Sports books are often an easy sell for most kids who like to read. Basketball books for kids are no different. While we have dedicated middle grade sports books and YA sports books list, this list includes books about basketball for kids of all ages (from picture books to YA and non-fiction). If you have a kid at the intersection of book and basketball love, this list is for them.
Basketball Picture Books for Kids
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Picture books are especially appealing because of the gorgeous images peppered throughout. Here are some great basketball picture books for kids:
Above the Rim: How Elgin Baylor Changed Basketball
Published: October 6, 2020
Hall-of-famer Elgin Baylor was one of basketball’s all-time-greatest players—an innovative athlete, team player, and quiet force for change. One of the first professional African-American players, he inspired others on and off the court. But when traveling for away games, many hotels and restaurants turned Elgin away because he was black. One night, Elgin had enough and staged a one-man protest that captured the attention of the press, the public, and the NBA.
B is for Baller: The Ultimate Basketball Alphabet
Published: October 2, 2018
Featuring dozens of iconic NBA superstars like Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, LeBron James, Wilt Chamberlain, Kobe Bryant, and Steph Curry, B is for Baller is the ultimate alphabet book for young hoops fans—whether they’re taking their first shot at the ABCs or already perfecting their threes! James Littlejohn’s words leap off the page and bring legends to life, while Matthew Shipley’s colorful, stylish illustrations are sure to delight fans young and old. What started as a successful Kickstarter project from two passionate NBA fans is now the perfect read for little ballers everywhere!
My First Book of Basketball
Published: October 9, 2018
My First Book of Basketball, the sixth book in the best-selling Rookie Book series from Sports Illustrated Kids, coaches young kids through the game of basketball with a visual retelling of a professional basketball game—from the jump ball to the game-winning basket! Dribbling, passing, traveling, shooting, dunks, and more are all explained using a fun mix of Sports Illustrated action photography, simple text, a full glossary of terms, and awesome graphics. Illustrated “Rookie” characters—a girl, Gabby, and a boy, Sprat—appear on every page, providing fun facts and simple explanations to help kids better understand the game. Perfect for emerging readers from preschool up, My First Book of Basketball is meant to be a shared reading experience between parents and their little rookies before, during, and after the game.
Published: January 1, 2017
Lucas likes basketball, but he is a ball hog. Can Lucas learn to pass the ball? This Starting Line Reader showcases how to be a team player.
Published: September 9, 2011
Board Books for Little Sports! Now even the smallest of fans can enjoy a book about their favorite sport. Rhyming riddles accompanied by colorful artwork help introduce the game’s simplest, most basic elements.Brad Herzog lives on California’s Monterey Peninsula with his wife, Amy, and his two sons, Luke and Jesse. As a freelance writer, he has won several awards from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, including a Grand Gold Medal for best magazine article of the year. Brad has published more than two dozen books, including two memoirs about his travels through small-town America. A graduate of the Columbus College of Art & Design in Columbus, Ohio, Doug Bowles has been a freelance illustrator for 20 years. In addition to Doug’s illustrations for children, he enjoys working with a wide range of clients in the advertising, corporate and editorial communities. His work has been selected many times in the Society of Illustrators West competition, and he has had several gallery showings. Doug lives in Leawood, Kansas, with his wife and two children.
Published: June 1, 2021
Basketball superstar LeBron James teams up with Bugs Bunny and the Looney Tunes for Space Jam: A New Legacy, the long-awaited reimagining of the original, beloved film. Boys and girls ages 2 to 5 will love this all-new Little Golden Book.
Long Shot: Never Too Small to Dream Big
Published: September 22, 2009
Everybody told Chris that he was too small to play basketball. But he ignored them all…because he had big dreams. And, he loved the game.
Lucy Tries Basketball
Published: September 4, 2019
Lucy and friends are out on the playground when they spot Ava playing basketball with her cousin Jermaine, a professional player. Jermaine calls the kids over for a lesson on the fundamentals of the game and how to play three-on-three When the kids finish, Jermaine invites them to watch him play in a pro game. Lucy, Ava and friends cheer on Jermaine and his teammates, keeping an eye out on the real court for the skills they learned at the playground.
