Summer Reading for Athletes of Every Age

photo of two boys laying in grass with books and a soccer ball

Schools out for the summer and beaches, BBQs, sports, and pools are in. But don’t count out the easy energy and recharging respite a little summer reading can add to your routine. To help tap into some relaxation reading time, we put together a quick list of books for you and your sports family to dive into all summer long. Whether you enjoy stories of competition, determination, or underdogs rising to the top, these sport-centered books will capture the attention of sports lovers everywhere.


For The Young Adult Athlete

  • Running Full Tilt – Two brothers, Caleb and Leo, have a complicated relationship they are forced to confront as they move across the country with their family due to Caleb’s violent outbursts. As Leo tries to settle into a new school, he joins the cross-country team and discovers his talent for racing and endurance for distance. But his newfound love for running is marred by Leo’s uncontrollable nature. Leo can’t keep running away from his problems. But, with a little help from new friends, he can appreciate his worth as a brother and his own capacity for growth, both on and off the field.
  • Women In Sports 50 Fearless Athletes Who Played to Win Women in Sports highlights the achievements and stories of fifty notable women athletes from the 1800s to today, including trailblazers, Olympians, and record-breakers in more than forty sports.
  • The Blacktop Series – This series contains four short novels, each featuring a different member of a basketball team in Oakland, CA. These novellas are packed with action, drama and street smart attitudes and are perfect for young adult readers that love smart, realistic fiction.
  • Tumbling – Featuring stories from five Olympic gymnasts, this book offers a behind the scene look at the challenges women gymnasts face from gymnastic politics to the fiercely competitive nature of this sport and everything in between, this is a page-turner you won’t be able to put down.


For The Little Athletes

  • Little Basketball (Little Sports) – Now even the smallest of fans can enjoy a book about their favorite sport. Rhyming riddles accompanied by colorful artwork help introduce the game’s simplest, most basic elements.
  • So You Want To Be A Pro?  – A must-read for any young athlete who dreams of going pro, this Written by former pro athlete Nate Daniels, kids will learn about the importance of hard work and dedication not just in becoming a professional athlete, but in any area of their lives.
  • How to Win the World Cup in Pajamas – This picture book is part of the Grow Grit series to help instill confidence and a strong mind in children.
  • Takedown – Mikayla has always wrestled with her brothers; it’s just what she does. So she’s surprised when people object to her joining the boys’ wrestling team. But Mikayla won’t let anyone or anything stop her from pursuing the sport she loves and winning while she’s at it.
  • HeatMichael Arroyo has a pitching arm that throws serious heat along with aspirations of leading his team all the way to the Little League World Series. But his firepower is nothing compared to the heat Michael faces in his day-to-day life as he tries to hide the fact that just after escaping Cuba, his father died leaving him and his brother orphans and alone in America. To avoid being sent back to Cuba, Michael and his brother Carlos must try to navigate their way through life and achieve their goals without anyone knowing their story.


For The Adult Athletes

  • The Cactus League: A Novel – Jason Goodyear is the star outfielder for the Los Angeles Lions, stationed with the rest of his team in the punishingly hot Arizona desert for their annual spring training. Handsome, famous, and talented, Goodyear is nonetheless coming apart at the seams. And the coaches, writers, wives, girlfriends, petty criminals, and diehard fans following his every move are eager to find out why―as they hide secrets of their own. Named a Best Book of 2020 by NPR and Lit Hub. A Los Angeles Times Bestseller. A New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice
  • Sidelined: Sports, Culture, and Being a Woman in America – Julie DiCaro examines what America can do to give women a fair and competitive playing field in sports and beyond. Rich with candid interviews, personal anecdotes, detailed research, DiCaro covers everything from sexism in sports and professional women’s teams fighting for equal pay and treatment. Sidelined tackles tough issues and will illuminate the ways sports present a microcosm of life as a woman in America—and the power in fighting back.
  • A Spectacular Leap: Black Women Athletes in Twentieth-Century America – Jennifer Lansbury follows the emergence of black women athletes from the African American community; their confrontations with contemporary attitudes of race, class, and gender; and their encounters with the civil rights movement. Uncovering the various strategies the athletes use to beat back stereotypes, Lansbury explores the fullness of African American women’s relationship with sport in the twentieth century. 
  • Beauties: Hockey’s Greatest Untold Stories – Fifty-seven incredible stories from hockey’s biggest names, greatest characters and unsung heroes Essential reading for every fan, Beauties is a collection of the best stories that players tell each other

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