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Olympics & Paralympics

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Best Children’s Books about the Olympic and Paralympic Games

Now’s the time to inspire young readers with books all about the Olympic and Paralympic Games! From pentathlons and Paralympians to javelins and judo, there are plenty of facts and figures to be inspired by in our medal-worthy selection of top children’s books about the Olympic games…

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Olympic Sports: Picturebooks

Rosamund Lloyd
 & Richard Merritt
Non-fiction Picturebook
This fun, dynamic book introduces children to the world of competitive sports! It covers some of the world's most popular games, including football, tennis and volleyball. Packed with action flaps and simple facts, this book is perfect for curious minds.
DK
 & Lucy Semple
Non-fiction
How do little kids become sporting superstars? Find out in this inspiring board book for little ones. Everyone, from Usain Bolt to Simone Biles, was once a small child learning about the world. Read how a diverse array of sporty kids found what they loved to do, worked hard, and followed their passions all the way into adulthood. With adorable illustrations of top sports stars as typical young kids, then as superstar adults, sporting greats will seem like friends to your little one, and kids will see that sporting greatness is achievable. Meet Lionel Messi when he was a small child learning to play football, Usain Bolt before he became a super sprinter, Ellie Simmonds as she developed a love of water, and figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu when he joined his sister on the ice and became a figure skater. Let your child turn the pages and see that, like their heroes, the experiences and passions they have now can lead to incredible achievements.
Dan Green
Picturebook
Join the busy athlete as he goes for gold in this playful, interactive flap book! Ready, set, go! Can you win the gold medal? Join in and use the flaps to help the athlete to warm up, jump over the pole, dive into the pool and much, much more. With interactive action-flaps, you can do it, too! Each clever flap provides an action or scene-change to encourage children to actively engage and explore . The playful flaps are perfect for little hands to develop fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Original concept and illustration by Dan Green.
Mo Farah & Kes Gray
 & Marta Kissi
Picturebook
From Olympic gold medal winner Mo Farah and bestselling author of Oi Frog! , Kes Gray, comes a fun and action-packed picture book that will get kids reading, and running too! So, what are you waiting for? Warm up, do the MOBOT, and then ... Run on the pavement Run on the grass Run in the playground Perhaps not in class! Follow Mo on his madcap adventures as his running skills go from strength to strength. The perfect book to share and read aloud. With vibrant illustrations and a rhyming text.

Books about Paralympics and Paralympians

Claire Cashmore
 & Sharon Davey
Picturebook
Claire Cashmore, MBE and Paralympic gold medallist, was born without a left forearm - but she never let being different stand in the way of her big dreams. Splash is based on Claire's real-life experience: this gold-medal-winning swimmer really was scared of water ... until one day, everything changed!These are Claire's big sisters. They call her Bear and ruffle her hair. And whatever Claire's sisters can do, Claire can do too ...But there is one thing Claire won't do ...The water in the swimming pool makes her feel squirmy inside. Follow her sisters? No thank you! Not today?Can Claire conquer her fears? Can she set foot in the water - and what will happen if she does?
Matt Bowers
Non-fiction
Find out all about Paralympic wheelchair sports and the people who participate in them in this exciting photo-illustrated book. Events covered include Paralympic basketball, tennis, rugby and fencing, with descriptions of their rules and how they differ from their Olympic counterparts. The accessible text includes a Q&A element, as well as information features such as a glossary and index.
Ade Adepitan
Chapter book
Join three sporting detectives as they race around the world in the brand new mystery adventure series from multi gold medal-winning Paralympian, Ellie Robinson.Hannah, Maria, and Seb are at the World Championships in Tokyo, bonding over their excitement at watching their favourite athletes compete. But Jesse Marks, a star runner on the US relay team has had his gold medal stolen! The sport park is alive with gossip and as the three new friends begin to investigate, several suspects begin to emerge. With time running out before the final race is run, can the detectives uncover who is out to sabotage the team?The race to solve the case is on in this twisting, action-packed look-behind-the-scenes at the world's biggest sporting event, with clues and illustrations throughout from James Lancett.
Ellie Robinson
 & James Lancett
Chapter book
Join three sporting detectives as they race around the world in the brand new mystery adventure series from multi gold medal-winning Paralympian, Ellie Robinson.Hannah, Maria, and Seb are at the World Championships in Tokyo, bonding over their excitement at watching their favourite athletes compete. But Jesse Marks, a star runner on the US relay team has had his gold medal stolen! The sport park is alive with gossip and as the three new friends begin to investigate, several suspects begin to emerge. With time running out before the final race is run, can the detectives uncover who is out to sabotage the team?The race to solve the case is on in this twisting, action-packed look-behind-the-scenes at the world's biggest sporting event, with clues and illustrations throughout from James Lancett.

