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Track And Field: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best children's books about track and field?

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

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 track and field, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like Touch the Sky to popular sellers like Ghost to some of our favorite hidden gems like Girl Running.

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

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This Little Trailblazer: A Girl Power Primer
Written by Joan Holub & illustrated by Daniel Roode
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-5

Learn all about influential women who changed history in this engaging and colorful board book perfect for trailblazers-in-training!

Paving the way to a future that’s bright. Helping the world with their skills, smarts, and might.

Little trailblazers cause great big changes.

In this follow up to This Little President and This Little Explorer, now even the youngest readers can learn all about great and empowering female trailblazers in history! Highlighting ten memorable women leaders who paved the way, parents and little ones alike will love this girl power primer full of fun, age-appropriate facts and bold illustrations.

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Girl Running
Written by Annette Bay Pimentel & illustrated by Micha Archer
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
  • “A bright salutation of a story, with one determined woman at its center.”–Kirkus Reviews, starred review

The inspiring story of the first female to run the Boston Marathon comes to life in stunningly vivid collage illustrations.

Because Bobbi Gibb is a girl, she’s not allowed to run on her school’s track team. But after school, no one can stop her–and she’s free to run endless miles to her heart’s content. She is told no yet again when she tries to enter the Boston Marathon in 1966, because the officials claim that it’s a man’s race and that women are just not capable of running such a long distance. So what does Bobbi do? She bravely sets out to prove the naysayers wrong and show the world just what a girl can do.

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Back on Track
Written by Jake Maddox
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

Twelve-year-old Addison Jones would love to try out for the track team, and she knows that she is faster than the other girls, but her single mom is working two jobs and every day after school Addison has to take care of her little brother–without telling her mom Addison and her best friend, Sofia, work out a plan that will allow her to run, but soon the strain and guilt of lying to her mother begins to take its toll.

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A Picture Book of Jesse Owens
Written by David A. Adler & illustrated by Robert Casilla
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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.

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Unbeatable Betty
Written by Allison Crotzer Kimmel & 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.

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  • Her Fearless Run: Kathrine Switzer's Historic Boston Marathon - Kathrine Switzer changed the world of running. This narrative biography follows Kathrine from running laps as a girl in her backyard to becoming the first woman to run the Boston Marathon with official race numbers in 1967. Her inspirational true story is for anyone willing to challenge the rules. The compelling collage art adds to the kinetic action of the story. With tension and heart, this biography has the influential power to get readers into running. An excellent choice for sports fans, New Englanders, young dreamers, and competitive girls and boys alike.

  • Lu - "Pure gold." --School Library Journal (starred review)

  • Who Was Jesse Owens? - Describes the life of the sharecroppers’ son who became an Olympic legend and challenged Hitler’s dream of Aryan superiority.

  • Ghost - A National Book Award Finalist for Young People's Literature.
    Nominated as one of America's best-loved novels by PBS's The Great American Read.

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Patina
Written by Jason Reynolds
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-13
The sequel to National Book Award Finalist Ghost and a New York Times bestseller
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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.

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Touch the Sky
Written by Ann Malaspina & illustrated by Eric Velasquez
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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.

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Fauja Singh Keeps Going: The True Story of the Oldest Person to Ever Run a Marathon
Written by Simran Jeet Singh & illustrated by Baljinder Kaur
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

The inspiring true story of Fauja Singh, who broke world records to become the first one hundred-year-old to run a marathon, shares valuable lessons on the source of his grit, determination to overcome obstacles, and commitment to positive representation of the Sikh community.

Every step forward is a victory.

Fauja Singh was born determined. He was also born with legs that wouldn’t allow him to play cricket with his friends or carry him to school miles from his village in Punjab. But that didn’t stop him. Working on his family’s farm, Fauja grew stronger to meet his own full potential.

He never stopped striving. At the age of 81, after a lifetime of making his body, mind, and heart stronger, Fauja decided to run his first marathon. He went on to break records all around the world and became the first person over 100 to complete the grueling long-distance race.

With inspiring text by Simran Jeet Singh and exhilarating illustrations by Baljinder Kaur, the true story of Fauja Singh reminds us that it’s both where we start and how we finish that make our journeys unforgettable.

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Sunny
Written by Jason Reynolds
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-13
Sunny tries to shine despite his troubled past in this third novel in the critically acclaimed Track series from National Book Award finalist Jason Reynolds.
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  • My Year in the Middle - Miss Garrett’s classroom is like every other at our school. White kids sit on one side and black kids on the other. I’m one of the few middle-rowers who split the difference. In a racially polarized classroom in 1970 Alabama, Lu’s talent for running track makes her a new best friend—and tests her mettle as she navigates the school’s social cliques. Sixth-grader Lu Olivera just wants to keep her head down and get along with everyone in her class. Trouble is, Lu’s old friends have been changing lately—acting boy crazy and making snide remarks about Lu’s newfound talent for running track. Lu’s secret hope for a new friend is fellow runner Belinda Gresham, but in 1970 Red Grove, Alabama, blacks and whites don’t mix. As segregationist ex-governor George Wallace ramps up his campaign against the current governor, Albert Brewer, growing tensions in the state—and in the classroom—mean that Lu can’t stay neutral about the racial divide at school. Will she find the gumption to stand up for what’s right and to choose friends who do the same?

  • Mack Rhino, Private Eye: The Big Race Lace Case - Mack Rhino is a private detective--who just so happens to be a rhinoceros--in this silly, fun-to-read Aladdin QUIX chapter book that's perfect for emerging readers!

  • Miss Fox's Class Shapes Up - Miss Fox’s students are too tired and cranky to get through the day! It’s up to Miss Fox and her new wellness regimen to help them eat better, exercise, and get more sleep! Kids will learn ways to stay healthy and bring fitness into their everyday lives.

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