March Madness: 14 Terrific Books for Young Basketball Fans

by Tom Burns

Photo credit: commerceandculturestock/Getty Images

For elementary or middle school kids who love basketball, it’s hard to stay away from the TV or Internet during March Madness, the NCAA’s annual basketball tournament.

If you want to convince your kid to spend a little less time working on their brackets and a little more time brushing up on their reading, here are 14 books that should grab the interest of any young NBA hopeful.

  • I Have a Superpower

    by Stephen Curry, illustrated by Geneva Bowers

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    NBA Champion Stephen Curry draws from his experiences as an underdog to deliver an inspirational message for kids. He shows readers how they can use hard work and perseverance to overcome barriers to their goals. This basketball-themed book is perfect for encouraging children to dream big.
    (Ages 4 – 7)

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  • Basketball Town

    by Scott Rothman, illustrated by Darnell Johnson

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    Maxwell is obsessed with basketball, so he’s thrilled when he wakes up in an alternate universe where everyone plays b-ball all day, every day. He works on his skills and makes his way to the Championship game, where he and his teammates must present a united front to win. Basketball fans will enjoy the game-related lingo and action-packed story.
    (Ages 4 – 8)

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  • Pass the Ball, Mo!

    by David A. Adler, illustrated by Sam Ricks

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    Mo Jackson loves just about every sport out there, even if he’s rarely (or ever) MVP. In Book 3 of Mo’s series, he takes on basketball, in which passing proves to be a challenge when he’s so much shorter than the rest of his teammates. Determined as ever, Mo finds a way.
    (Ages 6 – 7)

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  • Basketball Belles

    by Sue Macy, illustrated by Matt Collins

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    This heart-pounding nonfiction title goes back in time to the beginning of women’s collegiate basketball through the eyes of Agnes Morley, who was raised on a cattle ranch in New Mexico and sent to Stanford University to “become a lady.” As a guard, Agnes led her team to the W against UC-Berkeley, kicking off a long future of women in basketball.
    (Ages 6 – 9)

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  • The Half-Court Hero

    by Mike Lupica

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    Eight-year-old twins Zach and Zoe are pros at multitasking: specifically, when it comes to solving mysteries and playing sports. In The Half-Court Hero, the dynamic duo can’t help but notice that someone is slowly and secretly restoring their summer league’s rundown court. Who could it be? And how will the team fare in playoffs?
    (Ages 6 – 9)

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  • Beyond the Game: LeBron James

    by Andrew Maraniss, illustrated by DeAndra Hodge

    Newly independent readers will love this series that spotlights exemplary athletes and their accomplishments on and off the court. From championships to activism, kids will learn about the causes that LeBron James champions and how he uses his position as an athlete and role model to improve the world. If you like this book, check out the other books in this series, including Beyond the Game: Maya Moore.
    (Ages 6 – 9)

    (On sale: 3/5/2024)

  • MVP #4: The Basketball Blowout

    by David A. Kelly, illustrated by Scott Brundage

    Available from:

    From the author of the Ballpark Mysteries comes another action-packed series with the MVPs, a group of five coed friends who team up for year-round contests. In the fourth title, the friends are raising money for their basketball tournament while also training. When they find out a peer needs the money more than the team does, how will they respond?
    (Ages 6 – 9)

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  • Mason Dixon: Basketball Disasters

    by Claudia Mills, illustrated by Guy Francis

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    Fourth-grader Mason is what some might call disaster-prone, so he’s not thrilled when his parents insist he join the basketball team — and he’s doubly un-thrilled when his dad volunteers to coach. Somehow, Mason isn’t even the worst player on this team of misfits, and soon they’re going up against Mason’s school bully, Dunk. Prepare to cheer hard for the home team.
    (Ages 7 – 10)

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  • Hoops: A Graphic Novel

    by Matt Tavares

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    New York Times bestselling author and illustrator Matt Tavares shares a heartfelt and inspiring story in his debut graphic novel. It’s about a girls’ basketball team in 1975 Indiana with no money, transportation, or jerseys. However, their grit and perseverance took them from one victory to the next. Based on a true story, this book offers a peek into the ongoing struggle for women’s rights and equality in sports.
    (Ages 8 – 12)

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  • Who Is the Man in the Air?: Michael Jordan

    by Gabe Soria and Who HQ, illustrated by Brittney Williams

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    Michael Jordan is undisputedly the GOAT (Greatest of All Time) of basketball. His performance during the 1997 NBA finals stands out as an example of his unfailing determination. This action-packed graphic novel retells the game’s events and how Michael Jordan refused to let a mysterious illness keep him from competing. Full-color illustrations and a fast-paced narrative make it a must-read for every basketball fan.
    (Ages 8 – 12)

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  • Who Was Kobe Bryant?

    by Ellen Labrecque and Who HQ, illustrated by Gregory Copeland

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    Young basketball fans can learn about Kobe Bryant, his legacy, awards, and championship moments in this biography. From his draft into the NBA and through 20 seasons with the Lakers, readers will discover how Kobe became a superstar. Easy-to-read text and plenty of illustrations make this an excellent choice for young readers wanting to learn about this legendary player.
    (Ages 8 – 12)

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  • True Legend

    by Mike Lupica

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    Bestselling sportswriter Lupica introduces us to 15-year-old Drew "True" Robinson, a basketball prodigy and NBA prospect who has let his success go to his head. But when he befriends an angry former basketball star on a local playground, True begins to realize the value of humility and teamwork. A compelling novel filled with dynamic sports sequences that young basketball fans will love.
    (Ages 10+)

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  • Strong Inside

    by Andrew Maraniss

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    Perry Wallace may not have intended to become a civil rights trailblazer, but that’s what happened when he accepted an offer to play college basketball at Vanderbilt University and personally desegregate the Southeastern Conference. Author Andrew Maraniss doesn’t shy away from presenting the realities that Perry faced at Vanderbilt, making this biography educational and inspiring in more ways than one. For teen and young adult readers, check out Maraniss’ newest, Games of Deception.
    (Ages 10+)

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  • The Sixth Man (The Triple Threat 2)

    by John Feinstein

    Available from:

    Book two of The Triple Threat series finds Alex Meyer optimistic about the team’s prospects this season. There’s a new kid on the team, Max Bellotti, and he’s good. Like, really good. But Alex seems to be the only one excited to welcome Max: for one, he’s a freshman stealing the spotlight; for two, he’s openly gay. Tensions on the team escalate to school-board controversy in this socially conscious read that still packs plenty of on-court action.
    (Ages 10+)

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Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in 2015 and updated in 2024.