Published: November 1, 2013
When the carnivorous Meat face the herbivorous Grass Clippers, rims are sure to rattle! Ally-oops and rejections are the orders of the day as the dinos play a fast-paced full-court game. No one can establish a lead as the final seconds tick by. The fans are getting tense, and there’s a championship on the line. Which dino will step up and take it to the hoop?
Kids Basketball Chapter Books
Chapter books are important for getting young readers into longer text. Here are some kids basketball chapter books:
Published: May 8, 2018
Fourth-grader Zayd Saleem has some serious hoop dreams. He’s not just going to be a professional basketball player. He’s going to be a star. A legend. The first Pakistani-American kid to make it to the NBA. He knows this deep in his soul. It’s his destiny. There are only a few small things in his way.
For starters, Zayd’s only on the D-team. (D stands for developmental, but to Zayd it’s always felt like a bad grade or something.) Not to mention, he’s a bit on the scrawny side, even for the fourth grade team. But his best friend Adam is on the Gold Team, and it’s Zayd’s dream for the two of them to play together.
His mom and dad don’t get it. They want him to practice his violin way more than his jump shot. When he gets caught blowing off his violin lessons to practice, Zayd’s parents lay down the ultimate punishment: he has to hang up his high tops and isn’t allowed to play basketball anymore.
As tryouts for the Gold Team approach, Zayd has to find the courage to stand up for himself and chase his dream.
Published: August 1, 2012
A captain of the New York Knicks and six-time NBA All-Star describes events from his childhood that inspired his athletic career, describing how he used his basketball skills to defend his friends from a group of bullies and overcame difficult obstacles to achieve his professional ambitions. Simultaneous.
Ellray Jakes Stands Tall
Published: April 12, 2016
There’s a new game in town—basketball! Or in Ellray’s case, pre-basketball. Coach Havens has all the third graders dribbling, passing, and shooting, and he’s quick to compliment EllRay’s skills. No one else seems to notice them, however, and as ‘the shortest kid in the class,’ EllRay is still chosen last for teams at recess. What’s a short guy gotta do to get noticed?? When EllRay comes up with a plan that involves the off-limits teacher’s lounge, everyone does a double take!
Hoop Queen (Kylie Jean)
Published: March 1, 2014
Kylie Jean is usually good at everything she does. Now she’s giving basketball a try. Dribble, pass, and shoot. That sounds simple enough. So how come learning to play basketball is so hard?
Basketball Books for Middle School
This is my sweet spot and so many of these basketball books for middle school are my favorites:
The Great Wall of Lucy Wu
Published: January 1, 2011
Lucy Wu, aspiring basketball star and interior designer, is on the verge of having the best year of her life. She’s ready to rule the school as a sixth grader and take over the bedroom she has always shared with her sister. In an instant, though, her plans are shattered when she finds out that Yi Po, her beloved grandmother’s sister, is coming to visit for several months — and is staying in Lucy’s room. Lucy’s vision of a perfect year begins to crumble, and in its place come an unwelcome roommate, foiled birthday plans, and Chinese school with the awful Talent Chang.
Published: October 26, 2021
After a disastrous field day competition at school, Greg decides that when it comes to his athletic career, he’s officially retired. But after his mom urges him to give sports one more chance, he reluctantly agrees to sign up for basketball.
Tryouts are a mess, and Greg is sure he won’t make the cut. But he unexpectedly lands a spot on the worst team.
As Greg and his new teammates start the season, their chances of winning even a single game look slim. But in sports, anything can happen. When everything is on the line and the ball is in Greg’s hands, will he rise to the occasion? Or will he blow his big shot?
Taking Up Space
Published: May 18, 2021
Sarah loves basketball more than anything. Crushing it on the court makes her feel like she matters. And it’s the only thing that helps her ignore how much it hurts when her mom forgets to feed her.
But lately Sarah can’t even play basketball right. She’s slower now and missing shots she should be able to make. Her body doesn’t feel like it’s her own anymore. She’s worried that changing herself back to how she used to be is the only way she can take control over what’s happening.
When Sarah’s crush asks her to be partners in a cooking competition, she feels pulled in a million directions. She’ll have to dig deep to stand up for what she needs at home, be honest with her best friends, and accept that she doesn’t need to change to feel good about herself.
Related: Alyson Gerber on Taking Up Space
Published: May 4, 2021
Cliques. Crushes. Comics. Middle school.
Ever since Tyler started getting into art and hanging out with Emmie, his friends and teammates have been giving him a hard time. He wonders why can’t he nerd out on drawing and play ball?
