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Olympics: Books For Kids

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

The Olympics are so inspiring. Athletes devote all they have to develop talents and to reach their dreams. These books will show your children this dedication and inspire them to reach their own goals.

Wilma Unlimited book
Wilma Unlimited
Written by Kathleen Krull and illustrated by David Diaz
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7
Thoughts from Mom of Boys

What an amazing story! Stories like this are very inspiring. I am very awe struck at her determination to persevere amidst her disease. Many would have succumbed to it and perhaps tried to rest until it healed. Not Wilma. She proved others wrong as she braved the pain and exercised her leg until she could use it as she wanted to. Not only could she walk again, but went to the Olympics!

A biography of the African-American woman who overcame crippling polio as a child to become the first woman to win three gold medals in track in a single Olympics.

Dream Big book
Dream Big
Written by Deloris Jordan and illustrated by Barry Root
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Olympic dreams come true in this inspiring picture book from Michael Jordan’s mother, author of the New York Times bestselling Salt in His Shoes. Long before he became a professional All-Star basketball player, Michael Jordan had dreams of winning an Olympic gold medal—and with dedication and perseverance, that’s exactly what he did. This heartwarming picture book, written by Michael’s mother and illustrated by Barry Root, gives a rare glimpse into a sports hero’s childhood and emphasizes the role that good values play in success. An ideal companion to the New York Times bestselling Salt in His Shoes and releasing in time for the 2012 Olympics, Dream Big is an inspiration to all.

Tacky and the Winter Games book
Tacky and the Winter Games
Written by Helen Lester and illustrated by Lynn Munsinger
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Tacky and his fellow penguins on Team Nice Icy Land train hard for the Winter Games, but Tacky’s antics make their chances of winning a medal seem slim.

Max and Marla book
Max and Marla
Written and illustrated by Alexandra Boiger
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5
Thoughts from Mom of Boys

This is a cute little story of one who doesn’t give up. He takes his little bird friend along with him and keeps trying to reach his goal of the Olympics. I love his enthusiasm and ability solve problems when one thing doesn’t work. He tries many different approaches without discouragement.

Two fearless Olympians sled to victory in this delightful new picture book

Max and Marla are best friends. And aspiring Olympians! With their eyes on the prize, they know exactly what it’ll take to reach sledding success: preparation, practice and perseverance. So when rusty blades, strong winds and difficult slopes get in their way, Max and Marla realize true joy lies not in winning but in friendship. Obstacles turn into victories!

With delightful illustrations and charming text, Alexandra Boiger brings to life the story of two unstoppable pals—true Olympians who never give up!

How to Train with a T. Rex and Win 8 Gold Medals book
How to Train with a T. Rex and Win 8 Gold Medals
Written by Michael Phelps and illustrated by Alan Abrahamson and Ward Jenkins
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

With his record-breaking eight gold medals won for swimming in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, Phelps became an international sensation. In this picture book, Phelps explains the mind-boggling statistics of his years of training in terms young kids can understand. Full color.

  1. Nadia: The Girl Who Couldn't Sit Still - Nadia Comaneci was a feisty and fearless little girl who went from climbing trees in the forests of Romania to swinging into history at the 1976 Olympic Games, where she received an unprecedented seven perfect scores in gymnastics. But as readers will see in this first-ever illustrated picture book about Nadia’s journey to Olympic gold, the road from small-town girl to world-class athlete was full of many imperfect moments. Expert illustrations that capture the energy and fluidity of Nadia’s exuberant gymnastic routines and referential back matter round out this inspirational story of determination and overcoming adversity. A perfect 10.

  2. A Picture Book of Jesse Owens - A comprehensive look at the life of the man who has often been called the World’s Fastest Human. Jesse Owens was born on a farm to a large family with many siblings. His grandparents had been slaves, and his sharecropper parents were poor. But against all odds, Jesse went on to become one of the greatest athletes in history. He learned to run with such grace that people said he was a “floating wonder.” After setting multiple world records as a college athlete, Jesse competed in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. Adolf Hitler intended for the games to display Aryan superiority, but Jesse disrupted that plan. He became the first American track-and-field athlete to receive four gold medals, and established his legacy as a hero in the face of prejudice. This child friendly entry in David A. Adler’s well-known series contains an accessible mix of biography, facts, and history supported with lifelike illustrations. Back matter includes an author’s note and a timeline.

  3. Caillou: Backyard Olympics - Clementine arrives at Caillou’s house wearing a blue ribbon. Caillou wonders how he could ever win such a prize. This gives Grandma an idea. She decides to organize backyard Olympic games with competitions like the heel-to-toe walk, the biggest smile or the silliest walk. In the end, everyone gets a ribbon — even Gilbert,for having the best purr. Caillou will learn that winning is not as important as having fun with his friends.

  4. Olympig! - Pursued by Mr. Hamstring, a reporter who is sure he will fail, Boomer becomes the first pig ever to compete in the Animal Olympics and demonstrates that attitude can be more important than winning.

Angelina Ice Skates book
Angelina Ice Skates
Written by Helen Craig and illustrated by Katharine Holabird
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5
Thoughts from The Goodfather

Angelina Ice Skates has lots of text and covers numerous ideas as it moves through the storyline: friendship, bullying, overcoming obstacles, working together. It also presents a tale full of ice skating that will be enjoyed by any young reader who enjoys skating or perhaps even dreams of being an Olympic figure skater.

Angelina is planning a New Year’s Eve ice dance for everyone in Mouseland. All of her friends are taking part—even little cousin Henry. But two big boys from school keep interrupting their rehearsals. When a giant snowball fight breaks out, Angelina is sure the dance will be ruined. Will she find a way to make the show a success?

