Friday, April 4, 2008

Kids Sports Books & What's Missing

So baseball season officially started last week. I was watching a game last night. While I couldn't sleep last night (caught some bug) I was thinking about kids stories with or about sports that I enjoyed. I love watching sports has much as I enjoy reading. So when I read sports books I am all about the authenticity of the sport. I want to be able to see the field and for the lingo to feel natural and unforced.

Heart of a Champion by Carl Deuker - This is the best middle grade book about baseball I've read. Deuker is definitely a sports fan

Travel Team by Mike Lupica - I love this book. Lupica does a great job of describing the basketball games on the court. (w/female athlete) I have also read Heat by Lupica I did like it but not as much as Travel Team (w/female athlete)

Raiders Night by Robert Lipsyte - This is a little more serious than the others. It deals with steroids and initiations. At no time do I a doubt this is coming from the point of view of a 17 yr old. There is no preaching about how steroids are bad for you, it just a realistic take on what's happening in some H.S. and the pressures to be a star athlete. I know a little about football, but some of the plays went over my head.

Yellow Flag by Robert Lipsyte Raiders Night is a hard book to follow, but Yellow flag did an okay job. Anytime I can learn more about a sport I am happy. (w female in the pit crew)

Jackie & Me (Baseball Card Adventures) by Dan Gutman - I love this series simply because it helps introduce a child to baseballs history. Baseball is nothing without its past.
Toby Wheeler: Eighth-Grade Benchwarmer by Thatcher Heldring - This one was a nice light fun read. Also it shows that everyone plays an important role on the team even the benchwarmer
Hoops by Walter Dean Myers All of Myers sports books are great. He allows you into the mind of the athlete w/nice sports lingo.
Last Shot: Four Mystery (Final Four Mysteries) by John Feinstein - What I liked about this one is I got to learn more about College basketball. I've heard from customers that his other two novels are even better. (w female sports fan/reporter)
Peak by Roland Smith- This was a great fast paced read. Smith describes the mountain climbs so climbers and non climbers can both enjoy
Crash by Jerry Spinelli - Crash is a serious jock, this book was a lot of fun
Deadline by Chris Crutcher- The story of teenager who has terminal cancer, decides to go out for football. This was just a great book period, but when Ben catches that touchdown, I was one happy sports fan/reader (w/female athlete)
The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt - This was a lovely story, and the parts abort baseball came from a sport lovers heart
We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball by Kadir Nelson - A book that teaches about the Negro leagues and illustrated its Kadir Nelson, I got nothing but love for it.
What's missing are books featuring female athlete/sport fans. So I am forced to use w( ), to show books that include female athletes. Though I am very happy that these authors have recognized that girls do play sports, where are the sports series starring girls. Its 2008, Title IV was passed in 1972 (thank you wikipedia) I am not even asking for anything risque like boxing or wrestling. There are a lot of quote unquote female appropriate sports to choose from, here are a few softball, soccer, field hockey, baseball, track&field, basketball and volleyball. When female athletes in MG and YA books are reduced to a girl who plays on the boys teams or the female athlete girlfriend it gives the impression that female athletes are an anomaly (that word may be a little strong but I looked it up so I am using it) Though really more girls have been playing sports than ever before. (hence the pink glove, target has a whole display of pink sport gear) Also dad's and mom's do take their daughters to games. I hate when I have to tell a parent and daughter, (who is still in their soccer gear) that we don't have a girls soccer series.
Another thing missing from this list are books starring extreme sports athletes
The Winter X Games are the leading winter action sports competition and tour in the whole world, and the Games growth is well documented by ESPN (2008). The ratings, attendance, and participation have continued to grow over the years. In the Gamesfirst year, 1997, the actual attendance of the event was about 38,000 people. In 1998 the attendance dropped to about 25,000 people with the Games move to Crested Butte, but new sports were introduced including free skiing, SnoCross, and SkiBoarding. Womens Free Skiing was introduced a year later and attendance showed an increase at its second stay at Crested Butte. A year later, the Games moved to the east coast for the first time and recorded a record attendance of 83,500 people in Vermont. Also in 2000, the Games added the Snowboard SuperPipe event. Again in Vermont in 2001, the Games posted another great fan turnout along with the addition of the Moto X Big Air event (thanks again wikipedia)

More non readers could be turned into readers if only more books reflected who they were and what they like to do.
After writing this I am moving

The Comeback Season by Jennifer E. Smith and Go Big or Go Home by Will Hobbs up on tbr list. I will be going to Shelfari now and make it official.


Anonymous said...

The Comeback Season is a great book about a girl who's a huge sports fan. Also, there's a book called Pretty Tough that's about girls who play soccer...

Doret said...

Thanks for letting me know about Pretty Tough

Jen Robinson said...

Another great book about a girl who is an athlete is Dairy Queen, by Catherine Gilbert Murdock (don't be put off by the title or the cover - D.J. is a girl who plays high school football). There's a sequel, too, and they are wonderful.

Doret said...

I feel like the only person who hasn't read Diary Queen. Also I've only heard good things, so I shall had it to my list

Thanks for stopping by Jen

Jen Robinson said...

Hope you enjoy it, Doret! Have a great week.