Sports Books for Middle Readers

John Feinstein, The Walk On. [The Triple Threat, Book 1] (Knopf, 20014)
John Feinstein, always a good bet for those middle reader sports fans, has started a series with a different take. Instead of following a character through several years of one sport, he is following a character through several sports in one year. Alex Myers just wants his shot to show what he can do on his new school’s football team, and when the team’s best player takes one look at his arm and dubs him “Goldie”, you would think he’d get his show. So why doesn’t he? Could be he’s a freshman. Maybe it is because the team is focused on running, not passing. Or maybe it has something to do with the starting quarterback being the coach’s son. Before Alex Myers can be a three=sport star, he has to just get on the football field.

More Recent Sports Books for Middle Readers:

Fred Bowen. Double Reverse. [Fred Bowen's Sports Stories] (Peachtree, 2014)
Everyone who plays team sports has to face the priority question at some time. Are you a quarterback, or a football player? Are you a member of the offense, or a member of the team? But in Fred Bowen’s latest, priorities get challenged, stretched, and tied in knots when a soccer defenseman becomes a goalie to become a football player to become a kicker and end up as a running back?? And SHE’s not even the main character! Keep your eye on the ball in this high-fun, high-action sports tale.

Cal Ripken. Wild Pitch. [Cal Ripken, Jr.'s All-Stars] (Disney-Hyperion, 2013) [Baseball]
What kind of sports book starts half-way through a season with no wins? Oooh, wonder if they’ll make the playoffs? Not likely bub. Robbie, the Orioles’ pitcher, would like to just get through the season without killing anybody. Cal Ripkin, Jr., the one baseball player who played through more thick and more thin than anybody else, tells a real story of real kids trying really hard not to really suck.

Marissa Moss, illustrations by Yuko Shimizu. Barbed Wire Baseball. (Abrams, 2013)
There is something freeing about launching a long home run and running easily around the bases and back to home while the ball sails over the fence. But what if the fence is made of barbed wire, and even if the ball can fly away, you can never go home? People scoff at the idea that sports are life, but what if baseball is all you have of your life? This is the true story of a man who played with babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, and then was imprisoned with his whole family, his whole community. His crime? He was Japanese, and America went to war with Japan.

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