Book reviews - sport

'Inspire a generation' was the motto of the London 2012 Olympic Games. It was hoped that there would be a rise in interest for sport, and the excellent results for Team GB in the Rio Olympics certainly point in that direction. Here we have a selection of books to encourage this and to ensure the Games leave a lasting legacy.

Football Heroes

Rebranded with a new series name Football Heroes, the books have been given redesigned covers with fresh new illustrations by Dan Leydon evoking the excitement and passion of the pitch. These fantastic biographies, written in narrative style for young readers bring each player’s unique journey to life, from their first footballing experiences as children to their greatest moments playing for club and country. Each title now fits into a new colour scheme based on the player’s current team allowing readers to easily identify and collect players from their favourite clubs. Plus, each book now features fantastic additional content including player profiles, statistics and timelines. Perfect to get boys reading.

Neymar Ultimate Fan Book by Nick Callow

Of course, it's far from being the case that sports fans are not great readers, but often the more active children are the ones who also need encouraging to read. Both are essential activities - we want o encourage our young people to get active and enjoy sport and we also want them to enjoy reading - so combine the two by encouraging them to read about famous sportspeople and then enjoying sport. The excellent highly visual presentation of this series of books will really encourage reading and children will find that the life of Neymar is packed with inspiration. From growing up in Brazil, his first few years with Santos and then Brazil's national team, readers will be inspired to learn how, all by the age of 21, Neymar became a footballing superstar. It's right up-to-date, including the final one of the 2015 UEFA Champions League final and his stunning efforts as Brazil won the 2016 Olympic Games gold medal.

Lionel Messi the Ultimate Fan Book by Mike Perez

This is building up to be a great series for all football fans, young and old, with fascinating insights and inspirational life stories. Lionel Messi is widely regarded as the world's greatest footballer - maybe even of all time. Illustrated throughout, the book charts his incredible career, exploring his early years in Argentina through to him becoming a four-time Champions League winner, five-time FIFA World Player of the Year and a winner of eight Spanish La Liga championships; right up-to-date and written in a lively, buzzing style that kids will love, and filled with fun features, fantastic photographs and enlightening quotes, Lionel Messi: The Ultimate Fan Book celebrates La Pulga Atomica's (The Atomic Flea's) greatest moments and most famous goals, and gives readers a special insight into how he has become the world's greatest footballer.

Cristiano Ronaldo: The Ultimate Fan Book by Iain Spragg

Wow! Young (and not-so-young) football fans are going to be over the moon with these books! This book is right up-to-date to his glorious summer of 2016 with victories in both the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA European Championship. It's is chock-a-block with facts and stats, as well as 100 stunning action-packed photographs. Readers will learn about Cristiano Ronaldo's childhood, early career, glory with Manchester United and his move to Real Madrid. His skills are all described and the book is highly readable and a great way to encourage reading in children who are sporty but not keen readers.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic: The Ultimate Fan Book by Adrian Besley

The subtitle 'Ultimate Fan Book' is definitely justified, as the book really does include everything you could want to know. With instant appeal, the book is packed with photos and is excellently laid out to encourage both browsing or reading from beginning to end. Readers will learn about Ibrahimovic's childhood growing up in Sweden, and joining his home-town team, FF Malmo. He then moved on to the European stage, starring for clubs in the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, France and England. Discover how he honed his incredible technique, his instinctive eye for goal, ability to sniff out a chance and became a global superstar. Another super book.

 Champions League Fact File by Clive Gifford

Young football fans - and their parents - are going to love this lively fact and action packed comprehensive look at the Champions League. the UEFA Champions League is the most exciting annual football tournament on the planet and now fans can watch the games from a far more informed viewpoint. Going back to the early days, readers will learn all about the early years of the European Cup, discover what it takes to progress through the rounds to the final, then get all the need-to-know facts and figures about the tournament's legendary players, from Antoine Griezmann to Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Packed with information, this is perfect for every football fan.

