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Find more Top 10 Sports Books for Youth
Our list of the year’s best sports books—this one drawn from books reviewed in Booklist from September 15, 2013, to August 2014—is always wide-reaching. This one shows strong performances for both graphic novels and books about soccer. For the latter, we credit the World Cup.
All Star. By Jesse Lonergan. Illus. by the author. 2014. NBM/ComicsLit, paper, $13.99 (9781561638352). Gr. 9–12.
This powerful graphic novel uses colorless illustrations to convey the emotion of Carl Carter, a star baseball player whose moral code is challenged after he robs a store with a friend—and only the friend gets suspended.
The Crossover. By Kwame Alexander. 2014. Houghton, $16.99 (9780544107717). Gr. 6–12.
Alexander mashes concrete poetry, hip-hop, and jazz to tell the story of the Bell twins, stars of the basketball team—that is, until a new girl disrupts their balance both on and off the court.
Down. Set. Fight!
By Chad Bowers and Chris Sims. Illus. by Scott Kowalchuk. 2014. Oni, paper, $19.99 (9781620101162). Gr. 9–12.
Chuck Fairlane was a football star before he clocked a beloved mascot in the kisser. Now he’s a high-school coach being attacked by mascots left and right. A weird—and weirdly heartfelt—graphic novel.
Foul Trouble. By John Feinstein. 2013. Knopf, $16.99 (9780375869648). Gr. 7–10.
What seems like a clear path to the NBA for Terrell is fraught with scouts, agents, and NCAA officials, each with his own agenda. Feinstein’s realistic take on this phenomenon is both exciting and cautionary.
Fourth Down and Inches: Concussions and Football’s Make-or-Break Moment. By Carla Killough McClafferty. 2013. illus. Carolrhoda, $20.95 (9781467710671). Gr. 8–12.
The NFL concussion controversy is in sudden-death overtime, and McClafferty’s look at the past, present, and future of gridiron punishment is an eye-opener about “no pain, no gain” culture.
Muckers. By Sandra Neil Wallace. 2013. Knopf, $16.99 (9780375867545); lib. ed., $19.99 (9780375967542). Gr. 9–12.
A dwindling, post-WWII Arizona town has one hope: that Red O’Sullivan will follow in his dead brother’s footsteps and take the football team all the way. An atmospheric tale about tough-as-nails scrabblers.
So, You Want to Work in Sports? The Ultimate Guide to Exploring the Sports Industry. By Joanne Mattern. 2014. illus. Aladdin/Beyond Words, $18.99 (9781582704494). Gr. 4–8.
This unusually insightful career guide breaks down the many professional paths (agents, broadcasters, etc.) and offers up helpful information on responsibilities, salaries, and expectations.
The Soccer Fence: A Story of Friendship, Hope, and Apartheid in South Africa. By Phil Bildner. Illus. by Jesse Joshua Watson. 2014. Putnam, $16.99 (9780399247903). Gr. 1–3.
This affecting book follows a young black boy in South Africa, ignored by white children playing soccer, until he is in his late teens, when the South African team at last plays with an integrated squad.
Soccer Star. By Mina Javaherbin. Illus. by Renato Alarcão. 2014. Candlewick, $16.99 (9780763660567). K–Gr. 3.
This evocative picture book, brought to beautiful life by Alarcão, introduces a team of poverty-stricken Brazilian children, each of whom still dreams of great soccer success.
Swagger. By Carl Deuker. 2013. Houghton, $17.99 (9780547974590). Gr. 7–10.
Deuker’s sports novel features a textured cast of parents, coaches, and teens in a story centering on high-school basketballer Jonas, who struggles between winning a scholarship or telling a hard truth.
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