by Amber Johnson, Youth Librarian
With only a few weeks left of school, the Youth Services Department at Manhattan Public Library is gearing up for the summer reading program and all the summer events planned for children of all ages. Parents: you might be gearing up for summer in a different way, stocking your minivans with snacks and sports equipment, preparing for a summer of activities with your children. For many students, summer is the time to try out a new activity or improve their skills in their favorite sport. With NBA finals in motion, are your children obsessed with the Golden State Warriors? We have books for them. Do your children watch the Royals and wonder how Alcides Escobar knows how to make such great plays? We have books for them. Here are a few of my favorite titles about sports:
Jake Maddox series
An early chapter book series, the Jake Maddox books are perfect for students reading at a kindergarten to 2nd grade level. Book topics range from dance to football to paintball. Each book takes place over just a few days, so the comprehension level is low, but the action level is high.
Comeback Kids series by Mike Lupica
As a sports columnist for many publications, Mike Lupica knows how to write and talk about sports. But in his Comeback Kids series, it is evident that he knows how to write about life as well. This middle grade series, recommended for 2nd-4th grade reading levels, details the sports lives and personal lives of students. As they deal with issues at home or issues at school, playing on a team gives them an escape and a way to process how life works and how to become the person they want to be.
Baseball Great series by Tim Green
Similar to the Comeback Kids series but for older readers, Tim Green pairs sports and personal issues to offer books that will entertain sports lovers, and give them a gateway to reading other types of realistic fiction. Green’s books are full of action, and readers will enjoy the play-by-play of the games being experienced by the characters.
Nonfiction series about teams and athletes
The Children’s Library has many series and books on individual athletes and professional sports teams. Look in the general non-fiction section under the call number 796, or ask a librarian to help you find a specific title.
Parents and caregivers: the library has books for you as well. Whether you are spending hours on the bleachers at games, or traveling to weekend tournaments, there are multiple ways to access audiobooks for free. Check out a physical copy of an audiobook on CD, download from the Sunflower eLibrary, or download the Hoopla app to access even more free titles. Here are a few titles you might enjoy listening to:
Those Guys Have All the Fun by James Andrew Miller
A compilation of over 500 interviews, this history of the sports media tycoon that is ESPN brings to light just how it grew to be what it is today.
Wonder Girl by Don Van Natta, Jr.
Babe Didrikson was quite possibly the most phenomenal female athlete of the early 20th century. After achieving All-American status in basketball and winning gold medals in track and field at the 1932 Olympics, she moved on to try her hand at golf. Finding success there as well, she used her skill and influence to make a name for women in sports and conquered personal difficulties in the public eye.
The Long Run by Matt Long
New York City firefighter Matt Long suffered a tragic accident that had him in the hospital for five months, enduring through more than 40 operations. After being told he would be lucky to walk again, Long went on to run the NYC marathon a mere three years later. The Long Run details the physical and psychological difficulties that he faced during this journey.
Summer can be a rich time for students and parents, and the library is here to help you make the most of your time. Ask a librarian for help finding your next great book or audiobook.