Emmie is psyched that she gets to work on a comics project with her crush, Tyler. But she gets the feeling that his friends don’t think she’s cool enough. Maybe it’s time for a total reinvention. . . .
Pippa Park Raises Her Game
Published: February 4, 2020
Life is full of great expectations for Korean American Pippa Park. It seems like everyone, from her family to the other kids at school, has a plan for how her life should look.
When Pippa gets a mysterious basketball scholarship to Lakeview Private, she jumps at the chance to reinvent herself. At school, Pippa juggles old and new friends, a crush, and the pressure to get As and score points while keeping her past and family’s laundromat a secret from her elite new classmates.
But when Pippa begins to receive a string of hateful, anonymous messages via social media, her carefully built persona is threatened. As things spiral out of control, Pippa wonders if she can keep her old and new lives separate, or if she should even try.
My Life as a Potato
Published: March 24, 2020
Ben Hardy believes he’s cursed by potatoes. And now he’s moved to Idaho, where the school’s mascot is Steve the Spud! Yeah, this cannot be good.
After accidentally causing the mascot to sprain an ankle, Ben is sentenced to Spud duty for the final basketball games of the year. But if the other kids know he’s the Spud, his plans for popularity are likely to be a big dud! Ben doesn’t want to let the team down, so he lies to his friends to keep it a secret. No one will know it’s him under the potato suit . . . right?
Stanford Wong Flunks Bigtime
Published: October 1, 2005
Stanford Wong is having a bad summer. If he flunks his summer-school English class, he won’t pass sixth grade. If that happens, he won’t start on the A-team. If *that* happens, his friends will abandon him and Emily Ebers won’t like him anymore. And if THAT happens, his life will be over. Then his parents are fighting, his grandmother Yin-Yin hates her new nursing home, he’s being “tutored” by the world’s biggest nerdball Millicent Min–and he’s not sure his ballpoint “Emily” tattoo is ever going to wash off.
Published: November 16, 2021
Lilico’s life in Japan is going well. She has great friends and is the captain of the school’s basketball team. She’s happy!
Then comes her parents’ news: they’re moving to America! Before she knows it, Lilico finds herself in Brooklyn, New York, forced to start all over. And that won’t be easy with her closest friends thousands of miles away or a school bully who immediately dislikes her.
Luckily, anime-loving Nala and Henry eventually befriend Lilico and with help from them―along with her guardian spirit who looks a lot like her cat, Nicco―Lilico just might figure out where she fits in.
Zayd Saleem, Chasing the Dream
Published: August 25, 2020
Zayd Saleem has serious hoop dreams. He’s going to be a basketball star. A legend. There are only a few small things in his way.
For starters, Zayd’s on the scrawny side and gets stomach aches when he’s nervous. He has to convince his coach that he has what it takes to join his best friend Adam on the elite Gold Team. His mom and dad want him to practice his violin way more than his jump shot. Plus, it doesn’t help that his older sister Zara is amazing at every sport she tries.
But Zayd has a lot going for him, too. His grandmother is willing to supply him with all the mango milkshakes he wants. His grandfather has a few tricks up the sleeve of his velour track suit. And his favorite uncle keeps Zayd laughing, even if it’s sometimes so hard he needs to pee. Zayd’s family, combined with his friends, teammates, and his own determination, means he’s got everything he needs to chase his dream. Will he reach it?
Published: April 2, 2018
Before Josh and Jordan Bell were streaking up and down the court, their father was learning his own moves. Chuck Bell takes center stage as readers get a glimpse of his childhood and how he became the jazz music worshiping, basketball star his sons look up to.
Published: May 25, 2021
Lori Block is dedicated to her fourth-grade basketball team, despite being relegated to an extra period before the real game starts, known as the fifth quarter, where the not-so-good kids play and the points don’t count. That doesn’t matter to Lori though, because working on her skills gives her hints of self-confidence, which is a nice break from feeling awkward and out-of-place in her daily life.
With athletic promise and a dogged determination to keep improving, Lori pursues her passion while navigating awkward social dynamics, her own expectations, and her first overnight away from home. Will her drive allow her to find true courage both on the court, in school, and at home?
