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.

Some Great Recent Picture Books for Little Guys

Michael Dahl, Christina E. Forshay. Goodnight Football. (Picture Window Books, 2014)
I’ll say it: “Goodnight Moon” is a a wonderful picture book, but it is a little cutesy. Why not tuck the little guy in after a rousing college football game instead?

Derek Munson, illustrated by Melody Wang. Bad Dad. (Cannonball Books, 2013)
Dad is always doing things with his kids that get him in  trouble… which means he is always doing things with his kids!

William Bee. “Stanley” (Series)
Stanley the Builder. (Peachtree, 2014)
Stanley the Farmer. (Peachtree, 2014)
Stanley’s Diner. (Peachtree, 2014)
Stanley’s Garage. (Peachtree, 2014)
Stanley is one helpful hamster, with lots of great tools  and equipment. In simple text and bold pictures, Stanley spends his days helping one friend after another. A perfect little series of little books for little doers.

Artie Bennett, illustrated by Pranas T. Naujokaitis. Belches, Burps, and Farts, Oh My! (Blue Apple, 2014)
What’s better than a book about gas? One with unforgetable pictures and easy-to-memorize rhymes! In typical Artie Bennett fashion (Do you remember The Butt Book and Poopendous?) this book puts the logical in scatological, making sense of the things we all have in common without ever lessoning the gut-busting humor. Watch out! If your kids laugh too hard they might slip up and learn something!

Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen, illustrated by Zachariiah Ohora. Tyrannosaurus Wrecks! (Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2014)
Now here is a destructive force of nature that many little guys can relate too! Even when he is trying to be good, Tyrannosaurus’s energy, and the damage, just can’t be contained. In a classroom of good little dinosaurs, T-Rex puts the terrible in terrible lizards.

Alan Lawrence Sitomer, illustrated by Abby Carter. Daddy’s Zigzagging Bedtime Story. (Disney Hyperion Books, 2014)
It is bedtime, and Jake wants one book; Jenny wants another. Jake wants one kind of story; Jenny wants another altogether. Never fear, Dad is here, with a story unlike any his kids have ever heard.