interested in, like “basketball”) and “juvenile fiction” (for fiction books) or “juvenile literature” (for nonfiction books). More nonfiction sports books can be found on the S-Collection shelves in the 796 call number range.

In addition to the books in this bibliography, check out authors Mike Lupica and Tim Green. Both men have written many excellent sports stories – so many, in fact, that it was impossible to choose just one from each!
Picture Books (Fiction)

Codell, Esme Raji.
The Basket Ball. 2011.
After the boys won’t let her join in their basketball game, Lulu decides to host a Basket Ball, where girls from all over come to participate and, with Lulu as captain, end up forming a special team.
[Education S Collection Q. SE. C648b]

Doodler, Todd H.
Bear in Pink Underwear. 2011.
Bear always wears his lucky underwear when he plays soccer with the Red Devils but after a series of mishaps and some terrible teasing, he wonders if they have lost their luck.
[Rare Book & Manuscript Library Oak Street SE. D7202bea]

Gurth, Per-Herik.
Snowy Sports: Ready, Set, Play! 2009.
An adorable cast of colorful animal characters bundles up to showcase the wonderful world of winter sports.
[Education S Collection SE. G968s]

Soto, Gary.
Lucky Luis. 2012.
Luis is convinced that he will not perform well on the baseball field without following his unique pre-game ritual.
Education S Collection Q. SE. So78lu]

Wheeler, Lisa.
Dino-Soccer. 2009.
When veggie-nibbling Grazers and meat-munching Biters take to the soccer field, it’s a showdown of prehistoric proportions. Herbivores and carnivores play a hilarious and closely fought soccer match (refereed by a dodo bird, naturally) in front of a stadium full of cheering dinosaurs.
[Education S Collection SE. W565d]
Picture Books (Nonfiction)

Bobrick, Benson.
A Passion for Victory: The Story of the Olympics in Ancient and Early Modern Times. 2012.
The captivating story of the Olympic Games, starting with their inception in Ancient Greece, leading up to our modern day Olympics.
[Center for Children’s Books S.796.48 B6308p]

Brown, Monica.
Pele, King of Soccer/Pele, El rey del futbol. 2009.
Do you know how a poor boy from Brazil who loved futbol more than anything else became the biggest soccer star the world has ever known? Turn the pages of this book to read the true life story of Pele, King of Soccer, the first man in the history of the sport to score a thousand goals and become a living legend. Bilingual book in Spanish and English.
[Center for Children’s Books SB. P381br]

Macy, Sue.
Basketball Belles: How Two Teams and One Scrappy Player Put Women’s Hoops on the Map. 2011.
Raised on a cattle ranch, Agnes Morley was sent to Stanford University to learn to be a lady. Yet in no time she exchanged her breeches and spurs for bloomers and a basketball. In a heart-pounding game against the University of California at Berkeley in 1896, Agnes led her team to victory in the first-ever intercollegiate women’s basketball game.
[Center for Children’s Books Q. SB. M864m]

Malaspina, Ann.
Touch the Sky: Alice Coachman, Olympic High Jumper. 2012.
A biography of the first black woman to win an Olympic gold medal, from her childhood in segregated Albany, Georgia, in the 1930s, through her recognition at the 1996 Olympics as one of the hundred best athletes in Olympic history. Includes bibliographical references.
[Center for Children’s Books SB. C6307m]

Winter, Jonah.
Muhammad Ali: Champion of the World. 2007.
Provides a profile of this legendary and flamboyant boxer and the complicated life he led, from changing his religion and his name to dodging the draft during the Vietnam Era and fighting his way to regain a stripped title.
[Education S Collection, Center for Children’s Books SB. A398w]

Novels (And One Fabulous Biography)

Bruchac, Joseph.
Jim Thorpe: Original All-American. 2006.
A first-person biography of Native American athlete Jim Thorpe, focusing on his early athletic career, during which time he played football for Pop Warner at the Carlisle Indian School and won Olympic Gold medals in track and field.
[Education Storage, Center for Children’s Books SB. T519b]

Cochrane, Mick.
The Girl Who Threw Butterflies. 2009.
Eighth-grader Molly’s ability to throw a knuckleball earns her a spot on the baseball team, which not only helps her feel connected to her recently deceased father, who loved baseball, it helps in other aspects of her life, as well.
[Education S Collection S. C6437g]