Olympic Sports: Shorter Chapter Books

Mo Farah & Kes Gray
 & Marta Kissi
Chapter book
From Olympic gold medal winner Mo Farah and bestselling author of Oi Frog!, Kes Gray, comes a fun fiction series which will get kids reading, and running too! After returning home from a long cross-country run, it's time for Mo and his friends to decide where to go on their next running adventure. Sandwiches at the ready, the friends head somewhere beautiful, with glistening snow and sparkling lakes ... The Rocky Mountains! But crossing states is tiring work, and with lots of new creatures (and monsters!) to meet along the way, will Mo and friends ever get time for a sandwich break? Here comes Bigfoot ... RUN! Follow Mo on his madcap adventures as his running skills go from strength to strength. The perfect book to share and read aloud.
Sir Chris Hoy
 & Clare Elsom
Chapter book
It's competition time! The Hercules Hopefuls are at the International Championships at last - but how will Fergus cope with the competition pressures now that his best friend Daisy has moved away? Mum and Jambo are distracted by their upcoming wedding, Grandpa and Choppy Wallace are having problems with the team's sponsor, who is demanding ludicrous things like banning the team from eating bananas and making them scoff biscuits instead. Manchester is starting to feel a long way from home. But when Fergus escapes to Nevermore to see some friendly faces, it's no better there - Princess Lily is cross with her brother, and there's a bet on which cycling team will win that could see King Woebegot lose his kingdom...Another fabulous, fun and fantastical cycle adventure for Fergus and his friends.
Jeremy Strong
Chapter book
From The Hundred-Mile-an-Hour Dog to karate princesses and hot cross bottoms, there's a Jeremy Strong story to suit every child's sense of humour. Jeremy's readers range from 7 to teen, perfect for fans of Roald Dahl and Andy Stanton. Guess what's coming to town! The Animal Games! There'll be show-jumping for horses AND rabbits, and discus for dogs - so of course I have to enter Streaker. Mum says a CARROT is more obedient than my dog, but I think she can do it - Streaker can go for GOLD!
Isabel Roxas
Graphic Novel
When oddballs Agnes, Roberta and Ruby discover a mutual passion for synchronised swimming, the trio form Team Pom. But between snack time, their favourite TV show and raising pigeons, it can be hard to find time to practice. Tired of their last place, loser status, a crew of self-proclaimed weirdos start their own synchronised swimming club. But on their way to gain the respect and free snacks they deserve, they stumble upon a lonely giant squid in their local pool. Will he be the secret weapon they need to propel them into synchronised swimming super stardom? Or will they end up with ink on their faces? Who are the villainous strangers in bowler hats? And, most importantly, what's for lunch? The first in this series and a debut comic book from award-winning Filipino illustrator Isabel Roxas, Squid Happens is a hilarious read that explores friendship, teamwork and what it means to be yourself.

Olympic Sports: Longer Chapter Books

Elizabeth Laird
Chapter book

This is the story of a young Ethiopian boy called Solomon, who has a passion for running. He dreams of becoming a medal-winning athlete. Little does he know that soon he will need to run with all his might in a race to save his grandfather’s life. This inspiring story was shortlisted for the prestigious Carnegie Medal.

