Growing Reader

Tween

11 Baseball Books Kids Say
Are Home Runs

by Kari Ness Riedel

Photo credit: David Roth, The Image Bank/Getty Images

For our family, the longer days of spring and summer are synonymous with baseball. Many hours are spent cheering at little league games, playing catch in the front yard, and staying up way past bedtime to see if the Giants are on their way to another World Series victory.

When my baseball enthusiast son struggled to find books he really wanted to read, I found tapping into his love of the game was a home run.

Here are top picks for fiction books involving baseball recommended by my son and other young readers on Bookopolis, a kid-friendly social network and book discovery tool I created for students ages 7 – 13.

  • Baseball Books for Older Readers
    (4th - 8th grade level)

  • Heat

    by Mike Lupica

    Twelve-year-old little league pitcher, Michael, throws serious heat on the field but has had many fires to contend with at home ever since his father died after their family escaped from Cuba. Tyler, 11, recommends it for middle schoolers, “Thrilling book...very inspirational and descriptive.” This is one of many bestselling sports fiction reads by professional sportswriter Mike Lupica. He has several other books focused on baseball as well as football and basketball that are perfect for fans of realistic sports drama.

  • The Girl Who Threw Butterflies

    by Mick Cochrane

    Molly Williams, an eighth grader with a gifted knuckleball, just wants to play ball. Especially since pitching makes her feel closer to her dad who just died in a car accident. This is a story of a young girl redefining herself after a tragedy and how her love of the game aids in that. Ella, 9, recommends this book, “because it’s touching and heartwarming” and perfect for fans of baseball.

  • Soar

    by Joan Bauer

    In this book by Newbery Honor-winner and tween favorite, Joan Bauer, we meet Jeremiah, a huge baseball fan who dreams of going pro. But those dreams clash with reality when he learns that he is unable to play due to a physical problem. When Jeremiah moves to a new town, he puts his love of baseball into action as a coach and makes a dramatic impact on his new community. A story of friendship and tragedy that is a good reminder of how sports and sports leaders can bring out the best in everyone.

  • Baseball Great (Baseball Great Series)

    by Tim Green

    The first book in a fantastic sports adventure series centered around 12-year-old Josh, the star of his school baseball team. His skills earn him a place on a more competitive travel team where he experiences the pressures placed on young athletes to get stronger and uncovers a dangerous secret about his new coach. “Great book with many exciting, surprising events that make you want to keep reading,” says Greg, 10. Tim Green uses humor and relatable middle school dramas to hook readers. Football and basketball fans should check out his other loved series for young readers.

  • The Contract

    by Derek Jeter with Paul Mantell

    Benson, 11, says, “It is a great book about one of the best baseball players that has ever lived.” This fictional series is co-written by Derek Jeter and draws on his real childhood experiences. In this book, third-grade Derek dreams of being a shortstop for the Yankees but must deal with his current reality like his parents’ expectations of his grades and the challenges of not always getting to play the position you want in little league. An inspiring story with good life lessons about setting goals and working hard.

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