Batter Up! | 36-24-42, READ! | Slam Dunk Books

You know you've hit a home run, or scored a touchdown, or made a slam dunk, when you connect a child to a really great book. For boys who know sports, introduce them to these goal-oriented reads!


Race Car Drivers: Start Your Engines!

by Steele Tyler Filipek
Ages 6-8 | Grades 1-3

Little boys love cars and speed. When you combine those two things into one sport, you come up with NASCAR driving! Read all about NASCAR's greatest stars, both past and present, inside!


Batter Up!

Round the bases of a story! TEACHERS: After reading one or more of these great baseball books, draw a diamond on a chalkboard or whiteboard and illustrate the parts of the field that are referred to in the book. Encourage students to raise their hands and help you out—giving your sports fans a chance to shine!

ABCs of Baseball

by Peter Golenbock, illustrated by Dan Andreasen
Ages 5-8 | Grades K-3

As contemporary as today's sports page and as nostalgic as an old baseball card, this is an alphabet book for kids that can be used all through the year.

All Star! Honus Wagner and the Most Famous Baseball Card Ever

by Jane Yolen | illustrated by Jim Burke
Ages 6-8 | Grades 1-3

The Honus Wagner baseball card is the most valuable baseball card of all time! But he was born poor, ugly, bow-legged, and more suited to shoveling coal in his Pennsylvania mining town than becoming the greatest shortstop of all time. How could it happen? Did those strong arms and fast legs turn him into a Pittsburgh Pirate and one of the game's most unforgettable players?

The Batboy

by Mike Lupica
Ages 10 up | Grades 5 up

It is every baseball kid's dream summer job: batboy for your hometown Major League team. Yet for fourteen year-old Brian, the job means more than just the chance to hang around his idols. Baseball was the job his father loved so much, in the end he couldn't leave it. Yet he could leave his family. Now Brian sees the job as the way to win back his father. There is no winning back some people, though. Just ask Hank Bishop-once the most popular player in baseball before he was banned for using steroids. Now he is making his comeback. And an unlikely friendship slowly develops between this man in need of a family and this boy in need of a father.

The Big Field

by Mike Lupica
Ages 10 & up | Grades 5 & up

Playing shortstop is a way of life for Hutch. Not only is his hero, Derek Jeter, a shortstop, but so was his father, a former local legend turned pro. Which is why having to play second base feels like demotion to second team. Hutch is nothing if not a team player, but with the league championship on the line, just how far is Hutch willing to bend to be a good teammate?

The Boy Who Saved Baseball

by John H. Ritter
Ages 8-12 | Grades 2-6

The fate of the Dillontown team rests on the outcome of one baseball game, winner take all. And the fate of the game rests on one mysterious boy, Cruz de la Cruz, who rides into town and claims to know the secrets of Dante Del Gato, Dillontown's greatest hitter ever. Since he walked away from the game years ago, Del Gato hasn't spoken a word to anyone. But now he might be the team's only hope for saving their hometown.

The Brooklyn Nine

by Alan M. Gratz
Ages 9-11 | Grades 3-6

In nine innings, this novel tells the stories of nine successive Schneider kids and their connection to Brooklyn and baseball. As in all family histories and all baseball games, there is glory and heartache, triumph and sacrifice.

Comeback Kids: Safe at Home

by Mike Lupica
Ages 8 & up | Grades 2 & up

Pedro Morales has always been content helping others look great. Pedro wants to make his father proud, and so he runs for class president, yet doing so means going one-on-one against Ned, easily the most popular boy in school. Pedro learns the hard way that being a good teammate doesn't mean that others will return the favor.

The Desperado Who Stole Baseball

by John H. Ritter
Ages 10 & up | Grades 5 & up

For the villagers of Dillontown there is nothing more important than baseball. Home to the Dillontown Nine, they would give anything to join the ranks of professional ballplayers. Yet to make it, they will need to defeat the world champion Chicago White Stockings. Fortunately, they have two boys who know a little something about winning: one is young Jack Dillon and the other is a boy on the run, none other than Billy the Kid.

Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Secret Pitch

by Donald J. Sobol
Ages 7 up | Grades 2 up

Leroy Brown, aka Encyclopedia Brown, is Idaville's ten-year-old star detective. With an uncanny knack for trivia, he solves mysteries for the neighborhood kids through his own detective agency. But his dad also happens to be the chief of the Idaville police department, and every night around the dinner table, Encyclopedia helps him solve his most baffling crimes.

Fantasy Baseball

by Alan Gratz
Ages 8-12 | Grades 3-7

Alex Metcalf must be dreaming. What else would explain why he's playing baseball for the Oz Cyclones, with Dorothy as his captain, in the Ever After Baseball Tournament? But Alex isn't dreaming. He is in a land where classic literary characters are baseball crazy and people from the real world don't exist. The tournament might be his only chance to get back- champions get a wish granted by the Wizard.

Heat

by Mike Lupica
Ages 10 & up | Grades 5 & up

Newly orphaned after his father led the family's escape from Cuba, Michael's only family is his seventeen-year old brother Carlos. When someone wonders how a twelve-year-old boy could possibly throw with as much power as Michael does, his secret world is blown wide open, and he discovers that family can come from the most unexpected sources.

Up Close: Babe Ruth

by Wilborn Hampton
Ages 12 & up | Grades 6 & up

Babe Ruth is still regarded as perhaps the greatest baseball player ever to step on a diamond. Babe went on to shatter every home-run record on the books—back when fewer games were played in a season and a heavier ball was used!

Who Was Jackie Robinson

by Gail Herman
Ages 8-12 | Grades 3-7

As a kid, Jackie Robinson was a natural at football, basketball, and of course, baseball. In 1947 Jackie joined the Brooklyn Dodgers, breaking the long-time color barrier in major league baseball. Here is an inspiring sports biography, with black-and-white illustrations throughout.

The Unforgettable Season: The Story of Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams, and The Record Setting Summer of '41

by S.D. Schindler
Ages 8-12 | Grades 3-7

Packed with fun facts and statistics sure to intrigue eager baseball fans, here is a 70th anniversary celebration of two baseball greats, Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams, and their still unbroken records.


36-24-42, READ!

All of these books feature characters who have a large amount at stake. Discuss the pressures the boys you know imagine the characters in these books must be feeling. Persuade those who have played football to really describe what it's like to be on the field, and if they've ever faced similar pressures as these players. How might they have handled similar situations?

Comeback Kids: Two Minute Drill

by Mike Lupica
Ages 8 & up | Grades 2 & up

Chris Conlan is the golden-armed quarterback of the football team. Scott Parry is the new kid with the huge brain, but with feet that trip over themselves daily. These two boys may seem like an odd couple, but each has a secret that draws them together as friends, and proves that the will to succeed is even more important than raw talent.

Jim Thorpe, Original All-American

by Joseph Bruchac
Ages 12 & up | Grades 6 & up

Jim Thorpe was one of the greatest athletes who ever lived. He played professional football and Major League baseball, and won Olympic gold medals in track and field. But his life wasn't always quite so easy...

Leverage

by Joshua Cohen
Ages 12 up | Grades 6 up

There's an extraordinary price for victory at Anooka High. An unlikely friendship between Kurt, a talented but emotionally damaged fullback, and Danny, a promising gymnast, is at the heart of an increasingly violent, steriod-inflused power struggle. When the unthinkable happens, they must look to each other for salvation.

Million-Dollar Throw

by Mike Lupica
Ages 10 & up | Grades 5 & up

Nate Brodie wins the chance to throw a pass through a target at a Patriots game for a million dollars. It's no secret that a million dollars would go a long way, so Nate is feeling A LOT of pressure. And that's right about when his golden arm begins to fail him...