Published: August 27, 2019
Deontae “Simp” Wright has big plans for his future. Plans that involve basketball, his best friend, Rollie, and making enough money to get his mom and four younger brothers out of the Cove, their low-income housing project.
Long term, this means the NBA. Short term, it means being a dough boy—getting paid to play lookout and eventually moving up the rungs of the neighborhood drug operation with Rollie as his partner.
Roland “Rollie” Matthews used to love playing basketball. He loved the rhythm of the game, how he came up with his best drumbeats after running up and down the court. But playing with the elite team comes with extra, illegal responsibilities, and Rollie isn’t sure he’s down for that life. The new talented-and-gifted program, where Rollie has a chance to audition for a real-life go-go band, seems like the perfect excuse to stop being a dough boy. But how can he abandon his best friend?
Related: An Interview with Paula Chase, Author of DOUGH BOYS
Nikki on the Line
Published: March 5, 2019
Thirteen-year-old Nikki Doyle’s dreams of becoming a basketball great feel within reach when she’s selected to play on an elite-level club team. But in a league with taller, stronger, and faster girls, Nikki suddenly isn’t the best point guard. In fact, she’s no longer a point guard at all, which leaves her struggling to figure out who she is and how she fits in.
The stress piles on as Nikki’s best friend spends more and more time with another girl on the team, and when her science teacher assigns a family tree project that will be impossible to complete unless Nikki reveals her most embarrassing secret. As if that’s not enough to deal with, to cover the costs of her new team, Nikki has agreed to take care of her annoying younger brother after school to save money on childcare.
As the stakes rise on the basketball court, at school, and at home, Nikki’s confidence plummets. Can she learn to compete at this new, higher level? And how hard is she willing to work to find out?
Planet Middle School
Published: September 13, 2011
For twelve years, Joylin Johnson’s life has been just fine. A game of basketball with the boys-especially her friend Jake-was all it took to put a smile on her face. Baggy jeans, T-shirt, and hair in a ponytail were easy choices. Then, everything suddenly seemed to change all at once. Her best girl friend is now flirting with her best guy friend. Her clothes seem all wrong. Jake is acting weird, and basketball isn’t the same. And worst of all, there is this guy, Santiago, who appears from . . . where? What lengths will Joy go to–and who will she become–to attract his attention?
Published: March 18, 2014
“With a bolt of lightning on my kicks . . .The court is SIZZLING. My sweat is DRIZZLING. Stop all that quivering. Cuz tonight I’m delivering,” announces dread-locked, 12-year old Josh Bell. He and his twin brother Jordan are awesome on the court. But Josh has more than basketball in his blood, he’s got mad beats, too, that tell his family’s story in verse, in this fast and furious middle grade novel of family and brotherhood from Kwame Alexander.
Josh and Jordan must come to grips with growing up on and off the court to realize breaking the rules comes at a terrible price, as their story’s heart-stopping climax proves a game-changer for the entire family.
The Kate In Between
Published: May 18, 2021
Kate McAllister is desperate for a change. Something to hit refresh and erase the pain of her mother leaving town without her. So when a group of popular girls folds Kate into their clique, it feels like the answer to all her problems—even if it means ditching Haddie, her childhood bestie.
But when Kate’s new friends decide that Haddie is their next target, Kate becomes a passive participant in a cruel incident that could have killed Haddie…had Kate not stepped in, at the last minute, and saved her. The next day, a cell phone video of the rescue goes viral, and Kate is hailed a hero. But Kate knows the truth—she was part of the problem—and it’s only a matter of time until the full version of the video is released and everyone knows it too.
With so much at stake, Kate must decide who she wants to be: a liar, a follower, or someone greater.
Related: Claire Swinarski on The Kate in Between
We Are Family
Published: August 31, 2021
Jayden Carr has been training all summer to be ready for Hoop Group—the free afterschool basketball program where his hero, NBA superstar Kendrick King, got his start. But when his beloved coach tells him there’s not going to be a Hoop Group this year, Jayden is heartbroken.
And he’s not the only one. Coach Beck’s daughter, Tamika, was planning to be the first girl ever to start for the squad. Chris King, Kendrick’s only nephew, spent the summer bragging that his uncle was coming home just to watch him play. For Anthony Pierson, Hoop Group was supposed to be his way out of trouble. And for Dexter Donyel, all 4’6” of him, Hoop Group was his chance to finally be part of a team, instead of just watching from the stands.
