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Summer Olympics and Fun Summer Sports

Experience the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat, and the general fun of the Olympics with these recommended "gold medal" books for kids ages 0-9. Tap into the hubbub surrounding summertime sports by kicking in these winning nonfiction, poetry, and picture books for kids to read.

Quotable Quotes: The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you'll go. -- Dr. Seuss

A Picture Book of Jesse Owens

By: David Adler, Robert Casilla
Illustrated by: Robert Casilla
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Jesse Owens was a breakthrough athlete – an African American who captured the world stage (and four gold medals!) at the 11th Olympiad in Nazi Germany. In this book, readers will learn about his life through brief text and watercolor illustrations. Younger readers may enjoy Patricia and Fredrick McKissack’s picture book, Jesse Owens: Olympic Star.

Ancient Greece and the Olympics (A Magic Treehouse Research Guide)

By: Mary Pope Osborne
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Where and how the Olympics began is explored in this factual companion to Hour of the Olympics (one in the fantasy series in which siblings Annie and Jack time travel). The informational book stands alone or can augment the novel (for 6-9 year olds) as they explore the origins of the Olympics.

Hour of the Olympics (Magic Tree House #16)

By: Mary Pope Osborne, Sal Murdocca
Illustrated by: Sal Murdocca
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Annie and Jack travel back in time to the first Olympic games to retrieve a lost story. There they learn a lot about what girls were — and were not — permitted to do in Ancient Greece.

Little Rat Sets Sail

By: Monica Bang-Campbell
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Little Rat really doesn’t want to start the lessons her parents have arranged; she’s afraid of sailing! But with the help of an amiable instructor, Little Rat overcomes her fear and learns not only to sail, but to enjoy it as well.

Sports! Sports! Sports! A Poetry Collection

By: Lee Bennett Hopkins, Brian Floca
Illustrated by: Brian Floca
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Can a poem capture the excitement, exhilaration, or anguish of defeat when playing sports? The poems here do all that and more! It's an easy-to-read collection that's illustrated with just the right light touch.

Swifter, Higher, Stronger: A Photographic History of the Summer Olympics

By: Sue Macy
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Even though the ancient Greeks conceived the Olympics, it was a small Frenchman "with a shrill voice and a bushy mustache" who almost single-handedly brought the modern Olympics to life again. This revealing, clear, and handsome book provides an engaging and authoritative overview of the summer Olympics.

The Lucky Baseball Bat

By: Matt Christopher
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Martin is convinced that he’s lost his ability to hit when his favorite baseball bat goes missing. Can he get both his bat and his confidence back in time to help the team win the championship?

The Mud Flat Olympics

By: James Stevenson
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

The animals of Mud Flat decide to let the games begin in their unique version of Olympic competition. From the "Deepest Hole Contest" to the "River-Cross Freestyle," readers will chuckle with the furry Olympians.

The Summer Olympics

By: Bob Knotts
Illustrated by: Bob Knotts
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

This straightforward introduction to the summer Olympics and their origins provides basic information and history for capable readers.

Wilma Unlimited: How Wilma Rudolph Became the World's Fastest Woman

By: Kathleen Krull, David Diaz
Illustrated by: David Diaz
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Wilma Rudolph not only overcame polio, she went on to become the first woman to win three Olympic gold medals in Rome in 1960. Semiabstract paintings convey her power and personality in this accessible picture book biography.

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