Jump start your Fall reading list with these sports-themed reading recommendations from librarians across Maricopa County Library District! These books are sure to be a SLAM DUNK! Looking for more? Check out all your library has to offer at mcldaz.org
0-3 YEARS OLD
Dino-Hockey by Lisa Wheeler, illustrated by Barry Gott
The Meat-Eaters take on the Veggiesaurs in a battle for the Dino Hockey League championship cup! Will penalties cost one team the match?
WHY YOU’LL LOVE IT: “If you’re a hockey fan anxious for the season to begin again, this is a must read! This fast-paced rhyming book was so fun to read and had me laughing throughout.” –Caroline, Southeast Regional Library
Let’s Go Puddling by Emma Perry & Claire Alexander
Simple text tells the story of a rainy day and how some young friends embrace it as they play in the puddles.
WHY YOU’LL LOVE IT: “Play is a pre-cursor to sports and a great way for kids to learn cooperation and how to enjoy time together.” –Janelle Yoder, Litchfield Park Library
4-6 YEARS OLD
Mo Jackson series by David A. Adler
Mo is a little boy with a big passion for sports! He tries different sports where he practices, plays, and learns the rules.
WHY YOU’LL LOVE IT: “Through the books, kids explore various sports and learn the basics, allowing them to assimilate the sport before playing it. The book series is funny, motivational, and encouraging. There are seven books in the series, and it is for a level 2 reader.” –Maggie, Ed Robson Library
She’s Got This by Laurie Hernandez & Nina Mata
Zoe is inspired to become a gymnast when she realizes that gymnastics is just like flying. After her first fall at practice, she questions whether she wants to continue.
WHY YOU’LL LOVE IT: “Zoe has a great support system from her family who encourage her to keep reaching for her goals. Author Laurie Hernandez reminds readers that ‘falling is how you learn.’” –Lexis, Southeast Regional Library
1st- 3rd GRADE
Jump In! by Shadra Strickland
It’s a sunny spring day, and the tic-tac tic-tac sound of jump ropes hitting the ground floats on the wind. Who will jump in on this double dutch fun?
WHY YOU’LL LOVE IT: “If you’re looking for a fun ‘get outside’ type of story, Jump In! made me want to race outside and play! The repetition of ‘jump in!’ highlights big moments in the story, and a surprise double dutcher added a fun twist!” –Caroline, Southeast Regional Library
My Encyclopedia of Very Important Sports
From playground games to water sports to international events, this book gives a great overview of the sports your budding athlete already knows, as well as many you might not have thought to explore.
WHY YOU’LL LOVE IT: ”Two-page spreads with infographics and photos make it easy to jump into for beginning readers or to read together with an adult.” –Janelle Yoder, Litchfield Park Library
4th- 6th GRADE
Hoops by Matt Tavares
Hoops is a historical sports graphic novel inspired by a true story about women’s basketball. This middle school novel takes place in 1976. A newly formed girls’ basketball team needs more resources, including uniforms, equal access to the high school gym, and buses to away games.
WHY YOU’LL LOVE IT: “The book is quickly paced and full of energetic images making it very appealing to young readers. Hoops helps readers understand women’s ongoing fight for equality in sports and all fields and encourages girls to follow any interests or career paths.” –Maggie, Ed Robson Library
Ghost: Track series book 1 by Jason Reynolds
After Castle “Ghost” Reynolds challenges and beats a sprinter at track practice, the coach offers him a position on the team, but only if he can stay out of trouble. With the support of adults around him, he is able to channel his trauma and anger into a sport that, in turn, teaches him the value of persistence and teamwork.
WHY YOU’LL LOVE IT: “Kids will relate to Ghost as Reynolds deftly captures the middle schoolers’ mind while creating a window into the life of someone with struggles they may not have. The book creates an opportunity for an open discussion between you and your child about bullying, domestic violence, and theft.” –Jennifer, Library Administration
Michigan vs The Boys by Carrie Allen
When the girl’s hockey team gets cut, Michigan has to make the difficult decision to either abandon the sport she loves, or try out for the boys’ team. Despite her unwelcoming team, Michigan proves again and again that she deserves her spot.
WHY YOU’LL LOVE IT: “This book is a fast-paced read and Michigan is an inspiring main character. There is a great overall message about learning to stand up for yourself and speaking out when things are not right.” –Lexis, Southeast Regional Library
Undefeated: Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Football Team by Steve Sheinkin
Jim Thorpe was a super athlete, Olympic gold medalist, and Native American. Pop Warner was an indomitable coach, football mastermind, and Ivy League grad. Before these men became legends, they met in 1907 at the Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania, where they forged one of the winningest teams in the history of America’s favorite sport, while facing overwhelming obstacles both on and off the field.
WHY YOU’LL LOVE IT: “This nonfiction title explores Native American history, American football, and the talents of Jim Thorpe in a compulsively readable style with short chapters and archival photos. Whether you are interested in sports, history, or biographies, this book will captivate you from the first play!” –Lindsey, Library Administration