Slam Dunk Books

Suggesting a good book for a boy you know isn't always a slam dunk, but these awesome basketball books are sure to help improve your game (and their reading score!).

Black and White

Paul Volponi
Ages 12 & up | Grades 6 & up

Marcus and Eddie are best friends. Marcus is black; Eddie is white. Stars of their school basketball team, they are true leaders who look past racial stereotypes and come out on top. But one night, and one wrong decision, will change their lives forever. Will their mistake cost them their friendship and their future?

Comeback Kids: Long Shot

by Mike Lupica
Ages 8 & up | Grades 2 & up

Pedro Morales has always been content helping others look great. Pedro wants to make his father proud, and so he runs for class president, yet doing so means going one-on-one against Ned, easily the most popular boy in school. Pedro learns the hard way that being a good teammate doesn't mean that others will return the favor.

Comeback Kids: Hot Hand

by Mike Lupica
Ages 8 & up | Grades 2 & up

All Billy Raynor wants to do is shoot. After all, he is one of the best shooters in the league. But with his dad as his coach, and his parents newly separated, somehow everything's become complicated. But when his brother's piano recital falls on the same day as the championship game, it is Billy who teaches his dad the true meaning of being a team player.

Edenville Owls

by Robert B. Parker
Ages 9-11 | Grades 3-6

There is something evil in the air; Bobby senses it. Bobby knows he should mind his own business, but World War II has just ended and Bobby's world seems to changing all around him. His buddies on the Edenville Owls, the local basketball team, are in need of a leader. Can they help each other off the court as well as on it?

The Final Four

by Paul Volponi
Ages 12 up | Grades 7 up

Malcolm wants to get to the NBA ASAP. Roko wants to be the pride of his native Croatia. Crispin wants the girl of his dreams. M.J. just wants a chance. March Madness is in full swing, and there are only four teams left in the NCAA basketball championship. The heavily favored Michigan Spartans and the underdog Troy Trojans meet in the first game in the semifinals, and it's there that the fates of Malcolm, Roko, Crispin, and M.J. intertwine

Miracle on 49th Street

by Mike Lupica
Ages 10 & up | Grades 5 & up

Josh Cameron has it all: a World Championship ring with the Boston Celtics, an MVP award, a clean-cut image, and the adoration of millions. What he doesn't have is family. Until the day 12-year-old Molly Parker confronts him in a parking lot and claims to be his daughter. Josh cares about two things only: himself, and basketball. Yet this isn't just any 12-year-old. Mr. World Champion has finally met his match.

Rucker Park Setup

by Paul Volponi
Ages 12 & up | Grades 6 & up

Rucker Park is a place where basketball's greatest pro players go up against street legends. Best friends Mackey and J.R. have waited their whole lives to win the basketball tournament here, but when the day of an important game arrives, J.R. is fatally stabbed. Now Mackey has a score to settle, but the killer is watching his every move.

Summer Ball

by Mike Lupica
Ages 9-11 | Grades 3-6

Leading your travel team to the national championship may seem like a dream come true, but for Danny, being at the top just means the competition tries that much harder to knock him off. Now Danny's heading to Right Way basketball camp for the summer, and he knows that with the country's best players in attendance, he's going to need to take his game up a notch if he wants to match up.

Travel Team

by Mike Lupica
Ages 8-12 | Grades 2-6

Danny Walker may be the smallest kid on the basketball court, but no one plays with more heart or court sense. None of that matters, however, when he is cut from his local travel team. Danny's father knows Danny isn't the only kid who was cut for the wrong reason, and together they prove that the heart simply cannot be measured.

The Underdogs

by Mike Lupica
Ages 10 up | Grades 5 up

Will Tyler can fly on a football field. He may not be the biggest running back around, but no one can touch him when it comes to hitting the hole and finding the end zone. And no one can match his love of the game. When Will has a football in hand, he may as well be flying for real because life can't touch him - his dad isn't so defeated, his town isn't so poor, and everyone has something to cheer for. All of which does him no good if the football season is canceled...