March Madness

March Madness is not just for basketball fans! Join in the mania by reading about champions on and off the court, field, or track as they learn more about themselves and their sport. Explore the list of books below to learn more about a sport, a particular athlete, or teamwork and perseverance – maybe you’ll find a new activity to try!

Sports aficionados of all kinds can get their fix by searching the catalog using a combination of subject terms like “juvenile fiction” for fiction books or “juvenile literature” for nonfiction books along with “sports,” “[specific sport],” “[athlete name],” etc. Nonfiction books about sports can be found in the 796 call number range.

Additionally, there are some authors who are known for their sports themed books – more than 10 each! Check them out: Mike Lupica, Matt Christopher, Tim Green, and Jake Maddox.

Buckley Jr., James
Who are Venus and Serena Williams? 2017.
As two of the most famous tennis players in the world, Venus and Serena Williams have won many tournaments and awards, including Olympic medals, but what they are most proud of is making a difference. This compelling biography tells the tale of the sisters’ dedication, rivalry, and courage as they dared to be different and dealt with hardships.
[SSHEL S-Collection SB. W72b]

Connolly, Sean
The Book of Wildly Spectacular Sports Science. 2016.
Discover the science behind sports phenomena, like “How do you trap a soccer ball?,” “How do figure skaters spin so fast?,” and “How do long jumpers ‘walk’ in midair?” This book presents various scenarios and then explains the scientific concepts, making them come alive with try-it-at-home experiments that will have kids having fun, learning, and wanting to show off their new skills!
[SSHEL S-Collection TEXT. 796.015 WORKM2016]

Feinstein, John
Backfield Boys. 2017.
Best friends Jason Roddin and Tom Jefferson love playing football and are ecstatic to be at an elite sports-centered boarding school for freshman year. Jason, called White Lighting for his super speed, plays wide-receiver, while Tom, an African American, complements him by being a natural quarterback. The boys are surprised when they are told to switch positions at the start of the season and they come to suspect that there is an underlying racial issue. This intense story about friendship and equality includes epic play-by-play football and intelligent investigative reporting.
[SSHEL S-Collection S. F327b]

Freitas, Donna
Gold Medal Summer. 2012.
Joey Jordan loves gymnastics, but she’s fourteen and has to decide if she wants to keep pursuing her gold medal dream. To make things even more complicated, she’s trying to live up to her national champion older sister Julie, her best friend Trish wants to quit, and Joey has a crush on Tanner, a cute boy at school. A normal life is sounding better and better until her coach creates some new and exciting routines that highlight Joey’s strengths, and Joey begins to think that a gold medal might actually be in her future.
[SSHEL S-Collection S. F884g]

Lester, Helen
Tacky and the Winter Games. 2005.
It’s time for the Winter Games! Join Tacky and his teammates Goodly, Lovely, Angel, Neatly, and Perfect as they compete in bobsled-less racing, ski jumping, and speed skating, hoping to win a medal. A cute introduction to some winter sports, readers will laugh out loud at the seemingly hopeless Tacky and are reminded that it’s not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game.
[SSHEL S-Collection SE. L567t]

Norwich, Grace
I am LeBron James. 2014.
LeBron James is a basketball superstar, but his story is not all fun and games. This biography goes into detail about the hard work it took to get to where he is today, sharing his amazing accomplishments both on and off the court. Photos, a timeline, and a list of 10 important things to know help readers gain a wide view of this popular athlete’s life.

Raczka, Bob
Joy in Mudville. 2014.
The day after Mighty Casey struck out, the score is 1-0 with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth. With the Mudville team getting desperate, rookie Joy Armstrong is sent in as the relief pitcher, and readers watch in suspense as she borrows moves from other sports in an attempt to strike out the batter and win the game. Told in rhyme, this quirky and inspiring story shows that girls can play any sport just as well as boys can.
[SSHEL S-Collection Q. SE. R1152j]

Reynolds, Jason
Ghost. 2016.
All Castle Cranshaw, aka Ghost, knows how to do is run. His dad chased him and his mom out in a rampage three years ago and he’s been running ever since. Ghost has only ever run for himself, but an Olympic medalist track coach sees his talent and encourages him to join the team. This book follows Ghost as he learns that are more ways to run than away. Book 1 in the series Track.
[SSHEL S-Collection S. R33515gh]

Wallace, Paula S.
The World of Sports. 2003.
This accessible information book takes readers on a journey to learn about the popular sports of countries around the world. It includes how to play various games like kabaddi from India or queimada from Brazil with colorful pictures and diagrams to bring them to life. “Did You Know?” facts are sprinkled throughout the book, making this an interactive experience that encourages curiosity and activity.
[SSHEL S-Collection S. 796 W1552w]

Whamond, Dave
Oddrey Joins the Team. 2014.
Oddrey likes to make up new and exciting sports to play, so when her friend Maybelline asks her to join the school soccer team, she decides to give it a whirl. Her teammates soon realize that Oddrey plays the game a little differently than everyone else… but it is Oddrey who encourages the Piccadilla Bees to work together as a team using their unique skills and have fun playing the game!
[SSHEL S-Collection SE. W554oj]

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]