Books to Celebrate the Olympics

Artwork showing disabled athletes from the book Tenacious with the words "Books to Celebrate the Olympics"

Celebrate the upcoming Olympic Games and the recent addition of breaking as an Olympic sport with books that highlight a diverse cast of athletes and trailblazers!

Cover of Breaking to the Beat, showing a breakdancer striking a pose with one leg out, and balancing on one hand.

Breaking to the Beat!

By Linda J. Acevedo
Illustrated by Frank Morrison

⭐”Morrison’s hazy, graffiti-flavored artwork is spellbinding, with bodies etched in movement that leaps off the pages. . . An irresistible beat to get readers on their feet.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

Cover of Tenacious showing disabled athletes rushing forward through a cloud of smoke, implying speed.

Tenacious: Fifteen Adventures Alongside Disabled Athletes

By Patty Cisneros Prevo
Illustrated by Dion MBD

“This is precisely the book I dreamed of growing up as a young girl with a disability. It shows what is possible to achieve.” —Dr. Anjali Forber-Pratt, Paralympic medalist and disability activist

Cover of There's No Base Like Home, showing two young girls in baseball uniforms; one is leaning on a baseball bat while the other leaps into the air to catch a baseball with her mitt.

There’s No Base Like Home

By Jessica Mendoza, Alana Mendoza Dusan
Illustrated by Ruth McNally Barshaw

“The sibling authors know well of what they write: Mendoza, a two-time Olympic medalist as a member of the U.S. women’s softball team, is an MLB analyst for ESPN; Dusan played Division 1 softball in college. Their insider knowledge of the sport, team dynamics, and the give-and-take of sisterhood lends the narrative authenticity and candor. . . Multiple recaps of plays and plot will help keep hesitant readers in the game.” —Publishers Weekly

Cover of Surfer of the Century, showing an illustration of Duke Kahanamoku standing in front of waves, with a surfer riding the waves in the distance.

Surfer of the Century: The Life of Duke Kahanamoku

By Ellie Crowe
Illustrated by Richard Waldrep

⭐ “Well researched and fact-filled, this book will appeal to a wide audience of general readers.” —School Library Journal, starred review

Cover of The Story of Olympic Swimmer Duke Kahanamoku, showing an illustrated portrait of Duke in front of a light blue background.

The Story of Olympic Swimmer Duke Kahanamoku

By Ellie Crowe
Illustrated by Richard Waldrep

“The writing is simple and direct. . . Waldrep’s illustrations add movement and humanity to this loving portrait of a fascinating life. A good fit for confident readers, and for fans of the “Who Was?” series.” —School Library Journal

Cover of Jim Thorpe's Bright Path, showing Jim leaping in the air over a hurdle on the track.

Jim Thorpe’s Bright Path

By Joseph Bruchac
Illustrated by S. D. Nelson

“Finished with a career recap, plus a discussion of the long effort to restore Thorpe’s confiscated medals. . . young readers in need of a role model could hardly do better.” —Kirkus Reviews

Cover of The Story of All-Star Athlete Jim Thorpe, showing Jim leaping in the air with one knee raised high.

The Story of All-Star Athlete Jim Thorpe

By Joseph Bruchac
Illustrated by S. D. Nelson

The Story of All-Star Athlete Jim Thorpe is a fresh look at a world-renowned champion and allows the reader to meet the person behind the celebrated athlete. This chapter book in our “Story” line includes black-and-white illustrations as well as sidebars on related subjects, a timeline, a glossary, and recommended reading.

Cover of Sixteen Years in Sixteen Seconds, showing Sammy Lee standing atop a diving board with his arms straight out in front of him, preparing to leap.

Sixteen Years in Sixteen Seconds: The Sammy Lee Story

By Paula Yoo
Illustrated by Dom Lee

⭐ “Handsomely illustrated and compassionately written without sentimentality, this picture book biography exemplifies what this genre should be: humanizing and meaningful.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

Cover of The Story of Olympic Diver Sammy Lee, showing an illustrated portrait of Sammy Lee smiling.

The Story of Olympic Diver Sammy Lee

By Paula Yoo
Illustrated by Dom Lee

Olympic Diver Sammy Lee (based on Yoo’s Sixteen Years in Sixteen Seconds, 2005) includes additional sections on Korean immigration to the U.S., Asians in California, and Olympic diving. . . These well-crafted, insight­ful biographies provide a useful historical context for each person’s story.” —Booklist

Cover of Louis Sockalexis, showing Louis leaning on a three-tiered stairwell with a baseball bat in his right hand.

Louis Sockalexis: Native American Baseball Pioneer

By Bill Wise
Illustrated by Bill Farnsworth

“Balancing close-range portraits of the player and depictions of on-the-diamond action, Farnsworth’s light-infused oil paintings impart the emotional tenor and the triumph of Louis’s early years and regrettably brief major league career.” —Publishers Weekly

Cover of Joe Louis, My Champion, showing an illustrated portrait of a young Black boy smiling and holding a fist up in the air. Framed newspaper clippings line the walls behind him.

Joe Louis, My Champion

By William Miller
Illustrated by Rodney S. Pate

“In this stirring picture book, Joe Louis inspires a young African American boy named Sammy to reach for his dreams… Realistic oil paintings, many covering two pages, carry the story along. A glowing afterword highlights Louis’s career and exemplary character. This offering will have particular appeal to fans of the Brown Bomber, but its upbeat message is universal.” —School Library Journal