Whether your reader plays sports or is just a fan, these books celebrate a wide cross section of athletic endeavors so there’s something for any reader-athlete to enjoy. And even if your child is not sporty, it should be noted that sports stories often pack a lot of fun and excitement thanks to the very nature of games and competition, so one of these reads might be a good step outside of their comfort zone. Here are the best sports books for kids of all ages.
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Preschool and Kindergarten
1. Sports Sticker Activity Book by National Geographic Kids
Little kids with an interest in games and competition will be exposed to a cross section of different sports in this interactive sticker book. It’s chock full of facts and history about a variety of sports—from traditional team games to extreme activities.
Buy it: Sports Sticker Activity Book on Amazon
2. Goodnight Hockey by Michael Dahl, illustrated by Christina Forshay
If your little one is drawn to the rink, this sweet rhyming board book will make their hockey dreams come true.
Buy it: Goodnight Hockey on Amazon
3. Goodnight Soccer by Michael Dahl, illustrated by Christina Forshay
Another of the Goodnight Sports books from Sports Illustrated, this appealing picture book is a bedtime story for soccer lovers, celebrating the world’s most popular game on every page.
Buy it: Goodnight Soccer on Amazon
4. Basketball Break by CC Joven, illustrated by Alex Lopez
This beginning reader gives young basketball players a lesson in not being a ball hog, and it’s great for building early reading skills, too.
Buy it: Basketball Break on Amazon
Early Elementary/Independent Readers
5. Big Book of WHO All-Stars by Sports Illustrated Kids
If your sports-loving kid is all about the greats, this Sports Illustrated round-up delivers 128 pages of the must-know names in every sport. Great for kids who collect sports facts like others collect trading cards.
Buy it: Big Book of WHO All-Stars on Amazon
6. Beastly Basketball by Lauren Amanda Johnson, illustrated by Eduardo Garcia
When Joe’s kung fu studio closes, he brings his training to the court, teaching his ragtag new basketball teammate the discipline he’s learned in martial arts.
Buy it: Beastly Basketball on Amazon
7. 8-Bit Baseball by Brandon Terrell, illustrated by Eduardo Ferrara
In this graphic novel, Jared Richards loses a bet and has to stop playing baseball video games and start playing in real life. But after surprising successes on the field, he encounters a glitch between reality and technology.
Buy it: 8-Bit Baseball on Amazon
8. What Is the Stanley Cup? by Gail Herman, illustrated by Gregory Copeland
One of the best sports books for hockey-loving kids, this guide to everything about the National Hockey League’s championship series explains both how the Stanley Cup Finals work and their history dating back to their beginning. (Did you know the Stanley Cup is now the oldest sports trophy in the world?!)
Buy it: What Is the Stanley Cup? on Amazon
Older Elementary to Tween
9. The Kid Who Only Hit Homers by Matt Christopher
Matt Christopher is the king of kids’ baseball novels. In one of his most well-known efforts, baseball-loving Sylvester goes from striking out to magically hitting home runs—but his new abilities force him to contemplate what makes a good teammate.
Buy it: The Kid Who Only Hit Homers on Amazon
10. BMX Breakthrough by Carl Bowen and Benny Fuentes, illustrated by Gerardo Sandoval
In this Sports Illustrated graphic novel, BMX bike riders see themselves in the starring role in a story about a BMX biker who has to regain his courage after suffering an injury.
Buy it: BMX Breakthrough on Amazon
11. Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson
This Newbery Honor graphic novel celebrates Roller Derby, as well as the importance of forging the path that’s best for you. A great read for those about to enter middle school.
Buy it: Roller Girl on Amazon
12. Football Genius by Tim Green
Troy White is a kid who can predict football plays before they happen—any team, any game—and when his mom gets a job with the Atlanta Falcons, he’ll do whatever it takes to use his gift.
Buy it: Football Genius on Amazon
13. Becoming Muhammad Ali by Kwame Alexander and James Patterson
Boxing legend Muhammad Ali’s origin story comes alive in this extremely engaging book written about his early life, with the full cooperation of his family’s estate.
Buy it: Becoming Muhammad Ali on Amazon
14. Ghost (Track Book 1) by Jason Reynolds
The first book of Jason Reynold’s Track quartet follows Ghost, his team’s fastest sprinter, who needs to come to terms with his past if he wants to reach the Junior Olympics.
Buy it: Ghost on Amazon
15. Swim Team by Johnnie Christmas
In this graphic novel, reluctant swimmer Bree gets inspired by an elderly neighbor and eventually becomes her middle school’s hope to reach the state championship.
Buy it: Swim Team on Amazon
16. Gabby Garcia’s Ultimate Playbook by Iva-Marie Palmer, illustrated by Marta Kissi
In the first of a three-book series, the never-lose pitcher Gabby Garcia wants to keep her win streak alive—and will have to make the right play to do it when she suddenly has to switch schools midseason.
Buy it: Gabby Garcia’s Ultimate Playbook on Amazon
High School and Up
17. Letters to a Young Athlete by Chris Bosh
NBA Hall of Famer (as well as 11-time All-Star and Olympic Gold Medalist) Chris Bosh had his career cut short by a freak medical condition, but that didn’t take him out of the game. In this book, he assesses what qualities and traits he most frequently saw in the best athletes and passes on his best advice to kids navigating the sporting life—and life in general.
Buy it: Letters to a Young Athlete on Amazon
18. Furia by Yamile Saied Méndez
An Argentinian girl lives a double life—playing soccer as Furia in one and trying to please her narrow-minded mother and avoid her rageful father in another—in this award-winning contemporary novel.
Buy it: Furia on Amazon
19. No Stopping Us Now by Lucy Jane Bledsoe
This semi-autobiographical novel of a group of young women basketball players fighting for a team of their own in 1974 (just after the passage of Title IX) is an inspiring lesson in history and perseverance.
Buy it: No Stopping Us Now on Amazon
20. Like Other Girls by Britta Lundin
When Mara, a gay young woman, realizes she has some natural football ability and wants to go out for the team, her act is seen as a political statement that draws girls who can’t really play like she can—including her crush.
Buy it: Like Other Girls on Amazon