Football Record Breakers by Clive Gifford

Football fans will be in their element with this colourful, fact-filled book. From the FIFA World Cup and UEFA European Championships to the record-breakers of Serie A, the Bundesliga and the Premier League, football's record-breaking stars from all around the world are here. This book is packed with thousands of eye-popping stats about incredible trophy-winning teams and legendary goalscorers from around the globe, and contains all the need-to-know facts and figures from the 2014 FIFA World Cup and EUFA Euro 2016. Full of action photos, the book is excellently illustrated. Perfect for setting and answering quiz questions!td>

On Your Bike: All You Need to Know About Cycling for Kids by Chris Hoy

Who better than an Olympic cycling champion to explain to children all they need to know about cycling - and to enthuse them to get on their bikes? This book, with its practical spiral binding, is a comprehensive guide to choosing, maintaining and making the most of their bike. Throughout the book, there are top tips and tricks from Sir Chris Hoy; throughout the book is entertaining as well as informative. The Flying Fergus characters (superbly illustrated by Clare Elsom) assist Sir Chris in teaching children about bikes, and a scrapbook-style collage of nostalgic snapshots from his own childhood add interest. There are technical drawings, diagrams and practical photography, all of which go to ensure children really understand how their bike works, how to look after themselves when riding, and how to gain the maximum enjoyment as well as health benefits. How to Choose Your Bike; Bike Maintenance; tricks, games and a Fill-In-Your-Own Cycling Log - it truly is a comprehensive book, and really engagingly written. Perfect for every young cyclist, aspiring champion or not.

Yoga For You: Feel Calmer, Stronger, Happier by Rebecca Rissman

Far from being a boring handbook, this introduction to Yoga, which is aimed specifically at 'tween' readers, has a lively magazine-style presentation which makes it very appealing to the age group. The book starts with advice which shows the value of yoga to tweens and teens. Demonstrating a wide variety of poses relax, each page has a diagram showing the pose and step-by-step instructions; the Sanskrit name is also included. The book shows the wide-ranging benefits of yoga including how it improves posture and fitness, and how it relieves stress. Clear and easy to follow, this is an excellent guide.

Football Crazy from Carlton Kids

This fabulous book all about 'the beautiful game' is packed with information and exceptional graphics about all aspects of football around the world. Topics to wonder at include amazing goals, tantalising tricks, brilliant saves, embarrassing mistakes, ludicrous haircuts and ghastly shirts. The book is arranged by themes - the joy of the game; the players; the rules; matches; bosses; football fans and a fascinating random selection to conclude. Mixing the brilliant with the bonkers; you will laugh aloud at many of the items. The book has super photos, and the appealing layout really attracts attention. Without generalising too much, it can often be the active sports-mad children who are less likely to sit down with a book, so this colourful and engaging book could be just the one to get them reading; mums and dads will find plenty of interest too, so set a good example and let your kids see you reading.

My First Tennis Book (First Sports) from Sterling Publishing

This simple and colourful board book is the ideal way to introduce young readers to the key terms in tennis. From ball and racket to service and ace, bright photos show young players demonstrating the elements of tennis. Just one word or phrase is used for each picture, so children can identify what is happening and learn to recognise words. Glossy pages and a tactile cover give the book child-appeal. Published by Sterling Children's Books, June 2016, 978-1454919759.
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The Step-by-step Training Manual of Soccer Skills & Techniques from Armadillo Books

The subtitle of this book is: Hundreds of Training Tips and Techniques, with Easy-to-follow Instructions in Over 750 Photographs and Diagrams - and that gives you a picture of how comprehensive the book is. Starting with the basics - passing, ball control, running... it moves on to tactics - the sweeper, the centre back, the full back... and concludes with that essential, fitness - exercise dos and dont's, warm-ups, stretches... Every step of the way, you will find step-by-step photos with annotations which clearly show and explain the techniques. The book is excellently presented and there are useful factboxes to add to the informative and readable text. The balance between text and pictures is good, and explanations start with basics and go on to give plenty of detail, making this very thorough book suitable for a range of players - and even coaches, who will find the clear explanations helpful to pass on to their young team members. Highly recommended, this would make an excellent present for every young soccer player - it's great value too

Match! Joke Book from Macmillan Children's Books

Here's some light relief if, dare I say it, things don't go too well with the football. Whatever happens, this book will be great fun to share while you are watching... or at school... or on long journeys. It will have everyone in fits of giggles (or groans) with its hilarious mix of football quips, puns, knock-knock jokes and shaggy dog stories. "What do you do if you're too hot at a football match? Sit next to a fan." "We tried playing in those new paper shirts last week. What are they like? Tear-able." There are plenty of amusing illustrations too. Great for all the family.

