A Field of Sports

Some of our favorite stories about sports for school-age children.


Compiled by:
Children's Services Staff

Younger Elementary

The Banana-Leaf Ball: How Play Can Change the World

Katie Smith Milway and Shane W. Evans
(Juvenile Fiction - J Milway)

Separated from his family when they are forced to leave their home in East Africa, Deo is sent to a refugee camp in Tanzania, where he endures bullying until a coach organizes a soccer team that helps the boys at the camp find friendship and a sense of belonging.


Can I Play Too?

Mo Willems
(Juvenile Early Readers – J-ER Willems)
Series: Elephant & Piggie

Elephant and Piggie learn to play catch with their new friend Snake.


Don’t Throw it to Mo!

David A. Adler
(Juvenile Early Readers – J-ER Adler)

Mo is the youngest kid on the Robins football team. The kids on the rival team tease him for being a 'butterfingers' who's too tiny to catch the ball. But Mo's coach has a plan up his sleeve to turn Mo's little size into a big win for the Robins.


Doubles Troubles

Betty Hicks
(Juvenile First Chapter Books - J Hicks)
Series: Gym shorts: book 6

Wanting to win the doubles tennis trophy, Henry helps his partner Rocky train for the match while also working on his history project, which may be a bit more work than Henry can handle. Part of the Gym Shorts series.


The Gold Medal Mess

David A. Kelly
(Juvenile First Chapter Books - J Kelly)
Series: MVP (Most Valuable Players); 1

Preparing for their school's Olympics field day relay races, archery contests and other fun-filled activities, five friends investigate the actions of a mysterious saboteur who is trying to ruin the events.


Little Kunoichi, the Ninja Girl

Sanae Ishida
(Juvenile Picture Books - EJ Ishida)

Little Kunoichi, a young ninja in training, is frustrated. Inspired by tiny Chibi Samurai's practice and skills, she works harder than ever--and makes a friend. Together, they show the power of perseverance, hard work, and cooperation when they wow the crowd at the Autumn Festival.


Lola Levine is Not Mean!

Monica Brown
(Juvenile First Chapter Books - J Brown)
Series: Lola Levine ; 1

Second-grader Lola has a wonderful family, a great teacher, and the best friend ever, Josh, and they all help her feel better after she is teased and forbidden to play team sports at recess for having accidentally hurt classmate Juan during a soccer game.


Lucy on the Ball

Ilene Cooper
(Juvenile First Chapter Books – J Cooper
Series: Absolutely Lucy; # 4

Lucy the beagle does not mind her humans very well until third-grader Bobby joins a soccer team, Lucy becomes the mascot, and the coach gives Lucy obedience training.


Mermaid Queen

Shana Corey
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 797.2192 Kellerman Cor)

A fun, feel-good, "underdog" story about a little-known female athlete whose derring-do transformed girls' sports.


The Missing Baseball

Mike Lupica
(Juvenile First Chapter Books - J Lupica)
Series: Zach and Zoe Mysteries; 1

Eight-year-old twins Zach and Zoe follow clues to find Zach's missing baseball, signed by his favorite major league player, while competing in Spirit Week events at school.


Older Elementary

Athlete vs. Mathlete

W.C. Mack
(Juvenile Fiction – J Mack)
Series: Athlete versus Mathlete

When their two worlds collide in seventh grade, fraternal twins and opposites Owen and Russell find themselves in direct competition at school, on the court, and at home.


Babymouse Goes for the Gold

Jennifer L. Holm, Matthew Holm
(Juvenile Graphic Novels – J Holm)
Series: Babymouse

Babymouse joins the swim team and, despite her shortcomings as an athlete, gives it her all and tries to win an award.


Baseball Great

Tim Green
(Juvenile Fiction - J Green)

All twelve-year-old Josh wants to do is play baseball but when his father, a minor league pitcher, signs him up for a youth championship team, Josh finds himself embroiled in a situation with potentially illegal consequences.


Bird in a Box

Andrea Davis Pinkney
(Juvenile Fiction - J Pinkney)

In 1936, three children meet at the Mercy Home for Negro Orphans in New York State, and while not all three are orphans, they are all dealing with grief and loss which together, along with the help of a sympathetic staff member and the boxing matches of Joe Louis, they manage to overcome. Includes author's notes.


The Boy Who Saved Baseball

John H. Ritter
(Juvenile Fiction - J Ritter)

The fate of a small California town rests on the outcome of one baseball game. Tom Gallagher hopes to lead his team to victory with the secrets of the now disgraced player, Dante Del Gato. Read the prequel: The Desperado Who Stole Baseball.


