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Baseball: Picture Books For Kids

This list of the best picture books about baseball is sure to include a new favorite for the voracious young reader in your life! From Joltin' Joe DiMaggio to The Funniest Man in Baseball there's something here for everyone's tastes. Do you have a favorite book about baseball? Let us know!

Joltin' Joe DiMaggio book
#1
Joltin' Joe DiMaggio
Written by Jonah Winter and illustrated by James E. Ransome
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from Mr. Staccato

It's a long book but I found it really entertaining. It kept me interested throughout and I learned quite a few things about Joe DiMaggio, the Yankees, America, and baseball history.

Bestselling author Jonah Winter and award-winning illustrator James E. Ransome knock it out of the park with this tribute to one of the greatest baseball players who ever lived, Joe DiMaggio. In the golden age of baseball, sports announcers ruled the radio, winning and losing was front-page news, and just about every young boy wanted to grow up to wear Yankee pinstripes, including Giuseppe Paolo DiMaggio, Jr., a first generation Italian from San Francisco. “Baseball is not a job,” said young Joe’s dad, but through hard work and dedication, Joe grew up to make headlines as a top centerfielder and ace hitter—Joltin’ Joe, the Yankee Clipper. And when the paychecks started rolling in and the newspaper reporters wouldn’t stop calling, you can bet Pop was mighty proud! During the Depression and WWII the country needed something to cheer for, and Joe was the star player who outshone the rest, even marrying movie star Marilyn Monroe—all by keeping his mouth shut and his eye on the ball.

Elly and the Smelly Sneaker book
#2
Elly and the Smelly Sneaker
Written by Leslie Gorin and illustrated by Lesley Vamos
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

In this twist on "Cinderella," Lefty Lou, designated fairy godfather pinch-hitting for the fairy godmother, fulfills a proper young lady's greatest wish--to play on a baseball team.

The Boys book
#3
The Boys
Written and illustrated by Jeff Newman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A shy boy, seeking the courage to play baseball with the other children in a park, is coaxed out of his shell by some "old timers" sitting nearby who, in turn, discover they are still in the game.

Teammates book
#4
Teammates
Written by Peter Golenbock and illustrated by Paul Bacon
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

This is the moving story of how Jackie Robinson became the first black player on a Major League baseball team when he joined the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1940s, and how on a fateful day in Cincinnati, Pee Wee Reese took a stand and declared Jackie his teammate. Illustrated with a blend of historic photographs and eloquent watercolors by Paul Bacon.

Bats at the Ballgame book
#5
Bats at the Ballgame
Written and illustrated by Brian Lies
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

On deck and ready for the spring lineup, New York Times bestselling author-illustrator Brian Lies's ode to "batty" baseball fans. Hurry up! Come one--come all! We're off to watch the bats play ball! You think humans are the only ones who enjoy America's national pastime? Grab your bat--the other kind--and your mitt, because it's a whole new ballgame when evening falls and bats come fluttering from the rafters to watch their all-stars compete. Get set to be transported to the right-side-up and upside-down world of bats at play, as imagined and illustrated by best-selling author-illustrator Brian Lies.

  1. I Am Jackie Robinson - A Black History Month-timed entry in the best-selling series follows the heroic story of baseball star Jackie Robinson, describing, in text and comic thought bubbles, his childhood, early ambitions and barrier-breaking achievements. By the best-selling author of Heroes for My Son.

  2. The William Hoy Story - All William Ellsworth Hoy wanted to do was play baseball. After losing out on a spot on the local deaf team, William practiced even harder—eventually earning a position on a professional team. But his struggle was far from over. In addition to the prejudice Hoy faced, he could not hear the umpires' calls. One day he asked the umpire to use hand signals: strike, ball, out. That day he not only got on base but also changed the way the game was played forever. William "Dummy" Hoy became one of the greatest and most beloved players of his time!

  3. Take Me Out to the Yakyu - You may know that baseball is the Great American Pastime, but did you know that it is also a beloved sport in Japan? Come along with one little boy and his grandfathers, one in America and one in Japan, as he learns about baseball and its rich, varying cultural traditions. This debut picture book from Aaron Meshon is a home run—don’t be surprised if the vivid illustrations and energetic text leave you shouting, “LET’S PLAY YAKYU!”

