Here are a few of the books in my library related to the Olympics:
Biographies of Olympic heroes:
Jim Thorpe, Olympic Champion by Guernsey Van Riper. A biography of the Native American athlete known as one of the best all-round athletes in history, for his accomplishments as an Olympic medal winner as well as an outstanding professional football and baseball player.
Babe Didrikson, Girl Athlete by Lena Young de Grummond and Lynn de Grummond Delaune. Babe Didrikson Zaharias was an all-round Olympic champion female athlete, with ability similar to Jim Thorpe’s in a number of events. After her Olympic career, Didrikson Zaharias excelled as a professional golfer.
Eric Liddell by Catherine Swift. A biography of the famous runner and missionary from the movie, Chariots of Fire.
The Boys in the Boat (Young Readers Adaptation): The True Story of an American Team’s Epic Journey to Win Gold at the 1936 Olympics by Daniel James Brown.
Mary Lou Retton: America’s Olympic Superstar by George Sullivan.
Highlights of the Olympics: Past and Present by John Durant. This history includes the origin of the original Greek Olympics and of the modern-day version and then highlights mostly American Olympics athletes through 1964.
Unbroken: An Olympian’s Journey from Airman to Castaway to Captive (adapted for young adults) by Laura Hillenbrand. The best true Olympic story ever.
About kids participating in Olympic, and not-so-olympic, sports:
Stop! the Watch: A Book of Everyday, Ordinary, Anybody Olympics from Klutz Press. Host your own Olympic games with raisin-tossing, finger snapping, and under the bed crawling.
Everybody’s a Winner: A Kid’s Guide to New Sports and Fitness by Tom Schneider. A Brown Paper School book.
Jump: The New Jump Rope Book by Susan Kalbfleisch.
Olympic sports-related fiction for elementary and middle grades:
Mission to Marathon by Geoffrey Trease. The first marathon in 490 BC. Philip must run across the mountains to warn his family and all of Athens that the Persians are invading. Will he get to Athens in time to save the city?
The Winning Stroke by Matt Christopher. Swimming.
Soccer Halfback by Matt Christopher.
Stepladder Steve Plays Basketball by C. Paul Jackson.
Break for the Basket by Matt Christopher. Basketball.
Soup’s Hoop by Robert Newton Peck. Basketball. Soup has a plan to help his favorite hometown basketball team win, including the use of a musical instrument called a spitzentootle.
The Hockey Trick by Scott Corbett. When three brothers, all extraordinary baseball players, move into the neighborhood, two rival teams play a game of hockey to determine which team will get them.
Face-Off by Matt Christopher. Hockey.
Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome. Sailing. The jolly crew of The Swallow pursue summer adventures in their sailboat.
Young adult fiction:
The Contender by Robert Lipsyte. A Harlem high school dropout escapes from a gang of punks into a boxing gym, where he learns that being a contender is hard work. Young adult.
The Moves Make the Man by Bruce Brooks. For Jerome Foxworthy, basketball is a metaphor for life. But trying to to teach the moves to Bix Rivers is a job that even Jerome may not be able to handle. Young adult.
The Runner by Cynthia Voigt. In the Vietnam War era, a black student joins the track team, forcing Bullet Tillerman to question his own prejudices. But nothing will keep Bullet from running. Nothing. Young adult.
In the process of making this list, I’ve decided to read some Olympics books myself, and also a book or two set in Brazil. I’d like for most of the books I read to be from my library, but I’m open to suggestions. Do you have any great Olympics-related books to recommend?