Christopher, Matt. Long Stretch at First Base.
Gantos, Jack. Joey Pigza Loses Control.
The Diamond Champs by Matt Christopher (Little Brown and Company, 1957) is a story about a boy named Kim who has never played on a team in his life. Then, when he is asked for the first time to play on a baseball team, he gets put in right field and misses every ball that comes to him. But he works hard, catches a ball in the playoffs and his team ends up winning! Kim still wonders, though, why that team chose him. (Callum in grade eight)
Baseball Pals is a great story about friends and baseball. The main character is Jimmie. The main problem is that Jimmie and Paul both want to pitch for the Planets but there is only one spot available. Paul goes to play for the Red Rockets. Jimmie doesn’t like that, so he starts playing short stop. When Paul comes to pitch for the Planets, the two boys become best of friends and their team ends up winning its first game. I think that it is because the two friends are so happy to see each other again! (Callum in grade eight)
Haddix, Margaret Peterson. Game-Changer. New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2012.
“While playing in the championship softball game, star pitcher KT Sutton blacks out and awakes to a changed world where the roles of academics and sports at her middle school have flipped, making talented athletes, such as KT, outcasts and brainy nerds popular.” – CIP. Highly recommended for 11 to 16 year old readers with a sense of humour. [Individuality; Schools; Space and time; Sports stories]
You can learn a lot about life from books. I learned some useful information from The Way of Baseball (Simon & Shuster, 2011). Baseball is 90% mental and only 10% physical. It is harder than it seems to hit a baseball. It takes repetition to get better at baseball. Most importantly, I learned that meditation works magic for batting. Books are a great way to expand your general knowledge, to help you carry along facts that can help you in life. And this book is great one to read if you want to learn more about the mental side of baseball. Shawn Green is a great example of this. He came out of nowhere from the Toronto Blue Jays farm system. He came into the Majors with little knowledge of hitting. As his career came along he became more aware of what it takes to become a Hall of Fame hitter. Shawn takes about 1000 swings a day. Each with the same routine. Could you imagine that?! Taking 1000 swings a day for about 165 days. Every single day. Somehow Shawn manages to do it. Shawn Green is considered one of the best Jewish players to set foot on a baseball diamond. He is and inspiration to everybody. (Carter in grade eight)
Grimes, Nikki. Planet Middle School. Bloomsbury, 2011.
Myers, Christopher. H.O.R.S.E. New York: Egmont, 2012.
Walters, Eric. Full Court Press. (AR 4.5)
Walters, Eric. Hoop Crazy! (AR 3.8)
Walters, Eric. Long Shot. (AR 4.2)
Walters, Eric. Off Season. (AR 4.0)
Walters, Eric. Rebound. (AR 4.2)
Walters, Eric. Road Trip. (AR 4.4)
Walters, Eric. Slam! (AR 4.5)
Walters, Eric. Slam Dunk. (AR 4.7)
Walters, Eric. Three on Three. (AR 3.8)
Cummings, Priscilla. Red Kayak. (AR 4.5)
Korman, Gordon. Escape. (AR 4.9)
Philbrick, Rodman. The Young Man and the Sea. (AR 4.5)
Tullson, Diane. Red Sea. (AR 5.1)
Voigt, Cynthia. Dicey’s Song. (AR 5.0)
Voigt, Cynthia. Seventeen Against the Dealer. (AR 6.3)
Tate, Don. Strong as Sandow: How Eugen Sandow Became the Strongest Man on Earth. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge, 2017.
Eugen was a weakling, small and puny, without any athletic ability to attract fame. Born in Prussia, his father took him to visit art galleries in Italy, where he was astonished at the physiques portrayed in the statues. Could he ever become as strong as those ancient athletes? While his father wanted him to strengthen his mind, he joined the circus in order to strengthen his body. By the time Eugen was in his early twenties, he was ready to challenge the strongest men in the world. In London in 1889, he reached his goal and sailed into the world of fame.
This beautifully written 40-page picture book biography by an award-winning illustrator and former bodybuilder is recommended for readers 8 to 14 years old. It includes a lengthy bibliography and additional information, including exercises to build strength. A great book for action-oriented students who like sports.
Sachar, Louis. Super Fast Out of Control.
Stilton, Geronimo. The Race Across America.
Are you reckless about anything? Do you have a dirt-bike? Are you reckless on your dirt-bike? If you said ‘yes’ to all of these questions, then you are just like the character in Reckless by Lesley Choyce (Orca, 2010).