  4. Charlie Takes His Shot - Charlie Sifford loved golf, but in the 1930’s only white people were allowed to play in the Professional Golf Association. Sifford had won plenty of black tournaments, but he was determined to break the color barrier in the PGA. In 1960 he did, only to face discrimination from hotels that wouldn’t rent him rooms and clubs that wouldn’t let him use the same locker as the white players. But Sifford kept playing, becoming the first black golfer to win a PGA tournament and eventually ranking among the greats in golf.

Yogi book
#10
Yogi
Written by Barb Rosenstock and illustrated by Terry Widener
picture book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

The life and famous words, such as "it ain't over till it's over," of Major League Baseball player and New York Yankee Lawrence "Yogi" Berra are celebrated in this nonfiction picture book. Yogi Berra loved his family, his neighborhood, his friends, and, most of all, baseball. He was crazy for it, ever since he was a young kid playing with friends in an abandoned dump. But baseball didn't love him back--at least not at first. Yogi was different. He didn't have the right look. When he finally made it to the major leagues, Yogi faced pranks and harassment from players, sportswriters, and fans. Their words hurt, but they made Yogi determined to show all that he could do. Author Barb Rosenstock's dynamic text and illustrator Terry Widener's powerful artwork reveal the talents, loves, and inspirational words of this celebrated New York Yankee and American icon, who earned a World Series ring for each finger and made baseball love him back.

Smarty Marty's Got Game book
#11
Smarty Marty's Got Game
Written by Amy Gutierrez and illustrated by Adam McCauley
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Mikey thinks baseball is boring until he attends a game with his sister, who explains the strategy, positions, and rules of the game.

Barbed Wire Baseball book
#12
Barbed Wire Baseball
Written by Marissa Moss and illustrated by Yuko Shimizu
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-10

Traces the childhood dream of Japanese-American baseball pioneer Kenichi Zenimura of playing professionally and his family's struggles in a World War II internment camp where he introduces baseball to raise hope.

Baseball Is . . . book
#13
Baseball Is . . .
Written by Louise Borden and illustrated by Raul Colon
picture book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

The ultimate celebration of an all-American sport, this picture book captures the joy and the history of baseball—and knocks it out of the park! Don’t wait for Opening Day to start your baseball season! Crack open Baseball Is… and revel in the fun of this all-American game! Perfect for the stats-counting superfan and the brand-new little leaguer, Baseball Is… captures the spirit of this cherished pastime, honoring its legendary past, and eagerly anticipating the future of the sport that is “stitched into our history.”

Anybody's Game book
#14
Anybody's Game
Written by Heather Lang and illustrated by Cecilia Puglesi
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

In 1950, Kathryn Johnston wanted to play Little League, but an unwritten rule kept girls from trying out. So she cut off her hair and tried out as a boy under the nickname “Tubby.” She made the team—and inspired future generations. An inspiring and suspenseful story about what it means to want to do something so badly you’re willing to break the rules—and how, sometimes, breaking the rules can lead to change.

  1. Lipman Pike-America’s Home Run King - In the mid 1800s the sport of baseball was working its way across the United States. Amateur teams were springing up and in 1858 the National Association of Base Ball Players was formed. Young men were eager to show their prowess on the field and in the batter’s box. Lipman Pike’s father, a Dutch immigrant, runs a small haberdashery in Brooklyn, New York, though Lip is more interested in watching the ball players than working behind the counter. His mother doesn’t approve— Jewish boys should be paying attention to more sensible matters. But when Lip is barely a teenager, he’s invited to join a local club. When he hits his first pitch over the right fielder’s head, Lip knows baseball is the sport for him. Award-winning author Richard Michelson chronicles the meteoric rise of one of baseball’s earliest (and unsung) champions.

  2. The Funniest Man in Baseball - Max Patkin was pitching in the minor leagues when he was injured and had to leave his dreams behind. He joined the Navy and eventually was able to play again while in the military . . . and this time he got to pitch against superstar Joe DiMaggio. When Joe hit one of Max’s throws out of the park, Max threw down his glove, left the mound, and chased Joe around the bases, making faces and imitating his every move. The crowd loved it! And a baseball clown was born. This inspiring and comical biography carries an important message: Life doesn’t always turn out exactly as you hope . . . but moving in a new direction can sometimes bring happy surprises.

Did you enjoy our children's book recommendations? Did we miss one of your favorites? Let us know in the comments below!