Staff Picks

A Field of Sports

Some of our favorite stories about sports for school-age children.

Children's Services Staff

Younger Elementary

Doubles Troubles     Doubles Troubles    
Betty Hicks
    (Juvenile First Chapter Books - J Hicks)
Gym shorts: book 6

Wanting to win the doubles tennis trophy, Henry helps his partner Rocky train for the match while also working on his history project, which may be a bit more work than Henry can handle. Part of the Gym Shorts series.

Marvin Redpost: Super Fast, Out of Control!     Marvin Redpost: Super Fast, Out of Control!    
Louis Sachar
    (Juvenile First Chapter Books - J Sa)

Afraid of his new mountain bike, third-grader Marvin finds himself in a desperate situation when he accepts a challenge to ride down Suicide Hill.

Mermaid Queen     Mermaid Queen    
Shana Corey
    (Juvenile Nonfiction - J 797.2192 Kellerman Cor)

A fun, feel-good, "underdog" story about a little-known female athlete whose derring-do transformed girls' sports.

Molly Gets Mad     Molly Gets Mad    
Suzy Kline
    (Juvenile First Chapter Books - J Kl)

Third grader Molly is jealous of Florence's superior ice skating ability but makes an interesting discovery about teamwork when she joins the hockey team.

Soccer Sam     Soccer Sam    
Jean Marzollo
    (Juvenile Early Readers - J-ER Mar)

Sam's cousin from Mexico comes for an extended visit and teaches Sam and all the second graders to play soccer.

Strong Man: The Story of Charles Atlas     Strong Man: The Story of Charles Atlas    
Meghan McCarthy
    (Juvenile Nonfiction - J 796.4192 Atlas McC)

He could tear phone books in half, bend iron bars into giant Us, and pull a 145,000-pound train with his bare hands. But once upon a time, Atlas himself was a "97-pound weakling" who was picked on by neighborhood bullies.

The Dog that Stole Football Plays     The Dog that Stole Football Plays    
Matt Christopher
    (Juvenile First Chapter Books - Chr)

A boy and his psychic dog are able to steal plays from the opposing football team.

Three Strikes for Rotten Ralph     Three Strikes for Rotten Ralph    
Jack Gantos
    (Juvenile First Chapter Books - J Gantos)
Gantos, Jack. Rotten Ralph rotten reader.

When Rotten Ralph, the cat, fails to win a spot on a baseball team with his friend Sarah, he becomes the "cat boy" instead, still dreaming of proving himself the superstar he imagines himself to be.

Older Elementary

A Diamond in the Desert     A Diamond in the Desert    
Kathryn Fitzmaurice
    (Juvenile Fiction - J Fitzmau)

After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, thirteen-year-old Tetsu and his family are sent to the Gila River Relocation Center in Arizona where a fellow prisoner starts a baseball team, but when Tetsu's sister becomes ill and he feels responsible, he stops playing.

Airball: My Life in Briefs     Airball: My Life in Briefs    
Lisa D. Harkrader
    (Juvenile Fiction - J Harkrad)

Uncoordinated Kansas seventh-grader Kirby Nickel braves his coach's ire and becomes captain of the basketball team in order to help him prove that NBA star Brett McGrew is the father he has never known.

Baseball Great     Baseball Great    
Tim Green
    (Juvenile Fiction - J Green)

All twelve-year-old Josh wants to do is play baseball but when his father, a minor league pitcher, signs him up for a youth championship team, Josh finds himself embroiled in a situation with potentially illegal consequences.

Beyond Lucky     Beyond Lucky    
Sarah Aronson
    (Juvenile Fiction - J Aronson)

Twelve-year-old Ari Fish is sure that the rare trading card he found has changed his luck and that of his soccer team, but after the card is stolen he comes to know that we make our own luck, and that heroes can be fallible.

Bird in a Box     Bird in a Box    
Andrea Davis Pinkney
    (Juvenile Fiction - J Pinkney)

In 1936, three children meet at the Mercy Home for Negro Orphans in New York State, and while not all three are orphans, they are all dealing with grief and loss which together, along with the help of a sympathetic staff member and the boxing matches of Joe Louis, they manage to overcome. Includes author's notes.

Hoop Girlz     Hoop Girlz    
Lucy Jane Bledsoe
    (Juvenile Fiction - J Bl)

When ten-year-old River, who is crazy about basketball, is not chosen to play in the tournament set up in the town of Azalea, Oregon, she decides to organize a team of her own and accepts the help of her older brother.

Hot Hand     Hot Hand    
Mike Lupica
    (Juvenile Fiction - J Lupica)
Comeback Kids: book 1

In the wake of his parents' separation, ten-year-old Billy seems to have continual conflicts with his father, who is also his basketball coach, but his quiet, younger brother Ben, a piano prodigy, is having even more trouble adjusting, and only Billy seems to notice.

