Your heart was lifted opening day of the 2016 Summer Olympics. The grand celebration showed spirit and confidence in team USA.
In the days following, you watched in dismay how athletes favored to win their competitions, fell.
My favorite sport is tennis, so I was disappointed to learn that Venus and Serena Williams lost in the opening round of their Olympic doubles match. My heart melted again when Serena fell in the third round of her singles match.
Games are won by the number of points earned, but also by a person or teams’ hard work and determination.
Summer vacation is almost over, and your child will try to stay glued to the television as long as possible. To help them stay motivated to play sports — and also help curb the summer slide — here are a few books to satisfy their curiosity about Olympic competition long after the games end.
History of the Olympics
By Mary Pope Osborne
Age level: 6 – 9
Reading level: Grades: 1 – 4
This is a book centers around two main characters, Jack and Annie, and their fantasy adventure in Ancient Greece. Readers will learn about the Olympics, the Olympic events, and the legend of Pegasus, the flying horse. This is a short book where readers will learn that unmarried women were not allowed to watch the men’s Olympic Games. Today, women not only watch, but make up approximately 45 percent of the 11,178 athletes participating.
Ancient Greece and the Olympics: A Nonfiction Companion to Magic Tree House #16: Hour of the Olympics (Magic Tree House (R) Fact Tracker)
By Mary Pope Osborne
Level: Middle Grade Readers
Level: Grades: 2 – 5
This other history book centers on Jack and Annie again and is filled with the history of the Olympics. Many questions that Jack and Annie have your child may have, such as, what did the Ancient Greeks wear where were the first Olympics held.
It’s About Team Effort
By Alex Morgan
Soccer player and Olympic Gold Medalist Alex Morgan has written a series of books for middle grade readers. This book is about talented 7th grader making new friends and trying not just to win, but to work together as a team. We tell children that teamwork is important because a team is a group and a whole is always greater than the sum of its parts. Remember, there’s no ‘I’ in team.” Winning and success come from a group effort.
You can climb higher
By Gabriele Douglas
Before Simone Biles swept awards in gymnastics and became a sensation, there was Olympic Gold Medalist Gabrielle Douglass. This book written by “Gabby,” along with the help of Michelle Burford, is a story of faith, perseverance, and determination. The more competitions Gabrielle Douglass won, the more her confidence grew. Readers will learn that in order to get where you want to go, you must make sacrifices.
Don’t give up. Have courage.
(Count on Me: Sports)
By Brad Herzog
True stories of athletes displaying and courage fill this book for middle grade readers. Among them, Maria Pepe who is known as one of the first girls to play Little League baseball. In 1972. At the age of 12, Pepe pitched three Little League games for a Little League team in Hoboken, New Jersey. Surfer Bethany Hamilton lost her arm in a shark attack at the age of 13, but after a few weeks got back into the water.
There are just a sample of books that inspire a young athlete to pursue excellence. These books will also remind them that it’s more about winning, it’s what you learn along the journey that counts.