UEFA EURO 2016 Activity and Colouring Book by Russell McLean

Get ready for the excitement of Euro 2016 with this fun-packed activity and sticker book. There are star players to colour in, plus spot the difference games, dot to dots, colouring, matching, word searches and more, all based on UEFA EURO 2016. There are over 100 colourful football stickers to use with the activities as well. There are also charts to keep track of the scores - and a sticker cup for to show the winner. This book, and the one below, is an Official licensed product of UEFA EURO 2016 so you can be sure it is authentic and accurate. Perfect for young football fans.

UEFA EURO 2016 Fact File by Clive Gifford

Young football fans will find everything they need to know in this in-depth guide. There are team and player profiles, with photos of team line-ups and the players in action. The 24 finalists are here, plus a round-up of players to watch. There's lots of information on every page including Fact Files and Super Stats plus an assessment of the likely outcome for each team; the layout is bright and appealing. There's background information too with special features on the stadiums, quizzes and match schedules to complete. This book is an excellent way to encourage reluctant readers to enjoy reading and they are, of course, especially good for those boys who don't enjoy reading or who prefer to read non-fiction.

Top Of The League by Andrea Mills

There's going to be plenty of attention given to football in the summer of 2016, and this fact-filled book will have plenty to engage the interest of any football fan. It's crammed with facts and information about the world of football and its biggest leagues and tournaments. There are star players and dream teams, clever managers, fanatical fans, memorable matches and incredible goals to be marvelled at and remembered. There are tips for young players too, as well as information about the rules and about refereeing. Amusing graphics and photographs bring the amazing facts to life, creating action-packed spreads which football fans will relish.

Kid Athletes: True Tales of Childhood from Sports Legends (Kid Legends) by David Stabler

This is an ideal book for any child who wonders how top sportspeople grew up to find success in the sporting arena. These are true tales of overcoming adversity with accounts of a wide range of athletes, including Babe Ruth, Mia Hamm, Muhammad Ali, the Williams sisters, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Michael Jordan and Cristiano Ronaldo. Illustrated with Doogie Horner's whimsical illustrations bringing the stories alive. Interesting and inspiring, it's a good way to show young people how to succeed despite obstacles.

Ommie and the Magical Garden by Sirkka Fisk

Ommie and The Magical Garden is an active story telling yoga book for children aged 3-7. The story tells of Ommie finding a gate that leads into an enchanted garden. Here he meets lots of fun animals. He talks to the animals, learning poses as he goes, seeking to find out more about this magical place which leads him to an unexpected conclusion. The story making learning and remembering the poses easy and it's a fun story too.

The Official Rugby World Cup 2015 Fact File by Clive Gifford

Here are two great books for fans gearing up for the 2015 Rugby World Cup. These are the official guides, so you know they can be relied on. There are easy-to-follow team and star player profiles, complemented by outstanding big-match photographs in what is the only official IRB-endorsed Rugby World Cup 2015 companion for children - who will be able to amaze their friends with their in-depth knowledge. illustrated with over 100 amazing images, all 20 finalists are featured together with profiles of star players including Chris Robshaw, Richie McCaw, Thierry Dusautoir and many more. They can read special features on the stadiums, complete the fill-in progress chart and solve the many fun puzzles, quizzes and games, all based around Rugby World Cup. It's a super variety and a good way to encourage those who don't generally enjoy reading to pick up a book - they will soon be hooked.

The Official Rugby World Cup 2015 Activity Book by Tasha Percy

The perfect complement to the book above; rugby fans cab learn the information and then transfer it to this fun-filled activity book; of course, you'll need to keep up-to-date with all the matches to be able to complete the book, right up to the final at Twickenham. As excitement builds in the run-up to the world's biggest-ever rugby tournament, young fans will love getting creative with this fun-packed official book that includes over 100 reusable stickers. It's bursting with Rugby World Cup-themed puzzles, games, doodles, on-the-page activities, amazing rugby facts, and stickers - all featuring star players from around the globe. This action-packed and colourful book is the perfect gift for any young rugby fan. Books like this are fun and informative; they also help with learning skills too.

