Media Reviews: Librarian-Approved Sports and Activity-Themed Books for Kids

These recommended reads from Columbus Metropolitan Library plus the GoNoodle app will interest kids of all ages.

Amanda Stephen Fister
The Camping Trip

The Camping Trip by Jennifer K. Mann

An excellent choice both for kids who love camping and those who have never gone, this picture book follows Ernestine as she embarks on her first camping trip. After excitedly packing for the trip and a long ride out of the city, Ernestine, her cousin and aunt arrive in the wilderness. Ernestine discovers some elements of camping are more difficult than expected but she perseveres and discovers the many joys of time in the wilderness. The playful illustrations are a mixture of traditional drawings, subtle collage components and comic book elements. FOR AGES 3-7

Above the Rim: How Elgin Baylor Changed Basketball by Jen Bryant, illustrated by Frank Morrison

This beautifully illustrated biography of pioneering basketball Hall of Fame player Elgin Baylor can be enjoyed by a wide range of ages. Starting with Baylor’s childhood, the text traces how he developed his unique style, joined the still predominately white NBA and fought for equality. The refrain “people stopped what they were doing and watched” is used for both for Baylor’s actions and those of other civil-rights activists. A bibliography, which includes suggested reading and videos and a timeline of events from Baylor’s life, career and moments in the civil rights movement, can be found at the end of the book. FOR AGES 5-12

On Your Mark, Get Set, Gold! An Irreverent Guide to the Sports of the Summer Games

On Your Mark, Get Set, Gold! An Irreverent Guide to the Sports of the Summer Games by Scott Allen, illustrated by Antoine Corbineau

This visually engaging book is educational and enjoyable to browse. Each Summer Olympic and Paralympic sport receives its own two-page spread. An overview of each sport and its rules and history are included, along with positive and negative aspects of the games. In addition, each sport has a “sound like a pro” box with unique slang and a sliding scale showing the difficulty of excelling. This is a great title to have on hand while watching the Olympics or for curious kids who love sports and games. FOR AGES 8 AND OLDER


Chirp by Kate Messner

When Mia and her parents move to Vermont, she is happy to be getting a fresh start after a gymnastics injury. Mia has kept busy with day camps, making friends and trying to solve the mystery of who is sabotaging her grandmother’s cricket farm. However, she finds herself frequently thinking of the secret that led to her injury and trying to gather the courage to speak out. This book is a mystery, a coming-of-age tale and a female-empowerment story all in one. FOR AGES 10 AND OLDER

Furia by Yamile Saied Méndez

This powerful #OwnVoices title follows Argentine teenager Camila “la Furia” Hassan as she navigates the expectations of society and her deep desire to set her own path. Hassan is a talented fútbol player, but hides her playing from her traditional parents, especially her abusive father. Her team earns a spot in a tournament that will allow her to be seen by scouts from North America, where she dreams of playing, but she needs parental permission to participate. As Hassan tries to figure out how to get permission, her first love returns to town and presents another vision of the future. Hassan must decide where her true passion lies and what she is willing to do in order pursue it. This is a story of a girl seeking to break free of the constraints her family, country and socioeconomic class place on her. FOR TEENS

Try This Website and App

GoNoodle and

GoNoodle features musical movement videos that can be used with an app or a website. Kids practice fine- and gross-motor skills, coordination and balance while learning a little and having fun. There is content to burn energy, lift moods, calm bodies and practice mindfulness. The videos can be used for short movement breaks or for longer dance parties and challenges. The app version is available for iOS and Android.

Amanda Stephen Fister is an information services specialist at the Gahanna branch of Columbus Metropolitan Library.