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Summer Reading: Sports Fiction
Great suggestions of books you can read over the summer.
Fenway Fever by John H. RitterHappy 100th Birthday, Fenway Park! "Stats" Pagano may have been born with a heart defect, but he lives for three things: his family's hot dog stand right outside fabled Fenway Park, his beloved Red Sox, and any baseball statistic imaginable. When the family can no longer make ends meet with the hot dog stand, life becomes worrisome for Stats. Then the Sox go on a long losing streak and the team's ace pitcher--and Stats's idol--becomes convinced the famed Curse of the Bambino has returned. Stats just has to help . . . but how? As the Sox faithful sour on their team, Stats forms a plan that ultimately unifies an entire city and proves that true loyalty has a magic all its own. In honor of Fenway Park's 100th birthday, baseball novelist John H. Ritter delivers an inspiring tale for the sports fan in each of us, regardless of team allegiance.
Publication Date: 2012-04-12
Football Champ by Tim GreenWhen Troy White proved his remarkable "football genius" to the Atlanta Falcons, they brought him on board as a team consultant. Now, thanks to Troy's ability to predict winning plays, the Falcons are pulling in victories. Troy loves his starring role behind the scenes and the thrill of having NFL star linebacker Seth Halloway (who's dating Troy's mom) to coach his own Duluth Tigers team on their way to a state championship. Then Troy's perfect world comes crashing down. Reporter Brent Peele is out to smear as much mud on the Falcons as he can, and that means going after Troy. The vicious media storm that descends on the football genius threatens not only his job with the Falcons and the Tigers' run at a championship but his mother's career--and Seth's--as well. Together with his best friends, loyal Nathan and feisty Tate, Troy sets out to unmask the dishonest Peele--and save Seth's reputation--no matter what the risk. With his signature blend of thrilling action and insider knowledge, Tim Green shows Troy, hero of the New York Times bestselling Football Genius, in a new and riveting adventure.
Publication Date: 2009-06-30
Kid Owner by Tim GreenFrom New York Times bestselling author and former NFL player Tim Green comes a riveting stand-alone football novel about being a leader and finding your inner strength. Perfect for fans of Mike Lupica. When Ryan's estranged father unexpectedly dies, Ryan learns that he has inherited the Dallas Cowboys football team. With his new role as owner of this NFL team, Ryan has high hopes that he can be more than just a middle school misfit. Maybe he can even get off the bench and into the starting lineup of his own football team. With the help of his friends Jackson and Izzy, Ryan takes advantage of his newfound stardom. He convinces his coach to use a tricky passing offense that plays to Ryan's strengths. But just when things are looking up, Ryan's nasty stepmother makes a legal play to make her own son the Cowboys' kid owner. With drama heating up both on and off the field, Ryan quickly realizes he may lose much more than just the Dallas Cowboys.
Publication Date: 2015-09-29
Million-Dollar Throw by Mike Lupica#1 New York Times bestseller Mike Lupica asks the question: If a million dollars was at stake, could you make the throw? Nate Brodie is nicknamed “Brady” not only for his arm, but also because he’s the biggest Tom Brady fan. He’s even saved up to buy an autographed football. And when he does, he wins the chance for something he’s never dreamed of—to throw a pass through a target at a Patriots game for one million dollars. Nate should be excited. But things have been tough lately. His dad lost his job and his family is losing their home. It’s no secret that a million dollars would go a long way. So all Nate feels is pressure, and just when he needs it most, his golden arm begins to fail him. Even worse, his best friend Abby is going blind, slowly losing her ability to do the one thing she loves most—paint. Yet Abby never complains, and she is Nate’s inspiration. He knows she’ll be there when he makes the throw of a lifetime. Mike Lupica’s latest sports novel is also his most heartwarming. “Lupica's football action engages, and his delineation of the athlete's thought process and emotional highs and lows of competition feels visceral and real.” –Kirkus Reviews “Lupica explores the themes of believing in yourself and handling pressure. Teens who love sports fiction . . . will find this book a rapid, enjoyable read.” –VOYA “Lupica injects plenty of suspenseful sports action into the plot and creates a cast of uniformly likable characters whose faith in teamwork and in each other ultimately earns handsome rewards for all. A natural for graduates of Matt Christopher's sports stories.” –Booklist
Publication Date: 2009-11-03
Outside Shot by Fred BowenEighth-grader Richie Mallon has always known he was a shooter, but will his amazing shooting talent be enough to keep him on the team? Outside Shot tells the story of eighth-grade basketball player Richie Mallon, who is known as ?the shooter,? the one on the team who scores most of the baskets. He has practiced every day at his driveway hoop, perfecting his technique. Richie never plays any other roles on the court; he lets his teammates do the assisting and rebounding. Richie makes the team under a tough new coach, but he?s not a starter. Then when his shooting skills go into a slump, he must find a way to become a more well-rounded player. Author Fred Bowen continues his Sports Story Series with full court, play-by-play action that?s sure to keep readers on the edge of their seats!
