Kids’ Book Corner: Sporty Reads

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If you and your children have resolved to read more this new year, here are some winning books for young jocks and readers reluctant to read fiction.

The Fantastic Undersea Life of Jacques Cousteau by Dan Yaccarino years). Ocean-lovers, scuba divers, young inventors and photographers will relate to this stylishly illustrated story of Cousteau’s adventures, discoveries, and accomplishments.

Swinging for the Fences: Hank Aaron and Me by Mike Leonetti, illustrated by David Kim years. A little-leaguer emulates his hero, Hank Aaron, by always trying to knock each pitch out of park until he meets Aaron and learns what really makes a player great. Kim’s illustrations are sun-drenched and dreamlike.

All Star! Honus Wagner and the Most Famous Baseball Card Ever by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Jim Burke Wagner’s life reads like a tall tale—full of excitement, risk and wonder—infused with a pure love of baseball years.

Muhammad Ali: The People’s Champion by Walter Dean Myers, illustrated by Alix Delinois years). Painterly and vivid illustrations support Myers’s account of Ali’s early life, his athletic career, his conversion to Islam, and struggle with Parkinson’s disease. I admire the way this book locates Ali’s greatness as a boxer in the larger story of the struggle for African American rights.

The Greatest Moments in Sports by Len Berman (9-young adult). This compendium of wow moments in the history of sports–from Hank Aaron’s surpassing of Babe Ruth’s home run record, David Tyree’s Super Bowl helmet catch, Wayne Gretzky’s record-breaking score, Brandi Chastain’s World Cup winning-kick, to Michael Phelps’s beating Mark Spitz– really pops. Action photos accompany the text and a bonus audio CD let’s kits hear the events they read about.

Skater Girl: A Girl’s Guide to Skateboarding by Patty Segovia and Rebecca Heller and up) teaches girls everything from buying a board and shoes to mastering tricks and safety.

Sleeping Bear Press has published a wonderful sports alphabet and number series: H is for Horse: An Equestrian Alphabet; Full Count: A Baseball Number Book; J is for Jump Shot; H is for Hook: A Fishing Alphabet; T is for Touchdown: A Football Alphabet; A is for Axel: An Ice Skating Alphabet; K is for Kick: A Soccer Alphabet; P is for Putt: A Golf Alphabet; E is for Extreme: An Extreme Sports Alphabet; A is for Amazing Moments, and the award-winning Z is for Zamboni: A Hockey Alphabet. Each title in the series has splendid illustrations and in-depth information along side the simple text for so that kids of all ages will be engaged.

Basketball Basics: How To Play Like the Pros by Jay Triano years). Toronto Raptors head coach Triano lays out this how-to with color photos of kids (boys and girls) and tips from basketball stars. Covers conditioning, offense, defense, rebounds, and “plays that make a difference.”

Surfer of the Century by Ellie Crowe and spectacularly illustrated by Richard Waldrep relates the exhilarating life of Duke Kahanamoku from the time he learned to swim the Hawaiian way—by being tossed out of an outrigger canoe into the sea—, to his career as an innovative and world and Olympic record-breaking swim champion, and his passion for surfing years.

Kids Running: Have Fun, Get Faster & Go Farther by Carol Goodrow. Founding editor of, Goodrow offers an upbeat and complete guide to running—from sneakers, to diet, to cardio, to relays and more. 9-12 years.

Casey and Derek on the Ice by Marty Sederman, illustrated by Zachary Pullen is a retelling of “Casey at the Bat” featuring twin brothers and hockey players Casey and Derek. Pullen’s dynamic and exciting illustrations bring the boys and the game to life years.

Catching the Moon: The Story of a Young Girl’s Baseball Dream by Crystal Hubbard, illustrated by Randy DuBurke tells the story of Marcenia Toni Stone Lyle Alberga, the first woman to play professional baseball. The author wisely focuses on Marcenia’s dream of someday getting to play at St. Louis Cardinal’s Gabby Street’s baseball camp, and summarizes her adult life and career at the end years.

Jo Perry has a Ph.D. in English, taught literature and writing, and worked as a college administrator and as a television writer and producer. She is a reviewer for and is an ongoing contributor to kidsLA Magazine for which she writes about the city, children’s books, and conducts interviews. For two years she wrote the Kids’ Book Club column for the L.A. Times’ Kids’ Reading Room page.

About Karen Young

Karen Young is the founder of My Daily Find.