Thursday, March 15, 2012

Baseball Books for Kids!

Derek Jeter

My Yankees are busy at Spring Training, which means that in just a few short weeks, they will be taking the field in the Bronx.  Here at home, my little leaguers are already practicing hard gearing up for their first games.  We love baseball around here!!

I don't know about your kids, but my boys love to read books about their favorite sports!  Who am I kidding?  I love to read books about sports too.  At least half of all non-fiction books I read are about my Yankees.  But, today, I'm talking about Middle Grade Fiction!

My friend, Judi, recently asked for recommendations on some good sports books for her son, and I turned out such a fun list, I wanted to share it with all of you! Thanks, Judi, for inspiring this post (and, this entire blog, actually!).

Play Ball! 

Ballpark Mysteries by David A. Kelly
(Random House Books for Young Readers, ages 6 and up)

An early chapter series, David A. Kelly's Ballpark Mysteries start off with the Fenway Foul-Up.  As the titles suggest, each installment of the series takes place at a different major-league ballpark.  Mike and Kate are the stars of these books.  Kate's MOM is a sports writer (love this!) who brings them with her on assignments, where they find adventure, excitement, and mystery.   Each book also has a fact page about each stadium!   

Baseball Card Adventures by Dan Gutman
(Harper Collins; Grades 4-6)

Joe is an average kid...who travels in time when he touches a baseball card!  Whenever he touches a baseball card he is transported to the time of that baseball player.  The stories are not always about the player, though.  They are more about the history of the time, as represented by the great American sport.  Full of sports heroes, fast-moving plots, and adventures, choose one of the 13 Baseball Card Adventures.  You may want to start with the first one:  Honus & Me (1909 World Series).
Quick note:  A good friend of mine, a father of a 9 year old boy, told me his son read one of the Baseball Card books, and loved it so much, the son gave it to him to read.  My friend thought this was a great idea, as he could then talk about the book with his son.  When he told his son how much he liked the book, his son said, "Great!  I just finished Jackie and Me, now you can read that one!"  This made me smile! 

Tales From the Sandlot series by Dan Gutman
(Scholastic; Ages 8 and up)

What happens when a kid gets hit in the head with a baseball and develops ESP?  Is it cheating if Jake uses his new gift to help his team to victory?  This is the first book in Gutman's Tales From the Sandlot series. This is a fun little league series in which weird paranormal things happen.   Also in the series:  The Green Monster in Left Field, The Catcher Who Shocked the World, The Pitcher Who Went Out of His Mind.

Million Dollar series by Dan Gutman:
(Hyperion, Grades 4-6)

Yes, Dan Gutman can do it all.  Is there any other Middle Grade writer as prolific as Gutman??  His Million Dollar books are also fun, fast reads for sports fans, full of twists and turns...and maybe a little lesson or two along the way.  Choose from:  Million Dollar Shot (basketball), Million Dollar Kick (soccer), Million Dollar Putt (golf), Million Dollar Goal (hockey), Million Dollar Strike (bowling).

Football Genius series by Tim Green :
(Harper Collins; Grades 4-8)
A successful adult author and former Atlanta Falcon, Tim Green brings a series of books praised by other middle grade authors.  Tim Green brings his readers behind the scenes of professional football, while introducing us to Football genius, Troy White, a boy that can predict every play before it happens.  Even though Troy is a genius, he's a good kid who has made some bad choices.   Even non sports fans will root for this underdog, while fanatics will relish in his adventures.  Also in Series: Football Champ, The Big Time, Deep Zone, Football Hero

Comeback Kids series by Mike Lupica:
(Puffin; Ages 8 and up)
Sports columnist turned novelist, Mike Lupica has co-written autobiographies with Bill Parcells and Reggie Jackson and has brought his knowledge and love for sports to children's books in a big way. Once again, Mike Lupica represents all of our favorite sports in this inspiring series of books for Midde Graders.  He is able to focus on what makes sports so much more than a game - friendship, teamwork, overcoming adversity, hard work, and that one friend that can make all the difference in the world. Choose from: Shoot Out (soccer), Two-Minute Drill (football), Hot Hand (basketball), Long Shot (basketball), Safe at Home (baseball).
**Check out Mike Lupica's ENTIRE collection of books - sports and otherwise. 

The Kid Who Only Hit Homers by Matt Christopher
(Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; Grades 4-6)

Publishing his first book, The Lucky Baseball Bat, in 1954, Matt Christopher is one of the best-known sports authors with over a hundred books for young readers and young adults to his credit. He has written about every sport from baseball to dirt bike racing.  Matt Christopher's next book due out is called The Dog That Stole Football Plays (LB Kids; April 2012). If you go to his website, you can see the full list of books from which to choose.  Since we are baseball fans here, I wanted to feature his books starring the Home Run Kid:  The Kid Who Only Hit Homers, Return of the Home Run Kid, Comeback of the Home Run Kid, The Home Run Kid Races On, but check out the website for me!

I know this is only a small snapshot of all the sports books that must be available.  If you have any other favorites, please share them with us!


bermudaonion said...

Great list of books! My son loved Matt Christopher.

Kate the Book Buff said...

My nieces and nephews are big baseball kids so I think I'll have to check some of these out for them :) Thanks for the heads up!

-Kate the Book Buff
Recent Post: NEWS FLASH! Nicholas Sparks' Safe Haven Movie is in the Works, A-Lister in Talks to Star

Ms. Yingling said...

Over at my blog, I have a "Sports" tab, and the list starts with baseball. I need to add a few things, though-- thanks for the reminder! You mentioned a book or two I haven't seen, so I will take a look at those.

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

You have some good selections here Alison!

Anonymous said...

My son wrote and self published a book about his Little League season. Entertaining read for any child who has ever played Little league baseball - or us parents who have volunteered to coach it: Third Time's the Charm

Eileen said...

I also HIGHLY recommend THE ADVENTURES OF CHIP DOOLIN, by Neal Bogosian. A wonderfully innocent and historical read. It was set in 1909. When I saw the reviews on Amazon, I gave it a try and wasn't disappointed. Anyway, thought I'd share! Here's the link (I bought the Kindle version because it was cheaper!):

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