Publication Date: 2017-03-01
Baseball Genius by Tim Green; Derek JeterAn average kid with an above average talent for predicting baseball pitches tries to help his favorite player out of a slump in this entertaining novel from bestselling authors Tim Green and Derek Jeter. Jalen DeLuca loves baseball. Unfortunately his dad can't afford to keep him on the travel team. His dad runs a diner and makes enough to cover the bills, but there isn't enough to cover any extras. So Jalen decides to take matters into his own hands and he sneaks into the home of the New York Yankee's star second baseman, James Yager, and steals a couple of balls from his personal batting cage. He knows that if he can sell them, he'll be able to keep himself on the team. But like the best-laid plans--or in this case the worst!--Jalen's scheme goes wrong when Yager catches him. But Jalen has a secret: his baseball genius. He can analyze and predict almost exactly what a pitcher is going to do with his next pitch. He can't quite explain how he knows, he just knows. And after proving to Yager that he really can do this, using a televised game and predicting pitch after pitch with perfect accuracy, the two agree to a deal. Jalen will help Yager out of his batting slump and Yager won't press charges. However, when he begins to suspect that the team's general manager has his own agenda, Jalen's going to need his friends and his unusual baseball talent to save not only Yager's career, but his own good name.
Publication Date: 2017-03-07
The Crossover by Kwame Alexander2015 Newbery Medal Winner
2015 Coretta Scott King Honor Award Winner
"With a bolt of lightning on my kicks . . .The court is SIZZLING. My sweat is DRIZZLING. Stop all that quivering. Cuz tonight I'm delivering," announces dread-locked, 12-year old Josh Bell. He and his twin brother Jordan are awesome on the court. But Josh has more than basketball in his blood, he's got mad beats, too, that tell his family's story in verse, in this fast and furious middle grade novel of family and brotherhood from Kwame Alexander (He Said, She Said 2013).
Josh and Jordan must come to grips with growing up on and off the court to realize breaking the rules comes at a terrible price, as their story's heart-stopping climax proves a game-changer for the entire family.
Publication Date: 2014-03-18
The Desperado Who Stole Baseball by John H. RitterDillontown was built upon a gold mine. Yet for the villagers, life is about something even more valuable: baseball. Home to the Dillontown Nine, they would give anything to join the ranks of professional ballplayers?even their gold. Yet to make it, they will need to defeat the world champion Chicago White Stockings?and their crooked owner, willing to wager anything for the mine, and willing to do anything to avoid losing. Fortunately, Dillontown is home to two boys who know a little something about winning. One is young Jack Dillon, nephew to Dillontown founder Long John Dillon. The other? A boy on the run, in need of a second chance: none other than Billy the Kid. One of the fi nest storytellers of our time, John H. Ritter brings the Old West to life in this prequel to his breakout success, The Boy Who Saved Baseball.
Publication Date: 2009-03-05
Soar by Joan BauerJeremiah is the world's biggest baseball fan. He really loves baseball and he knows just about everything there is to know about his favorite sport. So when he's told he can't play baseball following an operation on his heart, Jeremiah decides he'll do the next best thing and become a coach. Hillcrest, where Jeremiah and his father Walt have just moved, is a town known for its championship baseball team. But Jeremiah finds the town caught up in a scandal and about ready to give up on baseball. It's up to Jeremiah and his can-do spirit to get the town - and the team - back in the game. Full of humor, heart, and baseball lore, Soar is Joan Bauer at her best. Praise for Soar: 'Jeremiah's voice is perfect: plucky, vulnerable, pragmatic, smart, and immensely endearing. Bauer masterfully manages the various plotlines . . . An outstanding, tender exploration of courage and the true nature of heroism and, for good measure, a fine homage to America's game, as well.' Kirkus, starred review 'Bauer's latest feel-good novel is distinguished by a largehearted warmth, its able characterizations, a page-turning plot, and winning humor.' Booklist, starred review 'Jeremiah's enthusiasm for baseball is infectious, and he plays a major role in rebuilding and coaching a team at the middle school while lifting the sagging spirits of community members . . . Readers will feel that Jeremiah's victories are well earned and deserved.' Publishers Weekly
Publication Date: 2016-01-05
Becoming Kareem by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar; Raymond ObstfeldA NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER! The first memoir for young readers by sports legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. At one time, Lew Alcindor was just another kid from New York City with all the usual problems: He struggled with fitting in, with pleasing a strict father, and with overcoming shyness that made him feel socially awkward. But with a talent for basketball, and an unmatched team of supporters, Lew Alcindor was able to transform and to become Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. From a childhood made difficult by racism and prejudice to a record-smashing career on the basketball court as an adult, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's life was packed with "coaches" who taught him right from wrong and led him on the path to greatness. His parents, coaches Jack Donahue and John Wooden, Muhammad Ali, Bruce Lee, and many others played important roles in Abdul-Jabbar's life and sparked him to become an activist for social change and advancement. The inspiration from those around him, and his drive to find his own path in life, are highlighted in this personal and awe-inspiring journey. Written especially for young readers, Becoming Kareem chronicles how Kareem Abdul-Jabbar become the icon and legend he is today, both on and off the court.
