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 Early Readers
    (2nd - 4th grade level)

  • The Capital Catch (Ballpark Mysteries Series)

    by David A. Kelly, illustrated by Mark Meyers

    A great early chapter book mystery series for young baseball fans. Each book is set in a different major league baseball park where Mike and Kate, 9-year-old super sleuths, uncover mysteries with grit and gumption, Encyclopedia Brown style. As Sunny, 8, says, “This is a very exciting series to read for kids who like baseball and even for kids who don't.” In The Capital Catch, the President of the United States calls on the kids to help his brother, a catcher for the Nationals, figure out who is stealing his equipment.

  • A Big Day for Baseball (Magic Tree House Series)

    by Mary Pope Osborne, illustrated by AG Ford

    With more than 50 books in the series, it's safe to say that kids really love the Magic Tree House books. In their latest adventure, Jack and Annie are given magical baseball hats by Morgan the librarian to make them expert ball players. When the Tree House whisks them back to 1947 to be batboys in a game, the siblings only have nine innings to figure out what makes this game so special. Pair the book with the Baseball Fact Tracker to answer all your (and Jack and Annie's) questions about the game.
    (On Sale: 8/15/17)

  • Mickey & Me (Baseball Card Adventure Series)

    by Dan Gutman

    This chapter book series by Dan Gutman is a more advanced version of the Magic Tree House series where the historical adventures are all baseball focused. Joe “Stosh” Stoshack discovers he can use old baseball cards to travel through time and find out the history behind his baseball heroes like Mickey Mantle, Jackie Robinson, Babe Ruth, Satchel Paige, and more. Jack, 9, says, “I highly recommend this book to baseball fans and action/adventure fans.”

  • Katie, Batter Up! (Cupcake Diaries Series)

    by Coco Simon

    Sadly, it’s harder to find sports books with girls as the main character. This is a great one that is part of the beloved Cupcake Diaries series. Katie struggles to find her extracurricular niche until she stumbles upon softball. The “batter” jokes are endless, and as Abigail, 8, says, “I couldn't get my head out of it.”

  • The Kid Who Only Hit Homers (Matt Christopher Sports Classics Series)

    by Matt Christopher

    This series has been around since the 1960s and is still loved by kids today. This book centers around Sylvester, a kid who loves baseball but is a terrible hitter — that is, until he meets a mystery man named George. “Then he hit a baseball out of the stadium, made his whole team happy, and felt happy inside,” shares Justin, 8. If your reader prefers football, hockey, basketball, lacrosse, or other sports, Matt Christopher has a plethora of other sports books to explore.

  • Stolen Bases (Jake Maddox Girl Sports Stories)

    by Jake Maddox, illustrated by Tuesday Mourning

    Eva and Becca can’t wait for summer so they can play softball every day. But they soon find themselves in the middle of a mystery when their equipment bag keeps going missing. A good story for kids who love sports with a bit of intrigue and important lessons about teamwork mixed in.

  • 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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