There seems to be an increasing number of books about sport, many co-written/supported by sporting heroes. There’s ‘Tiny Timmy’ by Tim Cahill, ‘The Kaboom Kid’ by David Warner, Billy Slater has supported a series, and recently the first two books in a series by Ellyse Perry have been published.
The titles listed below may be useful to engage reluctant readers, however many of the books are enjoyable regardless of whether the reader is particularly interested in the specific sport.
Next to each title is a general indication of whether the book is suitable for ES1,
Stage 1, 2 or 3. However, some kids may be confident reading above their Stage, and younger kids will enjoy having more difficult books read to them.
At the end is a link to a SMH article about sports-themed books engaging reluctant readers which you may find of interest!
As always, please feel free to comment on this post or on the FB link, and please share any sports books that your kids have enjoyed so other Belair families can enjoy them too!
“Tiny Timmy” series – Stage 1
This series is written by soccer legend Tim Cahill and author Julian Gray. The books are enjoyable for kids aged 7+ who love soccer. Comic style illustrations break up the text, and there is a fun cartoon style illustration when the pages are flicked. Timmy’s match reports could be used as an example to encourage kids to write their own!
“Football High” series by Patrick Loughlin – Stage 3
There are 4 books in this series about Nick Young – an aspiring soccer player who wins a scholarship to attend a specialist soccer high school. In the beginning, we learn that Nick lives with his Mum and her partner, and that his father is a professional soccer player in the UK. Nick and his Dad haven’t seen each other since he was a baby. At school, Nick is unable to hide who his father is, and feels the weight of expectation to perform.
These books include lots of soccer as well as exploring Nick’s struggles with academic grades and relationships with family and friends.
“Jasper Zammit” series by Johnny Warren and Deborah Abela – Stage 3
Jasper Zammit dreams of following in his grandfather’s footsteps and becoming a star soccer player. Over the three books, we follow the action on and off the field for Jasper and his team, the Rovers.
The books explore different relationships and have lots of soccer game action to keep readers interested. The anecdotes and tips from Johnny Warren at the start of each chapter will also appeal to soccer fans. Also, Jasper’s daydreams, where his soccer prowess shines in high stake games, are entertaining and will strike a chord with dedicated soccer players.
The second book in the series, The Striker, follows the story of Jasper’s friendship with Aamir – a new boy at school from Afghanistan. This is a heart-warming tale as it is through the boys’ love for soccer that they forge a friendship. This book provides interesting social commentary on racism. In the third book, The Finals, the Rovers must adjust to a new coach in the lead up to the finals.
“Billy Slater” series by Patrick Loughlin – Stage 2
This is an enjoyable series about Josh – a capable and keen footy player. Unfortunately, Josh’s nerves prevent him from playing his best footy on the field, and after missing an easy catch, Josh considers whether he should just quit. That’s when Josh receives some help and guidance from his idol – Billy Slater. This is a great series, with an encouraging introduction at the beginning of each book by Billy Slater.
“Matty’s Comeback” by Anita Heiss – Stage 2
The story opens with 10-year-old Matty singing the team song of the South Sydney Rabbitohs on the way to the game with is family. Matty is the self- appointed #1 fan of the Rabbitohs, and his room is a shrine to his favourite team. Matty is a talented player on his team – the South Eastern Seagulls – which has a good chance of making the finals this year. However, Matty suffers an injury which may mean he misses out on helping his team achieve victory.
Matty’s sister Nita provides interesting social commentary, and although she doesn’t share the same love for footy, Nita helps her brother in his time of need.
This is a great book for that explores friends, family and footy.
“Netball Gems” series by B Hellard & L Gibbs – Stage 1 & 2
Netball Gems is an eight-book series written by two experienced Australian netball players. The books follow the story of the Marrang Netball Club’s under 13’s team. Each book focuses on one of the players. The stories are easy to follow with problems that are resolved neatly at the end.
In this series, netball is the main character. The plot is straightforward and supports stories focusing on trianing and matches. Be aware that there is little explanation of why some characters do and say things that aren’t particularly nice. However keen netballers will appreciate the list of suggested training drills and tips on playing netball included at the end. There is also an explanation of the different team positions and rules that apply.
Ella & Olivia : Netball Fever by Yvette Poshoglian – ES1 and Stage 1
Fans of the Ella & Olivia series will enjoy this story about Netball. The story is simple and the ending a little predictable, but still fun all the same!
“The Kaboom Kid” by David Warner with J.V. McGee, J.S. Black. – Stages 2 & 3
This series is co-written by David Warner about Davey who loves to play cricket with his mates and his trusty bat, kaboom.
In the first book, “The Big Switch”, it is the start of the new school year and Davey and his teammates are all in class 6M together. Unfortunately, their teacher Mr Mudge does not share the boys’ enthusiasm for cricket. Davey has a new batting technique which he wants to perfect for his team’s upcoming match, but he needs to practise and Mr Mudge’s detentions keep getting in the way. Davey’s mate Sunil comes up with a creative way to ensure the boys can practise their cricket skills.
The 7th book in the series, The Test Match, has just been published. These books are well written and entertaining, and each book is written by a winning combination of a cricketer and an author!
“Pocket Rocket” Ellyse Perry – Stages 2 & 3
Ellyse Perry has played both soccer and cricket for Australia. In this series, we follow Ellyse as she starts high school and navigates school, sport and friends. The books are set in high school, however Stage 2 & 3 kids will find the books an easy read. The first story focuses on Ellyse’s determination to play on the school cricket team even though she is smaller and younger. Ellyse’s dedication to training, family support and commitment to her friends make her a great role model.
In the second book, Magic Feet, the cricket season has ended so it’s time for soccer!
Two more books in this series are due to be published in 2017.
“Somersaults and Dreams” series by Cate Shearwater – Stage 2 & 3
This series follows the journey of 13-year-old Ellie as she pursues her dream of becoming a world-class gymnast. In the first book, Making the Grade, Ellie has been awarded a scholarship to train at the London Gymnastics Academy. The second book, Rising Star, Ellie aims to qualify for the British Gymnastics Championships, and in the final book, Going for Gold, Ellie attends the national gymnastics training squad camp.
Friendships, competition, rivalries, perseverance, coach expectations and injury all feature in the series creating an engaging read. Kids will want the next book to find out what happens. Well written and recommended!
Reluctant readers get in the game with books about sport – article link
By Catherine Whittaker