Snowman Paul at the Winter Olympics book
Snowman Paul at the Winter Olympics
Written by Yossi Lapid and illustrated by Joanna Pasek
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-8

Snowman Paul is a big dreamer and now he dreams of becoming a Winter Olympics champion! He does very well in competition, but is he competing fairly?

Eric Liddell: Are you Ready? book
Eric Liddell: Are you Ready?
Written and illustrated by Catherine MacKenzie
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-5

‘On your marks, get set, Go!’ The race begins and Eric Liddell thunders down the track. The crowd cheers him on. Eric Liddell has spent months preparing himself for the Olympics. But he has also spent years getting ready to serve God. Which is more important - winning a gold medal or honouring Jesus Christ? Can Eric do both?

Who Was Jesse Owens? book
Who Was Jesse Owens?
Written by James Buckley Jr. and illustrated by Gregory Copeland
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Describes the life of the sharecroppers’ son who became an Olympic legend and challenged Hitler’s dream of Aryan superiority.

Gabby Douglas book
Gabby Douglas
Written and illustrated by Tori Kosara
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

“Gabby Douglas made history at the 2012 Olympic Games in London when she became the first ever African American gymnast to win gold in the all-around competition. But the road to winning Olympic gold was not an easy one. Being the best meant Gabby had towork hard and never give up - no matter what” — Cover verso.

  1. Kerri Strug and and the Magnificent Seven - “Team USA had never won Olympic gold. Until now. In 1996, seven U.S. gymnasts are ready to change everything. Kerri Strug and her teammates are called the Magnificent Seven. Together, they are America’s best chance to win its first team gold medal. After years of training, Kerri wants to do her best for the team. But the competition is tough—and full of surprises! Can Kerri help Team USA make history? After you’ve read the story, don’t miss the bonus content that emphasizes Common Core and today’s renewed interest in nonfiction. Perfect for home, school, and library bookshelves!”

  2. Touch the Sky - A biography of the first black woman to win an Olympic gold medal, from her childhood in segregated Albany, Georgia, in the 1930s, through her recognition at the 1996 Olympics as one of the hundred best athletes in Olympic history. Includes bibliographical references.

  3. Hour of the Olympics - Their magic tree house takes Jack and Annie back to retrieve a lost story in ancient Greece, where they witness the original Olympic games and are surprised to find what girls of the time were not allowed to do.

  4. A is for Axel - Illustrates the letters of the alphabet through a discussion of ice skating skills, the history of the sport, and past champions.

G Is for Gold Medal book
G Is for Gold Medal
Written by Brad Herzog and illustrated by Doug Bowles
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-10

The letters of the alphabet introduce facts about the Olympic movement and Olympic sports.

The Best Figure Skater in the Whole Wide World book
The Best Figure Skater in the Whole Wide World
Written by Linda Bailey and illustrated by Lea Daniel and Alan Daniel
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
Thoughts from Mr. Staccato

A girl who wants to be the best figure skater in the world. She takes lessons and practices hard, but when she’s not chosen for a leading role in the play she struggles to accept her role as a skating tree. Not sure this book conveys the right message, but maybe I missed it.

Determined to become the best figure skater ever, Lizzy practices and practices, but when she is cast as a lowly tree in her skating class’s presentation of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at the winter carnival, she decides to gallantly accept her role and make her performance a spectacular one! Reprint.

Unbeatable Betty book
Unbeatable Betty
Written by Allison Crotzer Kimmel and illustrated by Joanie Stone
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

An inspiring picture book biography of the first woman to win a gold medal in track and field. Young readers intrigued by the Summer 2020 Olympics in Tokyo will be inspired by this story.

With Joanie Stone’s colorful illustrations and Allison Crotzer Kimmel’s inspirational text, this biography is a reminder of how it takes more than sheer talent to be a champion; an unbeatable spirit of determination and hard work is also needed.

At only sixteen years old, Betty Robinson became the first female gold medalist in track and field in the 1928 Olympics and an overnight sensation. She was set for gold again and had her eyes on the 1932 Olympics.

Her plans changed forever when a horrible plane crash left her in a wheelchair, with one leg shorter than the other. But Betty didn’t let that stop her. In less than five years, she relearned how to stand, to walk, and finally to run again and try to taste gold once more in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin.

Perfect for Women’s History units, as well as for reports on lesser-known sports heroes, Unbeatable Betty includes an author’s note narrating Betty’s later life after her win, as well as a bibliography.

She's Got This book
She's Got This
Written by Laurie Hernandez and illustrated by Nina Mata
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A New York Times bestseller! From gold-medal-winning Olympic gymnast and bestselling author Laurie Hernandez comes a picture book about chasing your dreams and never giving up. Even Olympians have to start somewhere. And in this charming illustrated book, Laurie Hernandez tells the story of Zoe, a little girl who dreams of flying—and becoming a gymnast. When Zoe sees a gymnast on TV, she realizes that gymnastics is just like flying. But when she first goes to class and falls off the balance beam, she discovers that following her dreams is harder and scarier than she thought. Through this heartwarming and inspirational story, featuring vibrant art from Nina Mata, Laurie imparts important lessons she learned on her way to Olympic glory: You always have to get back up and try again, and you always have to believe in yourself.

Rhinos Who Snowboard book
Rhinos Who Snowboard
Written and illustrated by Julie Mammano
picture book
Recommend Ages: 0-12

Summer is over and our rhino friends have hung up their surfboards, grabbed their snowboards, and taken to the slopes. colorful watercolors from Julie Mammano capture an epic day of snowboarding for these totally aggro rhinos. They catch air, take insane gaps and charge the steeps until it’s time to head home and chill in the cabin, dreaming of their next ride. Snowboarders and those who dream of boarding will love these adorably extreme rhinos and a glossary of snowboarding speak is included to boost anyone’s boarding know-how.

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