The Crossover

Kwame Alexander
(Juvenile Fiction – J Alexand)

Fourteen-year-old twin basketball stars Josh and Jordan wrestle with highs and lows on and off the court as their father ignores his declining health.


A Diamond in the Desert

Kathryn Fitzmaurice
(Juvenile Fiction - J Fitzmau)

After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, thirteen-year-old Tetsu and his family are sent to the Gila River Relocation Center in Arizona where a fellow prisoner starts a baseball team, but when Tetsu's sister becomes ill and he feels responsible, he stops playing.


Fast Break

Mike Lupica
(Juvenile Fiction – J Lupica)

Since his mother's death, Jayson, twelve, has focused on basketball and surviving but he is found out and placed with an affluent foster family of a different race, and must learn to accept many changes, including facing his former teammates in a championship game.


The Hero Two Doors Down: Based on the True Story of Friendship Between a Boy and a Baseball Legend

Sharon Robinson
(Juvenile Fiction - J Robinso)

Eight-year-old Steve Satlow is thrilled when Jackie Robinson moves into his Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn in 1948, although many of his neighbors are not, and when Steve actually meets his hero he is even more excited--and worried that a misunderstanding over a Christmas tree could damage his new friendship.


Lay-ups and Long Shots: An Anthology of Short Stories
(Juvenile Fiction - J Layups)

A collection of nine short stories about middle-schoolers and sports. They range from a game of "H-O-R-S-E" to running, ping pong, dirt biking, surfing, place kicking, soccer, and basketball.


The Million Dollar Kick

Dan Gutman
(Juvenile Fiction - J Gu)

Thirteen-year-old Whisper, who hates sports, is torn when she gets a chance to win a million dollars by kicking a goal against a local soccer hero.


New Kid

Tim Green
(Juvenile Fiction - J Green)

A troubled kid finds his bearings in a new school after a baseball coach offers him a spot on the team.


Nikki on the Line

Barbara Carroll Roberts
(Juvenile Fiction - J Roberts)

Nikki, thirteen, dreams of being a great basketball player but struggles on her new, elite team while also juggling school stress, her non-traditional family, and revelations about her biological father.


Patina

Jayson Reynolds
(Juvenile Fiction - J Reynold)
Series: Track; 2

A newbie to the track team, Patina "Patty" Jones must learn to rely on her family and teammates as she tries to outrun her personal demons.


Power Forward

Hena Khan
(Juvenile Fiction - J Khan)
Series: Zayd Saleem, Chasing the Dream; 1

Meet fourth-grade athlete Zayd Saleem, whose dream of becoming the first Pakistani-American to make it into the NBA is challenged by his lower ranking, his small size and his family's preference that he learn to play the violin. 


Roller Girl

Victoria Jamieson
(Juvenile Graphic Novels - J Jamieso)

A graphic novel adventure about a girl who discovers roller derby right as she and her best friend are growing apart.


Slam!

Walter Dean Myers
(Juvenile Fiction - J My)

"Slam" Harris is counting on his noteworthy basketball talents to get him out of the inner city.


Soar

Joan Bauer
(Juvenile Fiction – J Bauer)

Moving to Hillcrest, Ohio, when his adoptive father accepts a temporary job, twelve-year-old Jeremiah, a heart transplant recipient, has sixty days to find a baseball team to coach.


Summerland

Michael Chabon
(Juvenile Fiction - J Ch)

Ethan Feld, the worst baseball player in the history of the game, finds himself recruited by a 100-year-old scout to help a band of fairies triumph over an ancient enemy.


Ten: A Soccer Story

Shamini Flint
(Juvenile Fiction - J Flint)

A passionate soccer fan in 1986 Malaysia, who longs to play in spite of perceptions that soccer is a boys' game, practices basic soccer skills in her backyard before persuading other girls to help her form a team, an endeavor that is complicated by her unpredictable biracial family


Undefeated: Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Football Team

Steve Sheinken
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 796.332 She)

A great American sport and Native American history come together in this true story of how Jim Thorpe and Pop Warner created the legendary Carlisle Indians football team.


We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball

Kadir Nelson
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 796.357 Nel)

Using an "Everyman" player as his narrator, Kadir Nelson tells the story of Negro League baseball from its beginnings in the 1920s through the decline after Jackie Robinson crossed over to the majors in 1947. Illustrations from oil paintings by artist Kadir Nelson.