For each kid, Hoop Group was more than just a chance to ball; it was an escape, a dream, a family. Now their prospects seem all but impossible—but then the world hasn’t met Jayden, Tamika, Chris, Anthony, and Dex before. Determined to have their shot, the five new friends scrap, hustle, fight, and play hard to save their season to prove that sometimes a chance is all it takes.
Published: March 15, 2022
Isaac and Marco already know sixth grade is going to change their lives. But it won’t change things at home—not without each other’s help.
This year, star basketball player Isaac plans on finally keeping up with his schoolwork. Better grades will surely stop Isaac’s parents from arguing all the time. Meanwhile, straight-A Marco vows on finally winning his father’s approval by earning a spot on the school’s basketball team.
But will their friendship and support for each other be enough to keep the two boys from falling short?
YA Books About Basketball
YA books about basketball are often fast-paced and engaging even as they deal with the usual teen issues:
Published: March 17, 2020
Gene understands stories―comic book stories, in particular. Big action. Bigger thrills. And the hero always wins.
But Gene doesn’t get sports. As a kid, his friends called him “Stick” and every basketball game he played ended in pain. He lost interest in basketball long ago, but at the high school where he now teaches, it’s all anyone can talk about. The men’s varsity team, the Dragons, is having a phenomenal season that’s been decades in the making. Each victory brings them closer to their ultimate goal: the California State Championships.
Once Gene gets to know these young all-stars, he realizes that their story is just as thrilling as anything he’s seen on a comic book page. He knows he has to follow this epic to its end. What he doesn’t know yet is that this season is not only going to change the Dragons’s lives, but his own life as well.
Published: April 27, 2021
In the summer of his seventeenth year, Samuel Sooleymon gets the chance of a lifetime: a trip to the United States with his South Sudanese teammates to play in a showcase basketball tournament. He has never been away from home, nor has he ever been on an airplane. The opportunity to be scouted by dozens of college coaches is a dream come true.
Samuel is an amazing athlete, with speed, quickness, and an astonishing vertical leap. The rest of his game, though, needs work, and the American coaches are less than impressed.
During the tournament, Samuel receives devastating news from home: A civil war is raging across South Sudan, and rebel troops have ransacked his village. His father is dead, his sister is missing, and his mother and two younger brothers are in a refugee camp.
Samuel desperately wants to go home, but it’s just not possible. Partly out of sympathy, the coach of North Carolina Central offers him a scholarship. Samuel moves to Durham, enrolls in classes, joins the team, and prepares to sit out his freshman season. There is plenty of more mature talent and he isn’t immediately needed.
But Samuel has something no other player has: a fierce determination to succeed so he can bring his family to America. He works tirelessly on his game, shooting baskets every morning at dawn by himself in the gym, and soon he’s dominating everyone in practice. With the Central team losing and suffering injury after injury, Sooley, as he is nicknamed, is called off the bench. And the legend begins.
But how far can Sooley take his team? And will success allow him to save his family?
Published: March 1, 2007
Michael Arroyo has a pitching arm that throws serious heat along with aspirations of leading his team all the way to the Little League World Series. But his firepower is nothing compared to the heat Michael faces in his day-to-day life. Newly orphaned after his father led the family’s escape from Cuba, Michael’s only family is his seventeen-yearold brother Carlos. If Social Services hears of their situation, they will be separated in the foster-care system—or worse, sent back to Cuba. Together, the boys carry on alone, dodging bills and anyone who asks too many questions. But then someone wonders how a twelve-year-old boy could possibly throw with as much power as Michael Arroyo throws. With no way to prove his age, no birth certificate, and no parent to fight for his cause, Michael’s secret world is blown wide open, and he discovers that family can come from the most unexpected sources.
Published: August 18, 2005
Twelve-year-old Danny Walker may be the smallest kid on the basketball court — but don’t tell him that. Because no one plays with more heart or court sense. But none of that matters when he is cut from his local travel team, the very same team his father led to national prominence as a boy. Danny’s father, still smarting from his own troubles, knows Danny isn’t the only kid who was cut for the wrong reason, and together, this washed-up former player and a bunch of never-say-die kids prove that the heart simply cannot be measured.
