Books that reflect the day-to-day interests of young readers are a wonderful way to get them engaged and enthusiastic about books. In the last few years there has been a huge growth in the number of sports-themed books coming out for all ages, and when the weather keeps active kids inside – what better way to keep them happy than handing over a story full of the trials, tribulations, and nail-biting thrills of the sports field.
Below, we have collated a broad list of books that cover all ages, and a multitude of sports – from basketball, cricket, AFL, netball and surfing. This list is guaranteed to have something for any sport nut!
Specky Magee by Felice Arena
imon Magee is twelve and mad about Aussie Rules. He’s even got a nickname – ‘Specky’ – because he takes such spectacular marks. But his family hates footy… So why is there a baby photo of him dressed in footy gear? Determined to find out the truth, Specky uncovers more than he ever bargained for. (Ages 9+)
Play Like a Girl: Bring It On! by Jo Stanley
Written by radio personality Jo Stanley with humour and fun, Play Like A Girl weaves the ordinary world of young girls with the thrill and excitement of AFL. Each book focusses on one girl and her experiences playing footy and her general life of friends, school, hanging out at the shops, and being a good sport. The football, essentially, is the scaffolding of the books, but they’ll be relatable to all readers, regardless of whether or not they’re footy mad (or just joining in the zeitgeist). (Ages 9+)
Game Day: Patty Hits the Courts by Patty Mills
A fantastic and fun basketball series by Australian Olympian and NBA star Patty Mills that will entertain young readers, inspire kids to achieve their goals through sport, and showcase Patty’s pride in his Indigenous heritage. (Ages 7+)
Ellyse Perry: Pocket Rocket by Ellyse Perry
All Ellyse wants to do is play sport. Cricket, soccer, touch footy, athletics – you name it! But now that she’s in high school, playing sport and having fun doesn’t seem so simple. For starters, there’s more homework, and a mix-up with her electives has her stuck with debating! Ugh. Then her friends, Jazz and Charlie, don’t invite her when they go rollerskating. To top it off, mean Ms Parkes won’t let her on the school cricket team because she thinks Ellyse is too small. Could life be more unfair? (Ages 8+)
Netball Gems by Bernadette Hellard and Lisa Gibbs
It’s their first season together and the Marrang Under 13s team is finding its way. All the girls have a favourite position and dream of playing for the Australian Diamonds. But before that dream can become a reality, there are skills to learn, nerves to overcome, friendships to make, matches to play and so much fun to be had! (Ages 9+)
Sporty Kids Series by Felice Arena
First, in its subject matter – the series covers the most-loved sports in this country, and features girls as well as boys as the main characters. And secondly, in the just-right text for a reader starting chapter books, who still loves the reassurance of a few illustrations, larger font and manageable sentences. (Ages 5+)
Royal Academy of Sports for Girls: High Flyers by Laura Sieveking
Being accepted into the Royal Academy of Sport for Girls was all Abigail Rogers had ever wished for. But before her feet can touch the ground, the gymnasts are thrown into their first competition to determine who will make up the Academy team for State Prelims. The pressure is on! Training is harder than ever, and with rivalry growing among the students, Abby begins to doubt if she is, in fact, Academy material.
You Choose AFL: Footy Fever by George Ivanoff
Aussie Rules superstar or total footy flop! A choose-your-own-adventure with a sports twist!
You’re a huge Aussie Rules fan with dreams of playing for your favourite team. But along the way to AFL stardom there are many obstacles to overcome. Footy-busting ninjas are out to stop you, grumbling old men are plotting the demise of the game and there are mascots on the loose . . .
Will you play your way to AFL glory, or will it be a speccy-tacular disaster? (Ages 8+)
Surf Riders Club: Ava’s Big Move by Mary Van Reyk
Meet five very different girls with one thing in common: they’ve caught the surfing bug!
Ava has grown up in a big city. But everything changes when her parents decide on a sea change – they’re moving to the small town of Beachcrest to open a cafe. Ava will be starting high school that year, and now she has to say goodbye to her life in the city. Her new school is very different and Ava misses her friends. When she hears that surfing is going to be offered as a sport for the first time, Ava uses her snowboard skills to give it a try. Not everyone thinks she can become a surfer but Ava is determined to prove them wrong, and she’s making new friends along the way! (Ages 9+)
Kaboom Kid: The Big Switch by David Warner
Meet Little Davey Warner. He lives in Sandhill Flats with his mum and dad and his brother Steve – and his stinky dog Max. Davey and his schoolmates –even Max – are MAD for cricket. All they want to do is play … but there’s always something getting in their way. In this first book in the series, Davey and his friends have a big game coming up against Shimmer Bay, their arch rivals in the local comp. They need to practise, and spend all their free time at school – in the morning and at lunchtime – making sure they’ll be ready. (Ages 7+)
Collected Diaries of a Sporting Superhero by Shamini Flint
Marcus is a maths whiz who is not good at sport. His dad is a self-help author who thinks Marcus can achieve anything he sets his mind to… with hilarious results. In illustrated diary format, Marcus’s gentle, satiric humour and comic drawings will have readers laughing out loud while learning a surprising amount about sport. (Ages 7+)
Tiny Timmy: Soccer Superstar by Tim Cahill
Tim tries out for his school team but keeps getting pushed off the ball and doesn’t make the side. The coach tells him he’s just not big enough to cut it with the other kids. Devastated, Tim tries some unconventional ways to make himself taller with not-very-successful but hilarious results! He finds the best thing to do is practise hard with his brothers and friends. Confronted with a tricky situation, Tim comes to realise that although he isnt as big and tall as the other kids, he can jump really high. And because hes been practising so much, he has better skills and shooting than the other kids.
Will it be enough to earn him a place in the team? (Ages 6+)