Get book recommendations, tips & advice, and more tailored to your child's age.

Thank You!

The perfect book picks are on their way.

You're all set!

Pre-K

Growing Reader

Tween

Inspiring Children’s Books Starring Female Athletes

by Lindsay Barrett

kids-books-female-athletes

As a parent of five kids, I’m constantly looking for outlets for everyone’s energy. Sports are a big part of that — both the organized kind and the “Go outside and play something… NOW” kind. With three boys and two girls in our family who love playing every sport imaginable, I want my kids to know that gender isn’t a limitation in athletics. Books about women and girls in sports have been great conversation starters about perseverance, overcoming bias, team play, and the qualities that make a worthy role model. Check out some of our family’s favorite books starring female athletes.

  • Girl Running: Bobbi Gibb and the Boston Marathon

    by Annette Bay Pimentel, illustrated by Micha Archer

    Also available from:

    This story really speaks to kids who are working on understanding the complexities of fairness. (It also gives readers some insight into the intensity of marathon training!) Rules don’t stop Bobbi Gibb and her itch to run the Boston Marathon. She trains hard, wears boys running shoes—since no one makes women’s ones—and jumps into the race disguised as a man. Eventually, other runners convince her to shed her hooded sweatshirt and show the world what she can do. Even though the 1966 race officials wouldn’t recognize her as a participant, young readers definitely see her as a winner.

    Also available from:
  • Women in Sports

    by Rachel Ignotofsky

    Also available from:

    This board book isn’t just for babies. Older kids (and sports-loving parents) will enjoy reading this to little ones and will learn something, too. The women profiled go beyond the usual sports celebs; the impressive list includes a roller derby champ, dog musher, Ping-Pong player, wheelchair racer, and many more. Plus, the unique doodle-filled artwork is bursting with happy vibes. This is on our list of go-to gifts for new baby girls.

    Also available from:
  • Long-Armed Ludy and the First Women's Olympics

    by Jean L. S. Patrick, illustrated by Adam Gustavson

    Also available from:

    Lucile “Ludy” Godbold’s powerful strength, long, lean limbs, and relentless work ethic helped her become an Olympic shot put champion. The text’s southern twang and catchy rhythm make for a fun read-aloud. Fair warning, though—once they hear Ludy’s story, expect kids to turn anything spherical into a make-shift shot put as they try to follow in her (long) footsteps.

    Also available from:
  • Sisters and Champions: The True Story of Venus and Serena Williams

    by Howard Bryant, illustrated by Floyd Cooper

    Also available from:

    The Williams sisters’ story resonates with children. When they dreamed of becoming tennis stars, Venus and Serena didn’t let others’ biases about their skin color or their tough Compton neighborhood get them down. Their father never stopped believing that they’d grow up to be champions. They held tight to their sisterly devotion even when they became competitors. This title is essential reading to introduce kids to this pair of iconic female athletes.

    Also available from:
  • How to Solve a Problem: The Rise (and Falls) of a Rock-Climbing Champion

    by Ashima Shiraishi, illustrated by Yao Xiao

    Also available from:

    Regardless of whether kids have ever tried rock climbing, this autobiography of climbing phenom Ashima Shiraishi impresses young readers with her mental and physical toughness. Ashima Shiraishi began climbing at age 6 and rose to international success in her early teens. The unique art and text get kids thinking about perseverance and (literally) getting back up after each fall.

    Also available from:
  • The Heart of the Storm: A Biography of Sue Bird

    by Sharon Mentyka, illustrated by Ellen Rooney

    Also available from:

    This picture book biography follows celebrated basketball player Sue Bird from a shy kid to being one of the greatest and most inspirational players in the history of the WNBA. By spotlighting Sue's struggles to hone her skills as a team player, readers also see how that hard work helped create a leader both on and off the court.

    Also available from:
  • Not Playing by the Rules: 21 Female Athletes Who Changed Sports

    by Lesa Cline-Ransome

    Also available from:

    My grandmother, star of her high school basketball and field hockey teams and lifelong advocate for girls’ sports, would have adored reading this book with kids. This collection of mini-bios celebrates women who made a difference in sports from the late 1800s to the present day. It contains many readable and compelling stories, including field hockey, baseball, swimming, running, soccer, and gymnastics. The full-page photos with quotes from each athlete do an excellent job of grabbing kids’ attention, too.

    Also available from:
  • Who Is Chloe Kim?

    by Stefanie Loh and Who HQ, illustrated by Manuel Gutierrez

    Also available from:

    My elementary school kids love the Who HQ Now series for its readability and high-interest topics, and this story of the youngest woman to win a snowboarding Olympic gold medal was a tremendous hit. (Kim was also the first woman to land back-to-back 1080s in a competition, which my second-grader assures me is exceptionally cool.) The teacher in me loves how this book helps kids learn more about nonfiction writing techniques, too. From the stories of Chloe’s parents’ immigration from Korea, how she got started snowboarding, and her rise to fame to explanations of how the sport works, there are many examples of how informational writing should sound.

    Also available from:
  • Trailblazers: Simone Biles

    by Sally J. Morgan

    Also available from:

    This series is excellent for seasoned chapter book readers who are ready for more content but want their nonfiction reading delivered in short, high-interest sections. Simone’s inspiring story is sprinkled with plenty of relatable anecdotes and background information—perfect for hooking kids on both reading and gymnastics!

    Also available from:
  • Roller Girl

    by Victoria Jamieson

    Also available from:

    Fifth-grader Astrid isn’t a professional athlete, or even a real-life one, but that doesn’t make her any less awesome as a heroine. When Astrid watches a roller derby, the fierce women skaters inspire her to sign up for skate camp. The only problem is, her best friend Nicole doesn’t want to join her. This graphic novel does a fantastic job exploring the interplay between sports, relationships with friends, and developing one’s own identity.

    Also available from:
  • Fast Pitch

    by Nic Stone

    Also available from:

    This book got rave reviews from my baseball-obsessed ten-year-old, who read it cover-to-cover in one day. Shenice is the captain of her fast-pitch softball team, and the sport is in her blood; she comes from a long line of ballplayers. When she hears an upsetting story from an elderly relative about her great-grandfather being unfairly kicked out of the Negro League, she struggles to stay focused on the game. This novel strikes the perfect balance between modern-day sports drama and sports history.

    Also available from: