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March Madness: Basketball Books

by Miriam Downey 25. March 2014 07:13

It is March Madness, and it is especially mad in Michigan where both major basketball teams (Michigan and Michigan State) have advanced to the Sweet 16. My 14-year-old grandson is a rabid Michigan State fan, and we have been speculating about the odds of both Michigan teams advancing to the final four. What if they played each other at the finals? Aah, the sweetness of that!

If you follow this blog, you know that my family is very large, and one of our best collective memories was the Final Four in 2010 when three of the four teams were important to our family. One son went to Butler; several had gone to Michigan State; and two were teaching at West Virginia. We all gathered on the night of the games, and the grandchildren had t-shirts for all three teams that they kept changing as the evening wore on. Our Butler son came out on top that night only to lose to Duke in the finals. So much fun!

Well, enough of my family stories. Here is a list of great basketball books for the sports fans in your family--both girls and boys. I have grouped them by picture books, chapter books, and non-fiction. All are available at the library or bookstore.

Picture Books

Hoops by Robert Burleigh. Captures the game with poetry and great illustrations. (K-6)

Swish! by bill Martin Jr. A girls' basketball tournament in words and pictures. (k-6)

Think Big by Nancy Carlson. Frog Vinny wants to be a basketball player. (k-2)

Cinder-Elly by Frances Minters. A rap fairy tale about a basketball game. (k-2)

Arthur and the Pen-Pal Playoff by Stephen Krensky. Arthur brags about his basketball ability. (k-2)

Around the World by John Coy. Street basketball around the world. (k-8)

Chapter Books and Novels

The Sabbath Garden by Patricia Greene. A young basketball star struggles to overcome her tough African-American neighborhood. (grades 7-12)

The Million-Dollar Shot by Dan Gutman. Eddie gets a chance to throw a basket at the NBA finals. (grades 4-6)

Jester at the Back Court by Tommy Hallowell. Part of the Alden All-Stars series of sports novels. (grades 4-6)

Angel Park Hoop Stars series by Dean Hughes. Basketball buffs will love this series. (grades 3-6)

Slam! by Walter Dean Myers. A star basketball player faces challenges at a new high school. (grades 7-12)

Non-fiction

The Book of Basketball by Bill Simmons. Everything you wanted to know about basketball. (grades 4-12)

Basketball: Startling Stories behind the Records by Jim Benagh.  Lots of basketball trivia. (grades 4-12)

Basketball: A Slammin' Jammin' Guide to Super Hoops! by Richard Brenner. A guide to playing basketball, with lots of basic skills for both girls and boys. (grades 4-6)

Fundamental Basketball by Jim Klingzing. Lots of photographs to explain basketball. (grades 2-6)

Michael Jordan by Sean Dolan. No list of basketball books is complete without a book about Michael Jordan. (grades 4-6)

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Sports Biographies

by Miriam Downey 15. January 2013 07:30

We continue our month of great biographies with some biographies and autobiographies about famous athletes. Sports books are often the best way to get boys to read, but I also included some inspiring biographies about women athletes as well. Forgive me, but I had to include a new book written by Derek Jeter, shortstop of the Yankees. He is one of our hometown heroes and does a lot of good in our community with his Turn To Foundation.  Every year he comes to town and meets and talks with many of our community's children. Year after year, he inspires children to do their best.

That is what the best children's biographies do--serve as inspiration to readers. You can find short biographies of athletes on many websites. Here are just a couple of good ones: Ducksters.com and Biography.com. Biography.com has videos on the site which will be helpful for reluctant readers, but there are also advertisements on the site.

PB means picture book or easy reader; MR means middle reader (grades 408) and YA means high school readers.

Most of these books can be found at your local library. Some are available for your ereader. Enjoy!

General

MR Lives of the Athletes: Thrills, Spills (And What the Neighbors Thought) by Kathleen Krull. The lives of 20 famous athletes.

Baseball

PB  Teammates by Peter Golenbock. Tells the story of the friendship between Jackie Robinson and Pee Wee Reese.

PB Home Run: The Story of Babe Ruth by Robert Burleigh. Biography of the first great baseball player.

MR  Heroes of Baseball  by Robert Lipsyte.  Short biographies of several baseball players.

MR  A Strong Right Arm: The Story of Mamie "Peanut" Johnson by Michelle Y. Green. Mamie Johnson was one of only three women to play pro baseball in the Negro Leagues.

YA  The Life You Imagine: Life Lessons for Achieving Your Dreams by Derek Jeter. An autobiography by the famous New York Yankees pitcher.

Basketball

PB  Salt in His Shoes: Michael Jordan in Pursuit of a Dream by Roslyn Jordan. A picture book of the famous basketball player.

MR  Michael Jordan: A Life Above the Rim by Robert Lipsyte. The true story of the amazing athlete.

YA  My Losing Season: A Memoir by Pat Conroy. A famous author tells about his last season as a college basketball player.

YA  Counting Coup by Larry Colton.  A winning season on a girl's basketball team made up of Native American and White teenage girls.

Football

PB  Family Huddle by Peyton Manning. A family story from the childhood of Peyton Manning.

MR  Sports Illustrated Football's Greatest by the editors of Sports Illustrated. Short biographies of famous football players.

YA  Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team and a Dream by H.G. Bissinger. A town shaped by its football team.

YA  Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman by Jon Krakauer. The biography of the football player turned soldier who was killed in Afghanistan.

Hockey

PB  Hockey Hotshots: Young Stars of the NHL by Steele Filipek.  Easy reader profile of NHL players.

MR  Sidney Crosby: Hockey Superstar by Matt Doeden. How Crosby became a Stanley Cup champion.

MR  On the Ice with Wayne Grettzky by Matt Christopher. The life of the legendary hockey player.

Soccer

PB Hope Solo: My Story by Hope Solo.  An autobiography for young readers.

MR  The Beautiful Game: The World's Greatest Players and How Soccer Changed Their Lives by Tom Watts. Profiles of several of the world's best players.

YA  Messi: The Inside Story of the Boy Who Became a Legend by Luca Laioli. Lional Messi is only 24, and he is already a legend.

Track and Field

PB Wilma Unlimited: How Wilma Rudolph Became the Fastest Woman by Kathleen Krull. Picture book biography of the famous runner.

YA  Pre: The Story of America's Greatest Running Legend, Steve Prefontaine by Tom Jordan. For four years Pre was the best runner in the U.S,

YA  The Best that I Can Be by Rafer Johnson. Tells the classic athletic story about hard work, success, and glory.

Other Sports

MR  Hawk: Occupation Skateboarder by Tony Hawk. A memoir by the famous skateboarder.

MR  The Greatest: Muhammad Ali by Walter Dean Myers. An illustrated biography of the boxing great.

YA  I Was a Teenage Professional Wrestler by Ted Lewin. The children's author tells about an unusual year in his life.

YA Swimming to Antarctica by Lynne Cox. The adventures of a long-distance swimmer.

 

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