A Field of Sports

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

Compiled by:
Children's Services Staff
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

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.

Athlete vs. Mathlete

W.C. Mack
(Juvenile Fiction – J Mack)
Athlete versus Mathlete

When their two worlds collide in seventh grade, fraternal twins and opposites Owen and Russell find themselves in direct competition at school, on the court, and at home.

Babymouse Goes for the Gold

Jennifer L. Holm & Matthew Holm
(Juvenile Graphic Novels – J Holm)

Babymouse joins the swim team and, despite her shortcomings as an athlete, gives it her all and tries to win an award.

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

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

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.

Can I Play Too?

Mo Willems
(Juvenile Early Readers – J-ER Willems)
Elephant & Piggie

Elephant and Piggie learn to play catch with their new friend Snake.

Don’t Throw it to Mo!

David A. Adler
(Juvenile Early Readers – J-ER Adler)

Mo is the youngest kid on the Robins football team. The kids on the rival team tease him for being a 'butterfingers' who's too tiny to catch the ball. But Mo's coach has a plan up his sleeve to turn Mo's little size into a big win for the Robins.

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.

Fast Break

Mike Lupica
(Juvenile Fiction – J Lupica)

Since his mother's death, Jayson, twelve, has focused on basketball and surviving but he is found out and placed with an affluent foster family of a different race, and must learn to accept many changes, including facing his former teammates in a championship game.

Guys Read: The Sports Pages

Edited by Jon Scieszka
(Juvenile Fiction – J Guys)
Guys Read

A collection of sports stories featuring everything from fighting to friendship, set everywhere from the tennis court to the hockey rink.

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

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
(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.

Little Kunoichi, the Ninja Girl

Sanae Ishida
(Juvenile Picture Books - EJ Ishida)

Little Kunoichi, a young ninja in training, is frustrated. Inspired by tiny Chibi Samurai's practice and skills, she works harder than ever--and makes a friend. Together, they show the power of perseverance, hard work, and cooperation when they wow the crowd at the Autumn Festival.

Lola Levine is Not Mean!

Monica Brown
(Juvenile First Chapter Books - J Brown)
Lola Levine ; 1

Second-grader Lola has a wonderful family, a great teacher, and the best friend ever, Josh, and they all help her feel better after she is teased and forbidden to play team sports at recess for having accidentally hurt classmate Juan during a soccer game.

Lucy on the Ball

Ilene Cooper
(Juvenile First Chapter Books – J Cooper
Absolutely Lucy; # 4

Lucy the beagle does not mind her humans very well until third-grader Bobby joins a soccer team, Lucy becomes the mascot, and the coach gives Lucy obedience training.

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.

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.

Roller Girl

Victoria Jamieson
(Juvenile Graphic Novels - J Jamieso)

A graphic novel adventure about a girl who discovers roller derby right as she and her best friend are growing apart.

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

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.


Walter Dean Myers
(Juvenile Fiction - J My)

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


Joan Bauer
(Juvenile Fiction – J Bauer)

Moving to Hillcrest, Ohio, when his adoptive father accepts a temporary job, twelve-year-old Jeremiah, a heart transplant recipient, has sixty days to find a baseball team to coach.

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.

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.


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

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.

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 Crossover

Kwame Alexander
(Juvenile Fiction – J Alexand)

Fourteen-year-old twin basketball stars Josh and Jordan wrestle with highs and lows on and off the court as their father ignores his declining health.

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.

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

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.)

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.

Older Elementary

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.

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.

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.

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.)

Younger Elementary

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

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.

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.

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.