Roy Peachey
Chapter book

Written by a teacher, this book gives a good insight into school life including dealing with mean or difficult people, the importance of consistent effort, and how to do good research to find out accurate information. It is presented in a dual narrative style and alongside Lili’s story we learn about Eric Liddell, focusing on his life after his historic gold medal win and leading up to the outbreak of World War Two.

Jason Reynolds
 & Selom Senu
Chapter book
It's not the taking part, it's the winning that counts for Patina!Patty, as she's known to her friends and family, has lost a lot in her life - her dad died when she was young, her mum has lost her legs and now she has to live with her uncle and his wife. On top of that Patty has to go to the poshest school that ever existed. Now her running team has become a relay team and independent "I can do everything by myself" Patty has to work with her team mates to win.
S.E. Durrant
 & Rob Biddulph
Chapter book
AJ's grandfather has always been the one to keep his unusual family together, so when he dies things start to unravel at the edges. AJ is worried about his parents but they don't really seem to notice. In order to deal with his grief and to keep his anxiety at bay, AJ does what he and his grandfather did best: running. Round and round the Olympic Park, aiming for the cross country trials. Running to escape, AJ only seems to be heading ever closer to disaster. Running On Empty is a beautiful book about false starts and emotional journeys, with hope as the ultimate finishing line. From the author of Little Bits of Sky and Talking to the Moon Cover illustration by Rob Biddulph
Jewell Parker Rhodes
Chapter book

Black Brother, Black Brother is the latest offering by the New York award winning author of Ghost Boys, Jewell Parker Rhodes. It is a powerful story of a boy’s path to finding his voice against racism and discovering who he is.


Olivia Tuffin
Chapter book

A thoroughly up-to-date modern horse novel, exploring the clash of a very traditional sporting world with modern concerns about animal welfare, compounded by the knife-edge of living your life in the spotlight of social media.

I really enjoyed this and I think our Y4-Y6 children will appreciate it too. It packs quite a punch into a fairly short book. You don’t have to be deeply involved with horses (although it does help to know at least some of the terms) because the main character Hannah is really relatable. She’s young enough not to care much about the social media world her influencer older sister is swept up in – all she really wants is a pony of her own to build that special relationship with, and she cares so much that the reader can’t help but also care about the horses she works with.

The personalities of the different horses shine off the page as much as Hannah does. However, Hannah’s at that age where she’s starting to find out that adults are not always truthful or honest, even her own family – a coming-of-age which is painful to say the least. Hannah takes some real risks to unpick the mystery she’s uncovered, to stand her ground against adults, and there’s a great deal to admire about her. She’s extremely persistent in her concern for horse welfare and willing to sacrifice a competition – maybe her future showjumping career – to save a horse and put a stop to cruelty. I enjoyed the way Hannah’s relationship with her older sister Millie grows and develops throughout the book, too.

Children's Books About Individual Olympians

Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara
 & Lo Harris
Non-fiction
In this book from the critically acclaimed, multimillion-copy bestselling Little People, BIG DREAMS series, discover the life of Michael Jordan, one of the greatest basketball players of time.Little Michael wanted to be the first at everything - especially if that meant beating his older brother. One day, he came home crying... he'd been rejected from the basketball team at school. With his mum's message of 'go out and earn it' ringing in his ears, Michael practised all summer. Soon he was the star of the team , going from school, to college, to the Olympics.After six titles, more than 1,000 games and exactly 32,292 points, MJ had become a sporting legend, who encouraged kids to 'make it happen!' This inspiring book features stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back , including a biographical timeline with historical photos and a detailed profile of the baller's life.
Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara
 & Anna Katharina Jansen
Non-fiction
The youngest of ten children, Jesse grew up working in the cotton fields of Alabama. Discovered by his high school track and field coach, Jesse quickly rose to fame as an athlete. He went on the challenge racism on the world stage at the 1936 Berlin Olympics and made new world records. This moving book features stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back , including a biographical timeline with historical photos and a detailed profile of the athlete and activist's life.Little People, BIG DREAMS is a bestselling series of books and educational games that explore the lives of outstanding people , from designers and artists to scientists and activists. All of them achieved incredible things, yet each began life as a child with a dream.