Waiting For Spring
Published: July 10, 2018
ONE-ON-ONE Mitsuki has been working so hard to prepare for the school festival that she passes out from exhaustion. When she wakes up, she finds herself in an unfamiliar bed…It turns out to be Aya who’s come to her rescue, like he always used to. Meanwhile, Towa comes to an important realization on his own—he resolves to confess his feelings to Mitsuki, and the day of the school festival may be his best chance!
All the Things We Never Knew
Published: June 9, 2020
From the moment Carli and Rex first locked eyes on a Texas high school basketball court, they both knew it was destiny. But can you truly love someone else if you don’t love yourself? Acclaimed author Liara Tamani’s luminous second novel explores love, family, heartbreak, betrayal, and the power of healing, in gorgeous prose that will appeal to readers of Nicola Yoon and Jacqueline Woodson.
A glance was all it took. That kind of connection, the immediate and raw understanding of another person, just doesn’t come along very often. And as rising stars on their Texas high schools’ respective basketball teams, destined for bright futures in college and beyond, it seems like a match made in heaven. But Carli and Rex have secrets. As do their families.
Here to Stay
Published: September 18, 2018
What happens when a kid who’s flown under the radar for most of high school gets pulled off the bench to make the winning basket in a varsity playoff game?
If his name is Bijan Majidi, life is suddenly high fives in the hallways and invitations to exclusive parties—along with an anonymous photo sent by a school cyberbully that makes Bijan look like a terrorist.
The administration says they’ll find and punish the culprit. Bijan wants to pretend it never happened. He’s not ashamed of his Middle Eastern heritage; he just doesn’t want to be a poster child for Islamophobia. Lots of classmates rally around Bijan. Others make it clear they don’t want him or anybody who looks like him at their school. But it’s not always easy to tell your enemies from your friends.
After the Shot Drops
Published: March 6, 2018
Bunny and Nasir have been best friends forever, but when Bunny accepts an athletic scholarship across town, Nasir feels betrayed. While Bunny tries to fit in with his new, privileged peers, Nasir spends more time with his cousin, Wallace, who is being evicted. Nasir can’t help but wonder why the neighborhood is falling over itself to help Bunny when Wallace is in trouble.
When Wallace makes a bet against Bunny, Nasir is faced with an impossible decision—maybe a dangerous one.
Published: February 20, 2018
For Adam Reed, basketball is a passport. Adam’s basketball skills have taken him from an orphanage in Poland to a loving adoptive mother in Minnesota. When he’s tapped to play on a select AAU team along with some of the best players in the state, it just confirms that basketball is his ticket to the good life: to new friendships, to the girl of his dreams, to a better future.
But life is more complicated off the court. When an incident with the police threatens to break apart the bonds Adam’s finally formed after a lifetime of struggle, he must make an impossible choice between his new family and the sport that’s given him everything.
Justin (Blacktop, #1)
Published: June 7, 2016
Justin has a list of goals stashed under his mattress. Number 1 is “figure out life plans.” Number 5 is “earn Zen Master rating in WoW.” Nowhere on that list is “play the crew from Ghosttown,” but that’s the type of trouble that always seems to finds him.
Last Shot: A Final Four Mystery
Published: December 24, 2008
When Stevie wins a writing contest for aspiring sports journalists, his prize is a press pass to the Final Four in New Orleans. While exploring the Superdome, he overhears a plot to throw the championship game. With the help of fellow contest winner Susan Carol, Stevie has just 48 hours to figure out who is blackmailing one of the star players . . . and why.
John Feinstein has been praised as “the best writer of sports books in America today” (The Boston Globe), and he proves it again in this fast-paced novel.
Basketball Non-Fiction Books
Kids love non-fiction more than I ever expected! If you have a basketball nerd, these non-fiction basketball books will appeal to them.
Swish!: The Slam-Dunking, Alley-Ooping, High-Flying Harlem Globetretters
Published: November 10, 2020
In this book you will find one-finger ball-spinning, rapid-fire mini-dribbling, and a ricochet head shot!
You will find skilled athletes, expert players, and electrifying performers — all rolled into one!
You will find nonstop, give-it-all-you’ve-got, out-to-win-it, sky’s-the-limit BASKETBALL!
Who Is Michael Jordan?