Cohen, Joshua C.
Leverage. 2011.
High school sophomore Danny excels at gymnastics but is bullied, like the rest of the gymnasts, by members of the football team, until an emotionally and physically scarred new student joins the football team and forms an unlikely friendship with Danny.
[Education S Collection S. C6605l]

Crutcher, Chris.
Whale Talk. 2001.
Intellectually and athletically gifted, TJ, a multiracial, adopted teenager, shuns organized sports and the gung-ho athletes at his high school until he agrees to form a swimming team and recruits some of the school’s less popular students.
[Education Storage, Center for Children’s Books S.C889w]

Grimes, Nikki.
Planet Middle School. 2011.
A series of poems describes all the baffling changes at home and at school in twelve-year-old Joylin’s transition from tomboy basketball player to not-quite-girly girl.
[Education S Collection, Center for Children’s Books S. G882p]

Herbach, Geoff.
Stupid Fast. 2011.
Just before his sixteenth birthday, Felton Reinstein has a sudden growth spurt that turns him from a small, jumpy, picked-on boy with the nickname of “Squirrel Nut” to a powerful athlete, leading to new friends, his first love, and the courage to confront his family’s past and current problems.
[Center for Children’s Books S. H4132s]

Koertge, Ron.
Shakespeare Bats Cleanup. 2003.
When a fourteen-year-old baseball player catches mononucleosis, he discovers that keeping a journal and experimenting with poetry not only helps fill the time, it also helps him deal with life, love, and loss. Sequel: Shakespeare Makes the Playoffs.
[Center for Children’s Books S.K8192sh]

Larbalestier, Justine.
How to Ditch Your Fairy. 2008.
In a world in which everyone has a personal fairy who tends to one aspect of daily life, fourteen-year-old Charlie – a freshman at New Avalon Sports High – decides she does not want her parking fairy and embarks on a series of misadventures designed to rid herself of the invisible sprite and replace it with a better one.
[Center for Children’s Books S. L321h]

Murdock, Catherine Gilbert.
Dairy Queen. 2006.
After spending her summer running the family farm and training the quarterback for her school’s rival football team, sixteen-year-old D.J. decides to go out for the sport herself, not anticipating the reactions of those around her. Sequels: The Off Season, Front and Center.
[Center for Children’s Books, Uni High Fiction S. M941d]

Myers,Walter Dean.
Game. 2008.
If Harlem high school senior Drew Lawson is going to realize his dream of playing college, then professional, basketball, he will have to improve at being coached and being a team player, especially after a new – white – student threatens to take the scouts’ attention away from him.
[Center for Children’s Books S. M992ga]

Padian, Maria.
Jersey Tomatoes Are the Best. 2011.
When fifteen-year-old best friends Henry and Eve leave New Jersey, one for tennis camp in Florida and one for ballet camp in New York, each faces challenges that put her long-cherished dreams of the future to the test.
[Education S Collection, Center for Children’s Books S. P134j]

Van Draanen, Wendelin.
The Running Dream. 2011.
When a school bus accident leaves sixteen-year-old Jessica an amputee, she returns to school with a prosthetic limb and her track team finds a wonderful way to help rekindle her dream of running again.
[Education S Collection, Center for Children’s Books S. V2871r]

Volponi, Paul.
Crossing Lines. 2011.
High school senior Adonis struggles to do the right thing when his fellow football players escalate their bullying of a new classmate, Alan, who is transgender. Other sports books by Volponi include: Black and White, Final Four, and Rucker Park Setup.
[Education S Collection, Center for Children’s Books S. V888c]

Williams, Michael.
Now Is the Time for Running. 2011.
When soldiers attack a small village in Zimbabwe, Deo goes on the run with Innocent, his older, mentally disabled brother, carrying little but a leather soccer ball filled with money, and after facing prejudice, poverty, and tragedy, it is in soccer that Deo finds renewed hope.
[Education S Collection, Center for Children’s Books S. W6744b 2011]

Yep, Laurence.
Dragon Road. 2008.
In 1939, unable to find regular jobs because of the Great Depression, long-time friends Cal Chin and Barney Young tour the country as members of a Chinese American basketball team.
[Education S Collection, Center for Children’s Books S. Y43drr]