Books About the History of the Olympic Games

Minna Lacey
 & Paddy Mounter
Non-fiction
A brilliant introduction to the history of The Olympics, from the traditional games of Ancient Greece, to their revival by Pierre de Coubertin and the pomp and ceremony of the modern Games. Internet links to carefully selected websites allow children to access the very best sites to support this book and enhance their learning experience. Specially written for children growing in reading confidence and ability. Part of the Usborne Reading Programme, developed with reading experts at the University of Roehampton.
Christina Balit
Picturebook

In Ancient Athens, a young slave is known only as ‘The Corinthian Girl’ in a reference to where she had been found, left by her father who couldn’t afford to keep her. She grows up learning to serve her new Athenian family by fetching, carrying, cleaning and scrubbing. Girls were unimportant; slave girls even less so. Very occasionally, she is able to play with the youngest son and her athletic talents are noticed by the master of the house, himself a famous athlete. He forms an ambitious plan for her – will it succeed?

This inspiring short story is based on the Heraean Games, a real event held every four years in honour of Hera and only open to female athletes. It is accompanied by gorgeously subtle but graphic watercolour illustrations that suit the subject matter perfectly both in style and colour palette. Readers who have enjoyed Escape from Pompeiiwhich has been used in classrooms for years alongside the Romans topics – will immediately recognise Christina Balit’s distinctive style.

I was pleased to see these lesser-known Greek games brought to light to counterbalance the male perspective which dominates the study of Ancient Greece. Although as a story it is plausible rather than likely, it’s stirring, and the factual pages at the back address potential misconceptions by explaining the context and introducing the small number of key sources. Much has to be imagined because of the limited evidence for the lives of women in Ancient Athens.

A highly recommendable picturebook to share alongside study of Ancient Greece.

Iris Volant
 & Avalon Nuovo
Non-fiction
Run with the Olympic athletes and sweat it out in the deadly ballgame courts of the Aztecs in this beautifully illustrated and informative guide to the sports and games that have entertained people for the past 2500 years.How did the Vikings keep themselves occupied between raids? What tricks did medieval Japanese sumo wrestlers have to win their matches? With fascinating facts and detailed pictures, this book is the perfect guide to everything to do with games, from the tiniest chess pieces to the biggest sports tournaments.
Shelina Janmohamed
 & Ashley Evans
Non-fiction
A Grand Slam championAn activistAn inspirationSerena Williams began playing tennis when she was just a child, and is now an Olympic champion who's won more Grand Slam singles titles than anyone else.Throughout her life she's battled many things, from life-threatening illnesses and sports injuries, to sexism and racism in the tennis world. Now she's an icon in sport, fashion and activism, an inspiration to every young person who has dared to dream big.