Josh, a reckless teenager, accidentally rams his Kawasaki, at almost full speed, into an elderly man in the woods. He thinks he is dead but then suddenly his eyes open and he is alive. Josh is relieved but also scared. What is he going to do to him? Then the unknown man does the unexpected. He steals Josh’s bike, calling it an ‘infernal noise machine’, and took it away, never to be seen again! But he does see it again. The next day he is hiking through the woods and finds a path that eventually leads to the man’s house.
Josh bangs on the door and the man comes out. He then leads him around the back of the house to a make-shift shed with a tarp as the roof. The man goes into it and comes back a moment later with Josh’s bike. The man starts the engine and it is like a purring kitten. It is the sweetest sound Josh has ever heard from a Kawasaki.
He thanks him for fixing his bike and becomes quite good friends with him over the next few weeks.
Then one day, during the winter, Josh decides to go and check on him. Once he gets there, after almost getting lost, he knocks on the door but there is no answer. He calls for him, but still no answer. He walks around the back, but there is no sign of him. Josh goes into the cabin and sees the man lying on the ground with a big gash in his leg. Josh struggles to get help and then hears snow mobiles off in the distance, and they are coming closer. He grabs their attention and leads them to the cabin. Somehow, they manage to take care of him and bring Josh home.
They live quite good and happy lives. The man’s name turns out to be Jonathan, and instead of being a hermit, he is a very social person. As for Josh, he gets more respect from his parents who buy him a satellite cell phone with a built-in GPS that he thinks is pretty cool. They all live happily ever after, mostly. (Kiera in grade eight)
Bloor, Edward. Tangerine. (AR 4.3)
Christopher, Matt. Football Fugitive. (AR 4.5)
Christopher, Matt. Tough to Tackle. (AR 4.2)
Korman, Gordon. No More Dead Dogs.
Murdock, Catherine Gilbert. Dairy Queen. (AR 5.3)
Brouwer, Sigmund. All-Star Pride. (AR 4.9)
Brouwer, Sigmund. Blazer Drive. (AR 3.0)
Brouwer, Sigmund. Chief Honor. (AR 3.9)
Brouwer, Sigmund. Hitmen Triumph. (AR 4.1)
Brouwer, Sigmund. Timberwolf Chase. (AR 3.0)
Carter, Anne. In the Clear. (AR 4.0)
Christopher, Matt. The Hockey Machine. (AR 4.8)
Christopher, Matt. Penalty Shot. (AR 5.2)
Korman, Gordon. The Chicken Doesn’t Skate. (AR 4.8)
Korman, Gordon. The Stars from Mars. (AR 4.5)
MacGregor, Roy. Attack on the Tower of London. (AR 6.0)
MacGregor, Roy. Death Down Under. (AR 5.5)
MacGregor, Roy. Horror on River Road. (AR 5.2)
MacGregor, Roy. Murder at Hockey Camp. (AR 5.1)
MacGregor, Roy. Murder at the Winter Games. (AR 6.7)
MacGregor, Roy. Mystery at Lake Placid. (AR 5.7)
MacGregor, Roy. The Night they Stole the Stanley Cup. (AR 5.2)
MacGregor, Roy. Nightmare in Nagano. (AR 5.5)
MacGregor, Roy. Quebec City Crisis. (AR 5.7)
MacGregor, Roy. Secret of the Deep Woods. (AR 5.2)
MacGregor, Roy. Terror in Florida. (AR 5.5)
MacGregor, Roy. The West Coast Murders. (AR 5.7)
Did you know that the first Vancouver Canucks stadium was the Pacific Coliseum? Did you know that Orland Kurtenbach was the first captain of the Vancouver Canucks? Canucks at Forty by Greg Douglas and Grant Kerr (John Wiley & Sons Canada, 2010) is a fascinating book about the forty year history of the Vancouver Canucks. I learned that the first number that the Canucks retired was number 12 which belonged to an amazing player, Stan Smyl, and that the Canucks have faced both the New York Islanders and the New York Rangers in their two playoff runs. I discovered that the 1980 ‘Flying V’ Canuck jerseys was one of the worst jerseys to enter the National Hockey League and that the tickets back in 1970 were only six dollars and fifty cents for the best seats in the house. Canucks at Forty by Greg Douglas and Grant Kerr is a fascinating book on how the Canucks came to be. (D.C. in grade eight)
Casanova, Mary. Stealing Thunder. (AR 4.6)
Collura, Mary Ellen Lang. Winner. (AR 5.0)
Roy, Ron. The Runaway Racehorse. (AR 3.6)
Siamon, Sharon. Rodeo Horse. (AR 4.3)
Jones, V.M. Shooting the Moon.
