The Best Sports Books For Kids in 2023
Today, we take a look at the best sports books for kids. Some of these books are based on real people, such as superstars like Steph Curry and LeBron James, while others are fictional in nature. Some tell stories about overcoming the odds, while others provide a more holistic look at the subjects' own journey to self-discovery.
As a parent to young kids, I've read plenty of books where the content is questionable or the storylines lose my daughters' attention after a page or two. The goal for this list to move beyond that and identify books that are both interesting to read and have takeaways that you support as a parent.
Narrowing this down to just 17 books was challenging, but someone had to do it!
With that, we took a look at 3 main criteria:
1. These are all books that we really enjoyed.
2. While there are more basketball books on here, we tried to diversify the types of sports. We also aimed to include books for both boys and girls.
3. All of these books received strong peer reviews and and are age appropriate for kids 3-12. Where necessary, we added more specific age ranges. And to be clear, we're defining "kids" as ages 3-12. You'll notice a lot of books for ages 8-12 because that's where we get the most demand, but we're happy to provide additional recommendations for a younger audience if you need them. Just ask!
For current prices on any of these books, please click the book's title or Buy On Amazon button to be taken to its page on Amazon.
The Kid Who Only Hit Homers by Matt Christopher
"The Kid Who Only Hit Homers" by Matt Christopher - When 13 year old baseball loving Syl is secretly coached by the spirit of Babe Ruth, he quickly becomes a superstar. But his confidence is shaken when Babe leaves. Does he have what it takes to bring home the championship without him?
Girl Running by Annette Bay Pimentel
"Girl Running" by Annette Bay Pimentel - Bobbi Gibb is told she can't run on the track team because she's a girl. In 1966, she tries to sign up for the Boston Marathon but is given the same feedback. Bobbi aims to prove the naysayers wrong and show the world what a girl can do.
The Magic School Bus Plays Ball by Joanna Cole
"The Magic School Bus Plays Ball" by Joanna Cole - This is a book in the popular "Magic School Bus" series that teaches kids about the science of sports through the adventures of a group of students and their teacher, Ms. Frizzle.
The Batboy by Mike Lupica
"The Batboy" by Mike Lupica - This is a book about a young boy who gets a chance to be the batboy for his favorite baseball team. It teaches kids about the importance of hard work and determination. Lupica is one of the great sports authors of our time, and you can check out the rest of his books here.
Rebel Girls Champions
"Rebel Girls Champions" - This book highlights 25 of the best female athletes of all time. Girls will learn more about their drive, resilience, and sportsmanship. Each profile also has a portrait drawn by female artists from around the world.
Sports Biographies for Kids by James H. Jordan
"Sports Biographies for Kids" by James H. Jordan - How did young, unknown little kids become Michael Jordan, Serena Williams, or Lionel Messi? Hard work, determination, and self-confidence.
Sisters & Champions by Howard Bryant
"Sisters & Champions" by Howard Bryant - We all know Serena and Venus Williams. Bryant, and illustrator Floyd Cooper, bring their story to life, from run down tennis courts in Compton to the bright lights of Wimbledon.
Inspirational Sports Stories For Young Readers by Kurt Taylor
"Inspirational Sports Stories For Young Readers" by Kurt Taylor - Taylor tells 12 inspirational sports stories about some of the greatest athletes of all time and uses sports as a way to translate important life lessons to young people.
The Heart of the Storm by Sharon Mentyka
"The Heart of the Storm" by Sharon Mentyka - This is a fun picture biography of Sue Bird, one of the greatest women's basketball players of all time. As a young girl, Sue couldn't stop moving, and she channeled that energy into a hall of fame career.
Who Is Michael Jordan? by Kirsten Anderson
"Who Is Michael Jordan?" by Kirsten Anderson - Penguin, one of the world's largest publishers, introduced the "Who" series to introduce kids to some of the most important trailblazers, legends, and innovators. With plenty of pictures, this book is most appropriate for readers 8 and up.
Fast Pitch by Nic Stone
"Fast Pitch" by Nic Stone - Shenice Lockwood is the captain of her fast-pitch softball team. One day, she hears a story about her great grandfather's baseball career prematurely ending because of a crime that he didn't commit. Shenice's bravery and courage to lead despite the past is powerful and uplifting.
Stephen Curry: The Children's Book: The Boy Who Never Gave Up by Anthony Curcio
"Stephen Curry: The Children's Book: The Boy Who Never Gave Up" by Anthony Curcio - The story of Steph Curry in a fun, easy to read format. This book is best suited for Kindergarten to 3rd Grade.
Who Is Chloe Kim? by Stefanie Loh
"Who Is Chloe Kim?" by Stefanie Loh - In 2018, Chloe Kim became the youngest woman ever to win an Olympic gold medal in snowboarding. She had a Barbie made after her, appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated, and has been an incredible role model for young girls around the world.
Who Is LeBron James? by Crystal Hubbard
"Who Is LeBron James" by Crystal Hubbard - From the same series as the Michael Jordan and Chloe Kim books, this is the best LeBron book for kids ages 8-11.
Not Playing by the Rules by Lesa Cline-Ransome
"Not Playing by the Rules" by Lesa Cline-Ransome - Cline-Ransome tells the stories of 21 female athletes who changed the game. Drawing from various sports, this book inspiring and a good history lesson (for boys and girls alike).
Spectacular Stories for Curious Kids Sports Edition by Jesse Sullivan
"Spectacular Stories for Curious Kids Sports Edition" by Jesse Sullivan - This book is a bit longer (226 pages) but has some fascinating stories that are both entertaining and educational. Did you know Babe Ruth was once struck out by a girl in 4 pitches?
Baseball in April by Gary Soto
"Baseball in April" by Gary Soto - This book contains 11 short stories inspired by Soto's own childhood growing up in Central California. Soto's ability to take daily events and identify the big themes makes this a great book for life lessons. This book also won several awards, including the ALA award for Best Book for Young Adults.
How Did We Do?
If we missed one of your favorites, let us know below in the comments.
On a separate note, if you have a child in grades 1+ that is learning to read or maybe sees their Ipad as their leisure time activity of choice, you may want to consider a Kids Kindle. This is a nice way to embrace the technology they crave, while supporting their development. At the time of this writing, Amazon will replace it if it breaks, which is always nice.
For a slightly older audience, check out recommendations for Teen and YA.
For overall recommendations by sports type, see our page here.
Last, if you have a specific request: For example, "I need a book for a 10 year old boy," please reach out. It's impossible to cover everything in one list, but we can often help (and will certainly try).
John Willkom is the author of Amazon best-selling basketball books: Walk-On Warrior and No Fear In The Arena. John is an avid reader, sports fan, and father to two incredible little girls.
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