Published: February 5, 2019
Meet the man who changed the game forever. Michael Jordan has always been competitive–even as a young boy, he fought for attention. His need to be the best made him a star player on his college basketball team and helped him become an NBA legend, both for his skills and his endorsements. His Nike contract for Air Jordan basketball shoes set an unmatched precedent for professional athletes. Author Kirsten Anderson takes readers through each exciting moment, detailing the iconic reverse lay-ups and jump shots of Michael Jordan’s storied career.
Becoming Kareem: Growing Up On and Off the Court
Published: November 21, 2017
At one time, Lew Alcindor was just another kid from New York City with all the usual problems: He struggled with fitting in, with pleasing a strict father, and with overcoming shyness that made him feel socially awkward. But with a talent for basketball, and an unmatched team of supporters, Lew Alcindor was able to transform and to become Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Who Was Kobe Bryant?
Published: September 1, 2020
Kobe Bryant was just an eighteen-year-old high-school basketball player when he decided to enter the National Basketball Association’s draft. Though he was the thirteenth overall pick by the Charlotte Hornets, he would never play a single game for them. Instead, Kobe was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, where he would spend his entire twenty-season career, winning five championships and numerous awards. Author Ellen Labreque takes readers through each exciting moment, from his iconic dunks to his 81-point game–all the milestones that span Kobe Bryant’s legendary career and legacy.
Legends: The Best Players, Games, and Teams in Basketball
Published: December 20, 2016
Fast-paced, adrenaline-filled, and brimming with out-of-this-world athleticism, basketball has won the hearts of fans all across America—yet it is particularly popular among kids and teens. Giants of the game like Steph Curry, LeBron, and Michael Jordan have transcended the sport to become cultural icons and role models to young fans. From the cornfields of Indiana and the hills of North Carolina, to the urban sprawl of New York City, Chicago and L.A., love of the game stretches from coast to coast.
Featuring Top Ten Lists to chew on and debate, and a Top 40-style Timeline of Key Moments in Basektball History, this comprehensive collection includes the greatest dynasties, from the Bill Russell-era Celtics, to the Magic Jonson-led Lakers, to the Jordan-led Bulls, right up to the Tim Duncan-led Spurs. All the greats take flight toward the hoop in this perfect book for young fans who dream about stepping on an NBA court.
Stephen Curry: The Boy Who Never Gave Up
Published: August 17, 2016
The Boy Who Never Gave Up is the inspiring true story of NBA superstar Stephen Curry. This Fully illustrated picture book biography tells the story of a young boy who many said was too short to play in high school, too weak to play in college and not good enough to play in the NBA.
Against all odds, this small boy who follows his dream, not only makes it to the NBA, but becomes one of the greatest players to ever play the game of basketball.
Salt in His Shoes: Michael Jordan in Pursuit of a Dream
Published: November 1, 2000
Michael Jordan’s mother and sister team up for this heartwarming and inspirational picture book about faith and hope and how any family working together can help a child make his or her dreams come true.
The mere mention of the name conjures up visions of basketball played at its absolute best. But as a child, Michael almost gave up on his hoop dreams, all because he feared he’d never grow tall enough to play the game that would one day make him famous.
That’s when his mother and father stepped in and shared the invaluable lesson of what really goes into the making of a champion—patience, determination, and hard work.
My Shot: Balancing It All and Standing Tall
Published: March 13, 2018
Elena Delle Donne has always forged her own path. During her first year of college, she walked away from a scholarship and chance to play for Geno Aurriema at UConn—the most prestigious women’s college basketball program—so she could stay in her home state of Delaware and be close to her older sister, Lizzie, who has several disabilities and can only communicate through hand-over-hand signing.
Burned out and questioning her passion for basketball, she attended the University of Delaware and took up volleyball for a year. Eventually she found her way back to her first love, playing basketball for the Blue Hens, ultimately leading them, a mid-major team, to the Sweet Sixteen. She went on to become the second overall selection during the 2013 WNBA draft and the WNBA’s 2015 MVP.
Elena Delle Donne delivers a powerful and motivational story of overcoming the challenges of competitive sports through balancing hard work and the support of a loving family.
There they are 50 of the best basketball books for kids ages 0 and up! Which of these books have you read? Which ones did I miss?
Susan Fullilove says
Would love a “printable” pdf of the basketball list! Is there somewhere on your blog to find it in this format?
Thanks for all the amazing suggestions!
Afoma Umesi says
Hi Susan, please email us at [email protected] and we’ll get one sent your way!