14 Inspirational Books for Young Athletes
Salt in His Shoes: Michael Jordan in Pursuit of a DreamBy Deloris Jordan and Roslyn M. Jordan, illustrated by Kadir Nelson 1 of 8
Believe it or not, the great Michael Jordan once thought he was too short to succeed on the court. That is until he trusted his family for support and started believing in himself. In this illustrated novel, Jordan's mother and aunt tell the story we don't often hear—the story of young Michael before he became a household name and star on the court. This book is suitable for preschoolers to third graders.
If you liked this, try "Kevin Durant: The Inspiring Story of One of Basketball's Greatest Small Forwards" by Clayton Geoffreys.
Breakaway: Beyond the GoalBy Alex Morgan (Autobiography) 2 of 8
America's soccer sweetheart shares her story of winning on the field and in life. Morgan may be best known for scoring the game-winning goal in the 2012 London Olympics, and no doubt we'll be seeing more of her skills on display in the 2016 Olympics in August. Morgan has also written the fictional series, "The Kicks," about a middle school girl who moves across the country and starts anew with friendships and soccer.
If you liked this, read "Go For the Goal: A Champion's Guide to Winning in Soccer and Life" by women's soccer legend Mia Hamm and co-writer Aaron Heifetz.
Kid Athletes: True Tales of Childhood from Sports LegendsBy David Stabler, illustrated by Doogie Horner 3 of 8
Can't choose just one athlete to read about? Choose them all.
This book follows the stories of everyone from Danica Patrick to Tiger Woods. You'll see how each athlete overcame their unique struggles, whether they suffered from self-doubt or got into trouble at school. This book is appropriate for grades 4-7.
If you liked this, try "Throw Like a Girl: How to Dream Big and Believe in Yourself" by Olympian Jennie Finch. Finch's outlook will inspire young women in any sport to gain self-confidence.
Tara Lipinksi: Triumph on IceBy Tara Lipinski (Autobiography) 4 of 8
Before there was Gracie Gold, there was Tara Lipinski. Lipinski stunned audiences nearly twenty years ago at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan, as a 15-year-old superstar. She holds the record for the youngest person in ladies figure skating to win a gold medal in an individual event. In "Triumph on Ice", Lipinski outlines her path to the Olympics and how her positive outlook on life helped her get there. This book is appropriate for grades 4-8.
If you liked this, try "Fire on Ice: Autobiography of a Champion Figure Skater" by 2006 Silver Medalist Sasha Cohen.
Jackie Robinson: Strong Inside and OutPart of the "Time for Kids" series 5 of 8
Time Magazine's kids series makes the perfect form for learning about the tough segregation battles young Jackie Robinson had to fight to become a baseball legend. In this book for grades 2-4, plenty of photos and timelines take kids through Jackie's life, from a youngster with a dream to a talented superstar despite all the negativity thrown his way. Robinson's story is not only one of succeeding in baseball, but of acceptance and love.
If you liked this, try "The Life You Imagine" by Derek Jeter.
Grace, Gold and Glory: My Leap of FaithBy Gabrielle Douglas 6 of 8
Who can forget Gabby Douglas, the 2010 London Olympics all-around gold medalist and member of the gold medal-winning women's team? Douglas had her eye on the prize from age 6, and it took incredible bravery, determination and training for her to become a two-time gold medalist and the first African American all-around women's gymnast winner in her teens. Douglas didn't grow up with a lot of money to afford the best coaches, but her talent proved she could make it on her own. Prepare to be inspired from start to finish. This book is appropriate for grades 6-9.
If you liked this, try "Finding My Shine" by Nasita Liukin, 2008 all-around gold medalist.
Peyton Manning: The Football LegendBy Bobby Hunter 7 of 8
Legend, indeed. With Peyton Manning's retirement this year, he leaves the NFL as the first (and currently only) quarterback with 200 career wins and holds the record in both passing yards and touchdown passes. Hunter's biography of Manning goes through young Peyton's start as Archie Manning's prodigy to becoming a two-time Super Bowl champion.
If you liked this, try another biography of an up-and-coming football legend. Pick up "Russell Wilson: The Inspiring Story of One of Football's Greatest Quarterbacks" by Clayton Geoffreys.