Students Missing Sports? Try These Book and Streaming Suggestions for Grades Four to 12

With school athletics seasons canceled and professional leagues shuttered, students can find comfort in these sports books, movies, and streaming shows.

Young athletes are idle and professional sports leagues shut down for the foreseeable future. Last week, the Little League International canceled all of its regional tournaments along with the baseball and softball World Series, which were scheduled for August. It is the first time the Little League Baseball World Series will not be played since it began nearly 75 years ago.

With no new games on the horizon for athletes or fans in the immediate future, SLJ has curated a list of books, movies, and streaming series to keep the sports-obsessed engaged. (This is by no means a comprehensive list. Please share some of your favorites in the comments section.)

Books with movies

Middle grade and YA

Soccer

Book: "The Kicks" series by Alex Morgan, Gr. 4-6

This series by Olympic and World Cup champion U.S. Soccer star tells the story of a soccer team, practices, games, and friendships. 

Series: The Kicks, Amazon Prime

Book: "The Beautiful Game" series by Narinder Dhami, Gr. 4-7

Tales of an English youth soccer team and the teammates' friends and families.

Movie: Bend It Like Beckham, PG-13

Fans can also turn to Dhami's YA novelization of the movie, Bend It Like Beckham.  

Crossover titles 

Baseball

Book: Eight Men Out by Eliot Asinof

This nonfiction title shares the story of the 1919 Chicago White Sox, who were accused of purposefully losing the World Series for money.

Movie: Eight Men Out, PG

The notorious Black Sox also inspired the novel Shoeless Joe by W. P. Kinsella, which was adapted into the movie Field of Dreams (PG).

Football

This one has it all: the book, movie, and series. 

Book: Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream by H.G. Bissinger

Follow a West Texas high school football team and the small town residents devoted to them.

Movie: Friday Night Lights, PG-13

Series: Friday Night Lights, available on NBC and various streaming services

 

Horseracing

BookSeabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand

Movie: Seabiscuit, PG-13

 

Movies

Baseball

A League of Their Own, PG

Root for Geena Davis and Tom Hanks in this much-loved film about women playing professional baseball while Major League players were fighting in World War II.

The Sandlot, PG

Baseball is the way kids connect in this favorite coming-of-age comedy.

Basketball

Space Jam, PG

With the popularity of the Michael Jordan docuseries "The Last Dance" right now—not to mention Bugs Bunny and the rest of the Looney Tunes crew—this is a winner for the whole family.

Air Bud, PG

Can't go wrong with a golden retriever, a shy, lonely new kid in town dealing with the death of his father, and a bad guy to vanquish.

Hoosiers, PG

Based on a true story, this movie about a former big-time college basketball coach and his new players at a rural Indiana high school will have even the non-basketball fans cheering.

Tennis

Battle of the Sexes, PG-13

The story of the 1973 tennis match between Billie Jean King, played by Emma Stone, and Bobby Riggs, played by Steve Carell.

 

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Kara Yorio

Kara Yorio (kyorio@mediasourceinc.com, @karayorio) is news editor at School Library Journal.

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William Latham

Friday Night Lights is a FAN FAVORITE in the Powells Boys Household. We are a family of three different sport love, Cross Country, Football, and Baseball respectively and Friday Night Lights is a nice story of teamwork, friendships, and what it means to be a student of the game you love!

Posted : May 06, 2020 10:53


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