Non-Fiction Books about the Olympics

DK
A vibrant encyclopedia that combines facts and figures with the inspiring stories of sporting legends and icons.This exciting book for children is packed with fun facts about a range of popular sports such as football, karate, badminton, and skiing, as well as ones you might never have heard of like biathlon or cheese rolling. Whether you're a fan of team sports, winter sports, water sports, extreme sports, and even board games such as chess and go, this reference book has it all!My Encyclopedia of Very Important Sport also celebrates the unique talents, lives, and careers of sporting heroes such as Usain Bolt, Serena Williams, Yuna Kim, Lin Dan, and Donald Bradman, and chronicles the most celebrated stories in sporting history, such as breaking the Four-minute mile, Nadia Comaneci's Perfect 10, and Jesse Owens at the 1936 Olympics. Featuring everything from obscure rules and strange equipment, to moments of triumph and sporting events like The World Cup, Superbowl, Olympics, Paralympics, and more - this is the perfect compendium for budding superstars everywhere.
Glenn Murphy
Non-fiction
From the bestselling author of Why is Snot Green comes another hilarious, bonkers and brilliant science book - f ind out the answers to all the questions you've ever had about the Olympics and sport! Are Olympic athletes born stronger and faster than the rest of us? Why do tennis rackets have strings? How do gymnasts balance on their hands? Why do hurdlers do the splits when they jump? From running a marathon, to beating your friends at basketball, to being the bendiest gymnast around, find out everything you've ever wanted to know about sports, and exactly what it is that makes athletes the best at what they do. Divided into five easy-to-digest sections and packed with illustrations, Glenn Murphy's Olympic Sport is an accessible introduction to the science of sport, perfect for any young athletes and scientists. - Bigger, Better, Faster, Stronger - In the Olympic Stadium - Going the Distance - He Shoots . . . He Scores! - Balance, Flexibility and Control
Scott Allen
 & Antoine Corbineau
Non-fiction
An exciting, laugh-a-minute guide to every Olympic and Paralympic sportFrom boxing to boccia, find out just what it takes to become an Olympic and Paralympic star in this hilariously informative guide to the games. For each sport you'll discover why it's great, why it's not so great, what skills and equipment you'll need to start practising and even how to sound like a pro! You'll learn about some of the greatest Olympians in history, events that might appear in the future and there's a helpful guide to your chances of becoming a champion.With bold, energetic illustrations and a text packed with weird, wonderful and wildly hilarious facts written by former sports journalist Scott Allen, this gift book is the funniest guide you'll find to the next Olympics!
M K Osborne
Non-fiction
Published to coincide with 2020 Summer Olympic Games, this dynamic book puts a spotlight on its featured track and field competitions, including running, jumping and throwing events. Young readers will be delighted by the stories about Olympic heroes and will marvel at the full-colour action photography. This volume also includes a table of contents, a Q&A feature, glossary, recommended books and websites and an index.
Rachel Ignotofsky
Non-fiction

Women in Sport is a superbly illustrated non-fiction text focusing on exceptional women athletes who became trailblazers or game-changers in their chosen sports. Each spread contains a short and interesting explanation of a different sportswoman’s achievements and a compelling illustration with additional facts blended into the design. The artwork is impressively bold and unapologetic like many of the book’s subjects and there are also pages containing infographics such as timelines, anatomical diagrams and statistics about equality in sports. What we love is that the style and format makes the subject matter appealing and accessible to children and we therefore think it is a really important text that inspires readers to overcome barriers and go for gold.


Adam Skinner
 & Mr. Mark Long
Non-fiction
Sportopedia is your ultimate guide to the exhilarating world of sport. Learn amazing facts about all your favourite sports, and discover new ones you may not have come across before. Whether you're into team sports, target sports, track and field, or aquatic sports, this book showcases a diverse array of athletes - male, female, able-bodied and Paralympians - and celebrates the unique talents of sportspeople everywhere, making it a treasure trove for all the family to share. With basic tenets and rules as well as more niche facts all explained, this book serves as a complete encyclopedia to the sporting world. Covering ball sports , such as soccer, rugby, volleyball, lacrosse, rugby and cricket; racket sports such as tennis, table tennis and badminton; athletics and gymnastics ; target sports such as shooting, archery and golf; as well as combat sports such as judo, karate and boxing, this book covers everything from very well known activities to the more niche sporting hobbies such as boccia and kabaddi. Sport-loving kids will find hours of entertainment and fascinating information in this awesome encyclopedia.
Adam Skinner
 & Mai Ly Degnan
Non-fiction
Slam the ball home with Michael Jordan. Scale mountain heights with Marielle Goitschel. Flip through the air with Simone Biles. Take a front-row seat and relive history's greatest sporting moments as they happened. This richly illustrated book showcases the defining moment of notable athletes from around the world in more than twenty sports, making it a treasure trove for all the family to share.

Olympics Poetry

Brian Moses & Roger Stevens
Poetry
A brilliant, funny and inspiring collection of poems about sport by Brian Moses and Roger Stevens! These are poems about winning and about taking part; poems about having all the right kit, but no talent; poems that show that coming first in the egg and spoon race really is as important to your mum and dad as being an Olympic athlete; poems about being a team player and poems about being an individual hero. In fact, this book is packed with sporting gems of all kinds. Olympic Poems is perfect for any young poet or aspiring Olympian.

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