Korman, Gordon. The Climb. (AR 5.2)
Korman, Gordon. The Contest. (AR 5.1)
Korman, Gordon. The Summit. (AR 5.2)
Smith, Roland. Peak: a Novel. (AR 5.0)
Creech, Sharon. Heartbeat. (AR 5.0)
Voigt, Cynthia. The Runner. (AR 5.0)
Almond, David. Harry Miller’s Run. Somerville, Mass.: Candlewick, 2017, c2008.
Eleven-year-old Liam wants to get outside and start training for the big race coming up. But his mother wants him to help an elderly neighbour move into a nursing home. What starts out as a frustrating day turns into an amazing adventure as Liam listens to Harry tell about the great race he ran from Newcastle to South Shields when he was a young lad himself.
This joyous novella – by a multiple award winning author – reads like a true story. I kept checking the flyleaf to find out the historical background. There was nothing. But this heart-warming story by a masterful writer will live in readers’ memories as if it really happened to someone we ourselves must have met somewhere. Whimsical illustrations by Salvatore Rubbino – creator of picture books about London and Paris – add to the charm of this unpaged book highly recommended for readers 9 years old and up. [England; Historical fiction; Memories; Races; Running]
Brouwer, Sigmund. Scuba Diving to the Extreme. (AR 3.6)
Dadey, Debbie. Monsters Don’t Scuba Dive. (AR 3.6)
Korman, Gordon. The Danger. (AR 5.5)
Korman, Gordon. The Deep. (AR 5.6)
Korman, Gordon. The Discovery. (AR 5.5)
Stilton, Geronimo. The Search for Sunken Treasure. (AR 3.6)
Avi. S.O.R. Losers. (AR 3.6)
Christopher, Matt. Soccer Halfback. (AR 4.6)
Christopher, Matt. Soccer Scoop. (AR 5.2)
Bloor, Edward. Tangerine. (AR 4.3)
Dady, Debbie. Zombies Don’t Play Soccer. (AR 3.5)
Ashley, Bernard. Aftershock. London : Frances Lincoln Children’s, 2011.Makis is an outsider in his new school in England. He starts to find acceptance once people realize his athletic skills. But when he lets down his team at an important game, everyone turns against him again. [Greece; London (England); Mothers and sons; Soccer]
Williams, Michael. Now Is the Time for Running. New York : Little, Brown, 2013, c2009.
“When soldiers attack a small village in Zimbabwe, Deo goes on the run with Innocent, his older, mentally disabled brother, carrying little but a leather soccer ball filled with money, and after facing prejudice, poverty, and tragedy, it is in soccer that Deo finds renewed hope.” – CIP. Recommended for more mature readers. [Brothers; Homelessness; People with mental disabilities; Refugees; Soccer; Zimbabwe]
Yelchin, Eugene. Arcady’s Goal. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2014.
“When twelve-year-old Arcady is sent to a children’s home after his parents are declared enemies of the state in Soviet Russia, soccer becomes a way to secure extra rations, respect, and protection but it may also be his way out if he can believe in and love another person–and himself.” – CIP. Highly recommended for all readers 11-years-old and up. [Orphans; Communism; Foster children; Soviet Union; Soccer]
Lantz, Frances. Pier Pressure. (AR 4.1)
Crutcher, Chris. Whale Talk. (AR 6.1)
TRACK AND FIELD
Brouwer, Sigmund. Hurricane Power. (AR 3.7)
Gavin, Jamila. The Track of the Wind.
Mantell, Paul. Spike It!
Dadey, Debbie. Vikings Don’t Wear Wrestling Belts. (AR 4.1)
Scieszka, Jon. See You Later, Gladiator. (AR 4.2)
Spinelli, Jerry. There’s a Girl in my Hammerlock. (AR 3.5)
Strasser, Todd. Help! I’m Trapped in a Professional Wrestler’s Body. (AR 3.8)
Orca publishes a whole series of great sports stories for readers who prefer their books action-packed and easy to read. Visit its site HERE.