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March Madness: 8 Terrific Books for Young Basketball Fans

by Tom Burns

Books for Young Basketball Fans
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 six books that should grab the interest of any young NBA hopeful.

  • 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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  • MVP #4: The Basketball Blowout

    by David A. Kelly, illustrated by Scott Brundage

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    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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  • 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

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    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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