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Running: Books For Kids

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

As you can see, this list of kids books about running is a work in progress! We’re currently exploring the best books available, and we’d love your input. If you have a title you’d suggest including on our list of kids books about running, please share it with us!

We’ll be featuring a variety of titles on our list, from well known classics to popular bestsellers to lesser known titles that deserve a bigger audience. We’re also including books for a range of ages, from board books for babies and toddlers, to picture books for preschool and kindergarten age kids, to chapter books for early elementary age kids.

We’d love to hear any book suggestions you have—you can comment below or email us at [email protected].

Sidetracked
Written & illustrated by Diana Harmon Asher
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

If middle school were a race, Joseph Friedman wouldn’t even be in last place—he’d be on the sidelines. With an overactive mind and phobias of everything from hard-boiled eggs to gargoyles, he struggles to understand his classes, let alone his fellow classmates. So, he spends most of his time avoiding school bully Charlie Kastner and hiding out in the Resource Room, a safe place for misfit kids like him. But then, on the first day of seventh grade, two important things happen. First, his Resource Room teacher encourages (i.e., practically forces) him to join the school track team, and second, he meets Heather, a crazy-fast runner who isn’t going to be pushed around by Charlie Kastner or anybody else. With a new friend and a new team, Joseph finds himself off the sidelines and in the race (quite literally) for the first time. Is he a good runner? Well, no, he’s terrible. But the funny thing about running is, once you’re in the race, anything can happen.

The Pumpkin Runner
Written by Marsha Diane Arnold
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Nearly all the sheep ranchers in Blue Gum Valley rode horses or drove jeeps to check on their sheep. But Joshua Summerhayes liked to run…with Yellow Dog trailing behind him.” So it’s no surprise when Joshua decides to enter a race from Melbourne to Sydney. People laugh when old Joshua shows up in his overalls and gumboots, calmly nibbling a slice of pumpkin for energy. But then he pulls into the lead, and folks are forced to sit up and take notice. Inspired by a true event (and just in time for fall’s pumpkin harvest!) a talented team introduces a humble and generous hero who knows that winning isn’t always the reason to run a race.

Maniac Magee
Written by Jerry Spinelli
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-11

A Newbery Medal winning modern classic about a racially divided small town and a boy who runs.

Jeffrey Lionel “Maniac” Magee might have lived a normal life if a freak accident hadn’t made him an orphan. After living with his unhappy and uptight aunt and uncle for eight years, he decides to run—and not just run away, but run. This is where the myth of Maniac Magee begins, as he changes the lives of a racially divided small town with his amazing and legendary feats.

Faster! Faster!
Written & illustrated by Leslie Patricelli
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

Hang on tight for more comic joy in this companion to the Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor winner Higher! Higher!

A day at the park. A ride on Daddy’s back. Run, Daddy! Faster! Faster! How fast can Daddy go? Faster than a dog? A horse? How about a cheetah? Must his feet even touch the ground? Leslie Patricelli reprises the duo from Higher! Higher! in another humorous riff on a favorite pastime — a laugh-out-loud-funny tale of few words about doting dads and high-energy kids whose imaginations know no bounds.

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