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Football: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best children's books about football?

Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to football. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about football.

Our list includes board books, picture books, and chapter books. Board books are best for babies and toddlers from ages newborn to 2 or 3. Picture books are generally great options for toddlers and for preschool and kindergarten age children. Picture books are especially enjoyable for adults to read aloud with young kids. The chapter books on our list are generally best for elementary through early middle school age tween kids. You can filter to sort by the best book type for your kid.

When it comes to children’s stories about football, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like Little Football to popular sellers like Football Genius to some of our favorite hidden gems like Goodnight Football.

We hope this list of kids books about football can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book!

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Goodnight Football
Written by Michael Dahl & illustrated by Christina E. Forshay
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

In rhyming text a child, home from a game, bids goodnight to all the sights and sounds of a school football game.

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By My Brother's Side
Written by Tiki Barber, Ronde Barber, and Robert Burleigh & illustrated by Barry Root
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-10

Introduces twin brothers Tiki and Ronde Barber, who worked hard to overcome obstacles and became National Football League stars, one as runningback for the New York Giants, the other as cornerback for the Tampa Bay Bucs.

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Before the Ever After
Written by Jacqueline Woodson
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-

National Book Award winner Jacqueline Woodson’s stirring novel explores how a family moves forward when their glory days have passed. For as long as ZJ can remember, his dad has been everyone’s hero. As a charming, talented pro football star, he’s as beloved to the neighborhood kids he plays with as he is to his millions of adoring sports fans. But lately life at ZJ’s house is anything but charming. His dad is having trouble remembering things and seems to be angry all the time. ZJ’s mom explains it’s because of all the head injuries his dad sustained during his career. ZJ can understand that–but it doesn’t make the sting any less real when his own father forgets his name. As ZJ contemplates his new reality, he has to figure out how to hold on tight to family traditions and recollections of the glory days, all the while wondering what their past amounts to if his father can’t remember it. And most importantly, can those happy feelings ever be reclaimed when they are all so busy aching for the past?

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Gridiron: Stories from 100 Years of the National Football League
Written by Fred Bowen & illustrated by James E. Ransome
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

This accessible, informative, and beautifully illustrated book celebrates the 100th anniversary of the NFL and is the perfect keepsake for football fans of all ages.

The National Football League is the most popular sports league in the United States. Its championship game, the Super Bowl, is watched by millions of people every year. But it wasn’t always like this. In the last one hundred years, football has changed from a poorly organized, often overlooked sport to America’s favorite pastime. Here are the stories of that remarkable transformation. The stories of the greatest players, the most successful coaches, the most memorable games–and the amazing plays that made us gasp as we watched them in stadiums and on televisions all over America.

Discover the league’s scrappy beginnings in an automobile showroom, and early players like Red Grange, the Galloping Ghost. Relive the very first championship game, played indoors after a circus had visited, and famous games like the Ice Bowl. See the NFL at war, and meet some of the remarkable athletes who helped desegregate the league. Learn how the draft came into existence, and about the teams that strove for that almost impossible goal–a perfect season.

Veteran sportswriter Fred Bowen brings his in-depth knowledge and lively prose to these fascinating stories, and award-winning artist James E. Ransome has created stunning full-page illustrations that bring the sport of football to life like never before.

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Sean Wants to Be Messi
Written & illustrated by Tanya Preminger
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-10

Sean, a whimsical 2nd grader, wants to be the great Leo Messi, and he’s working hard for his cause. He battles fears, bullies, nagging parents, and tiresome teachers in pursuit of his dream to become the best soccer player in the world. A children’s book about soccer, math, and practice. Not necessarily in this order. Beautiful illustrations by Elettra Cudignotto.

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  • The Big Game - New York Times bestselling author and former NFL defensive end Tim Green encourages readers to fight for their dreams in this heartfelt story about a young football star grappling with the stress of living up to his father’s name. Perfect for fans of Mike Lupica! Danny Owens is dedicating his seventh-grade season to his Super Bowl champion father, who recently passed away. Danny promises everyone that, just like his dad, he’ll dominate the big game at the end of the season and earn a spot on the high school varsity team. Then his English teacher catches him cheating on a test. Even though Danny can retake it, he knows there’s no point. He can’t read. And if Danny can’t pass this class, he won’t be eligible to play in the championship game that could unlock his future. While his resentment rises against the only person willing to help him win off the field, the pressure to succeed begins to weigh heavily on Danny’s shoulders. Danny is being tested on every level now, and to pass, he may very well have to choose a different path from his father’s.

  • Football with Dad - Every Sunday, a boy and his dad watch the big football game on TV, and then go outside to play it. In this simple introduction to the game, the emphasis is on playing safely and having fun.

  • Football Genius - Troy White can predict any football play before it happens. And when his single mom gets a job with the Atlanta Falcons, Troy knows it’s his big chance to help them out of their slump—and finally prove his football genius. But unless Troy can convince star linebacker Seth Halloway that he’s telling the truth, the Falcons’ championship—and Troy’s mom’s job—are in serious jeopardy.

  • Austin Plays Fair: A Team Dungy Story about Football - Fair Play Is Always the Right Way Austin loves playing flag football for the Trentwood Tigers. There is only one problem. His team has lost six games in a row, and he doesn’t like losing. At his next game, Austin’s teammate has a plan to trick the other team. It works, but Austin knows his team cheated to win. Coach Tony and Coach Lauren remind Austin the most important thing about football isn’t winning–it’s playing fair. When his team takes the field for their next game, will Austin choose to cheat again, or will he stand up for what’s right? What would you do if you were in Austin’s shoes? *** Join the Team! The Team Dungy series of picture books for young readers, ages 6-9, teaches character-building lessons through the familiar world of sports.

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Kickoff!
Written by Ronde Barber and Tiki Barber
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Hut! Hut! Go long, Tiki!
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Don't Throw It to Mo!
Written by David A. Adler & illustrated by Sam Ricks
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-7

Winner of the 2016 Theodor Seuss Geisel Award Mo is the youngest kid on the Robins, his football team. His classmates don’t mind, but the kids on their rival team tease him for being a “butterfingers” who’s too tiny to catch the ball. But Mo’s coach has a plan to turn Mo’s little size into a big win for the Robins! This Level 2 reader about a little African-American boy with a big passion for sports was the winner of the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award in 2016.

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Little Football
Written by Brad Herzog & illustrated by Doug Bowles
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

Riddles in rhyme and illustrations invite readers to identify types of objects and people connected with football.

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Dino-Football
Written by Lisa Wheeler & illustrated by Barry Gott
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9

The Greenblades and the Redscales face off in the Mega-Bowl! Sacks and hand-offs. Touchdowns and interceptions. When dinos don shoulder pads, the action is sure to be epic. But as the clock ticks down, will the Scales make a goal-line stand or will the Blades break through for the winning TD?

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