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Great Sports Books for Tweens and Teens

Spark a discussion about sportsmanship or tempt a reluctant reader.


Updated November 15, 2012

Sports books are a great vehicle for parent-child chats about friendship, teamwork, winning and losing, fairness, and other aspects of sportsmanship. Consider these titles for your middle- or high-schooler.

Lay-Ups and Long Shots

Lay-Ups and Long Shots book of short stories
Lerner Publishing Group
This anthology of eight short stories gives kids a taste of different authors and the challenges their characters face. Sports represented include track, football, martial arts, and even Ping Pong and dirt bike riding. Ages 9-14.
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Last Shot

Last Shot by John Feinstein
Random House
Sportswriter John Feinstein (A Good Walk Spoiled) authored this book about two aspiring journalists who win press passes to the Final Four basketball tournament. Once there, they discover some serious behind-the-scenes intrigue. Ages 10 and up.
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Rivals by Tim Green
HarperCollins Publishers
Making it to a national baseball tournament turns out to be way more complicated than Josh bargained for in this sequel to Baseball Great (both by Tim Green). It's an exciting tale full of twists and turns, and a genuine love of the game. Ages 10-13.
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Tangerine by Edward Bloor
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
This award-winning novel by Edward Bloor centers on 12-year-old Paul, a legally blind "geek" who finds a way to shine as a soccer player. The book takes on big, sometimes dark themes head-on, making it a compelling read. Ages 9 to 13.
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Shutout by Brendan Halpin
Farrar Straus & Giroux Books for Young Readers
Two girls' relationship is seriously tested when one makes the varsity soccer team and her pal is stuck on the JV team. Author Brendan Halpin keeps the soccer action in play while telling a believable tale about friendship and sportsmanship. Ages 12 and up.
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Dairy Queen

Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
This is the first in a three-book series about D.J., a teenage girl who lives on a Wisconsin dairy farm. As if going to school, working the farm, and dealing with family issues weren't enough, D.J. also decides to try out for the high school football team. Ages 12 and up.
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Game by Walter Dean Myers
In this book by acclaimed author Walter Dean Myers, a high school senior named Drew is counting on his basketball skills to get him into college. When a rival teammate begins to pose a threat, Drew has to reconsider everything he knows about himself and his game. Ages 13 and up.
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Ironman by Chris Crutcher
HarperCollins Publishers
In this novel by Chris Crutcher, Bo is a would-be triathlete whose temper often gets him in serious trouble. Facing expulsion from school, he is forced into anger management classes. There he meets the mentor who will help him face his feelings and channel them into athletic and personal success. Ages 14 and up (contains some strong language).
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