Publication Date: 2017-11-21
Baseball Crazy by Nancy Mercado (Editor)How magical is the experience of attending your very first baseball game and hearing the crack of the bat resound throughout the stadium? What's more terrifying than being out in left field praying the ball doesn't come your way? Who better are the friends you make while playing out on that diamond? Here are ten fictional stories that celebrate all aspects of the game of baseball. Baseball Crazy is a diverse collection that will hit a home run with all fans of the sport, from the most loyal old-timers to the newest rookies. Batter up! Stories by: Paul Acampora Joseph Bruchac Sue Corbett Ron Koertge Frank Portman David Rice John H. Ritter Charles R. Smith Jr. Jerry Spinelli Maria Testa
Publication Date: 2009-02-05
Football Genius by Tim GreenNew York Times bestselling author and former NFL player Tim Green scores a touchdown with this exhilarating and action-packed story about an ordinary boy who becomes a hero you can really root for. Perfect for fans of Mike Lupica. Twelve-year-old Troy White has a phenomenal gift: He can predict football plays before they even happen. Any position. Any player. Any team. When Troy's single mom gets a job working for the Atlanta Falcons, Troy sees this as an opportunity to show what he can do. But first he has to get to the Falcons--and with tight security and a notoriously mean coach, even his mom's field passes aren't much help. Then Troy and his best friends devise a plan to get the attention of star linebacker Seth Halloway. With Seth's playing and Troy's genius, the Falcons could be unstoppable if they'll only listen. But if he can't convince Seth he's telling the truth, the Falcons' championship and his mom's job are at risk.
Publication Date: 2007-07-03
Game Change by Joseph MonningerSeventeen-year-old Zeb Holloway is happy to work in his uncle's auto repair shop and cruise through school without much effort. He's a quarterback on his high school's undefeated football team, but he never plays. Why would he when T.T. Munroe--a walking, talking highlight reel--is around? That is, until T.T's injured a week before the state championships. Now Zeb is starting. As he assumes the role of QB and team leader, the entire town is watching him. And when a college recruiter says Zeb could have a future beyond his small New Hampshire town, he realizes there's a bigger life out there for him . . . if he can play his heart out.
Publication Date: 2017-09-12
Patina by Jason ReynoldsA New York Times Notable Children's Book A newbie to the track team, Patina must learn to rely on her teammates as she tries to outrun her personal demons in this follow-up to the National Book Award finalist Ghost by New York Times bestselling author Jason Reynolds. Ghost. Lu. Patina. Sunny. Four kids from wildly different backgrounds with personalities that are explosive when they clash. But they are also four kids chosen for an elite middle school track team--a team that could qualify them for the Junior Olympics if they can get their acts together. They all have a lot to lose, but they also have a lot to prove, not only to each other, but to themselves. Patina, or Patty, runs like a flash. She runs for many reasons--to escape the taunts from the kids at the fancy-schmancy new school she's been sent to since she and her little sister had to stop living with their mom. She runs from the reason WHY she's not able to live with her "real" mom any more: her mom has The Sugar, and Patty is terrified that the disease that took her mom's legs will one day take her away forever. So Patty's also running for her mom, who can't. But can you ever really run away from any of this? As the stress builds up, it's building up a pretty bad attitude as well. Coach won't tolerate bad attitude. No day, no way. And now he wants Patty to run relay...where you have to depend on other people? How's she going to do THAT?
Publication Date: 2017-08-29
Willie and Me by Dan GutmanWith more than 1.5 million books sold, the Baseball Card Adventures series brings the greatest players in history to life. Featuring black-and-white photographs and stats throughout, plus back matter separating fact from fiction, Willie & Me is the perfect mix of history and action for every young baseball fan. Stosh thought he was finished traveling back in time. But then Ralph Branca shows up in his room one night, begging for Stosh's help. In 1951, Branca pitched a ball to Bobby Thomson that would become the "Shot Heard Round the World," a home run that won the National League pennant for the New York Giants and changed the lives of Branca and Thomson forever. Branca says the Giants were cheating, and he needs Stosh to use his power with baseball cards to go back in time and set things right. Stosh is determined to help, but he quickly learns that you can't change just one little thing in history. If he erases the "Shot Heard Round the World," he may forever alter the life of a young rookie named Willie Mays. With wisdom from all the players he has helped before--plus the surprise return of some familiar faces--Stosh uses his power to travel in time using baseball cards one last time in a fabulous finale to the adventure of a lifetime. Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in the English Language Arts