Ice Island     Ice Island    
Sherry Shahan
    (Juvenile Fiction - J Shahan)

Thirteen-year-old Tatum's dream of competing in the grueling 1,049-mile Iditerod Trail Sled Dog Race may be at an end when she becomes lost in a freak snowstorm during a training run on Alaska's remote Santa Ysabel Island.

Lay-ups and Long Shots: An Anthology of Short Stories     Lay-ups and Long Shots: An Anthology of Short Stories     (Juvenile Fiction - J Layups)

A collection of nine short stories about middle-schoolers and sports. They range from a game of "H-O-R-S-E" to running, ping pong, dirt biking, surfing, place kicking, soccer, and basketball.

New Kid     New Kid    
Tim Green
    (Juvenile Fiction - J Green)

A troubled kid finds his bearings in a new school after a baseball coach offers him a spot on the team.

Sasquatch in the Paint     Sasquatch in the Paint    
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
    (Juvenile Fiction - J Abdulja)
Abdul-Jabbar, Kareem, 1947- Streetball crew ; 1.

Eighth-grader Theo Rollins' growth spurt has Coach Mandrake trying to transform him into a basketball star, but training time is hurting the science club's chances of winning the "Aca-lympics," and being accused of stealing could mean Theo is off both teams.

Six Innings: A Game in the Life     Six Innings: A Game in the Life    
James Preller
    (Juvenile Fiction - J Preller)

The heart stopping action of a little league baseball game frames a personal introduction to the players, the strategies, and twelve-year-old Sam, sidelined by cancer.

Slam!     Slam!    
Walter Dean Myers
    (Juvenile Fiction - J My)

"Slam" Harris is counting on his noteworthy basketball talents to get him out of the inner city.

Soccer Chick Rules     Soccer Chick Rules    
Dawn Fitzgerald
    (Juvenile Fiction - J Fitzger)

While trying to focus on a winning soccer season, thirteen-year-old Tess becomes involved in local politics when she learns that all sports programs at her school will be stopped unless a tax levy is passed.

Summerland     Summerland    
Michael Chabon
    (Juvenile Fiction - J Ch)

Ethan Feld, the worst baseball player in the history of the game, finds himself recruited by a 100-year-old scout to help a band of fairies triumph over an ancient enemy.

Taking Sides     Taking Sides    
Gary Soto
    (Juvenile Fiction - J So)

Fourteen-year-old Lincoln Mendoza, an aspiring basketball player, must come to terms with his divided loyalties when he moves from the Hispanic inner city to a white suburban neighborhood.

Tall Story     Tall Story    
Candy Gourlay
    (Juvenile Fiction - J Gourlay)

Sixteen-year-old Bernardo, who is eight feet tall and suffers from a condition called Gigantism, leaves the Philipines to live with his mother's family in London, much to the delight of his thirteen-year-old half sister Andi, a passionate basketball player.

The Boy Who Saved Baseball     The Boy Who Saved Baseball    
John H. Ritter
    (Juvenile Fiction - J Ritter)

The fate of a small California town rests on the outcome of one baseball game. Tom Gallagher hopes to lead his team to victory with the secrets of the now disgraced player, Dante Del Gato. Read the prequel: The Desperado Who Stole Baseball.

The Million Dollar Kick     The Million Dollar Kick    
Dan Gutman
    (Juvenile Fiction - J Gu)

Thirteen-year-old Whisper, who hates sports, is torn when she gets a chance to win a million dollars by kicking a goal against a local soccer hero.

Top of the Order     Top of the Order    
John Coy
    (Juvenile Fiction - J Coy)

Ten-year-old Jackson lives for baseball, but becomes distracted by the approach of middle school, his mother's latest boyfriend, and the presence of a girl--his good friend's sister--on his team. (First in the 4 For 4 series.)

Travel Team     Travel Team    
Mike Lupica
    (Juvenile Fiction - J Lu)

After he is cut from his travel basketball team--the very same team that his father once led to national prominence--twelve-year-old Danny Walker forms his own team of cast-offs that might have a shot at victory.

We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball     We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball    
Kadir Nelson
    (Juvenile Nonfiction - J 796.357 Nel)

Using an "Everyman" player as his narrator, Kadir Nelson tells the story of Negro League baseball from its beginnings in the 1920s through the decline after Jackie Robinson crossed over to the majors in 1947. Illustrations from oil paintings by artist Kadir Nelson.

Yes She Can!  Women's Sports Pioneers     Yes She Can! Women's Sports Pioneers    
Glenn Stout
    (Juvenilr Nonfiction - J 796.092 Sto)
Good sports: book 2

Profiles five female athletes through history that overcame adversity and discrimination to become prominent players in their sports, including historic swimmer Trudy Ederle and NASCAR's Danica Patrick. (Part of the Good Sports series.)