Goal!: Football Around the World by Caio Vilela

A celebration of a game which unites people from all around the world, this book truly shows the international nature of this game. Wherever it is played, sometimes on a top quality football pitch, sometimes in the desert, sometimes on the street, it unites people and brings them together to enjoy the game. With stunning action photographs from 15 countries, this uplifting book shows the joy of football, wherever it is played, as well as its ability to unite children across the globe. It truly is a celebration and shows what any sport should mean - unity, fun and the joy of playing.

50 Football Skills from Usborne Books

This comprehensive yet compact book covers all aspects of the game and gives an excellent overview of the skills. Each skill is described an illustrated and the opposite page features more tips on using the technique in actual play. Everything is clearly explained and the diagrammatic illustrations are easy to follow. There's enough detail to make the book useful for coaching junior teams but it's easy to follow for dads who want to give their boys (and girls) a basic knowledge of the skills. It's an attractive book too, so even those who don't generally enjoy books will be attracted to it.

The Story of the World Cup by Richard Brassey

One of the best writers around of children's non fiction brings us an engrossing account of the history of the World Cup. It's packed with facts to inform, amuse and entertain fans of all ages and guarantees some talking points whenever the World Cup is under discussion. From the very first football games played by the Ancient Greek and Romans right up to the 2010 World Cup, we learn all about the game and its players through light-hearted text and engaging pictures. An excellent short read which is guaranteed a well-deserved wide audience in this World Cup year.

Football Mad 4-in-1 by Alan MacDonald and others

Four great stories for football lovers in one excellent value bind-up: Mark's Dream Team; Nice One, Sam! There's Only One Danny Ogle and The Worst Team in the World. It's a good mix of lively stories with different approaches to story-telling so the young reader (age 7+) will be kept interested and involved. The action-packed stories are perfect for the slightly reluctant reader who will be attracted by the football theme. Why not start by sharing them as bedtime stories to encourage your child to continue reading them alone?

Charlie Merrick's Misfits in Fouls, Friends, and Football by Dave Cousins

Got a young football fan who struggles to engage with books? Give him or her this and things may well change! Like many people, Charlie dreams of being at the World Cup so when he discovers that youth teams are being selected to play in exhibition matches at the World Cup he decides to enter North Star. Trouble is, his team aren;t exactly very good at football! This book is about Charlie's competition entry for his team to play a warm-up match at the World Cup - it's a great story of football and friendship, packed with hilarious doodles, true facts, and match reports and it will be a must-read for all young football fans. Publication May 2014.

Fitter, Faster, Funnier Football by Michael Cox

Plenty of fun facts here to keep football fans interested - all the questions they may have wanted to ask but didn't quite dare and some quite amazing facts. There are lots of fun quizzes - how about the World Cup football jargon quiz? Could be a good book for non-fans who want to be able to talk to football fans about their favourite game. The book has an excellent index so the reader can easily refer back to it to answer questions.

First Sport: Football by James Nixon

Football - the world's most popular team sport and a topic which should get even the most reluctant reader interested in books. Starting with the basics, the book goes on to cover tackling, dribbling, taking corners and free kicks. Packed with action photos and with an easy to read text, this is an excellent introduction. Key terms are explained in boxes - a more accessible approach for young children than a glossary. This is one in the First Sport series which looks at equipment, basic rules and, importantly, keeping safe..

Football Focus: World Cup by Clive Gifford

Put this book out on display in the library and it will be seized on very quickly, especially in 2014! Starting with the first World Cup in 1930 right up to the preparations for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, this is a comprehensive look at a great sporting event. Find out how qualifying rounds work, see where the matches will be held in 2014 and read about previous winners. A good book for anyone who follows the World Cup as it gives a good insight and helps understanding of how it all works - non enthusiasts may well like to read it so they can join in with the excitement!

Sporting Skills: Rugby by Clive Gifford

Found yourself watching rugby and wondering what's going on? Then this is the book for you - clear and understandable, it explains the skills, techniques, training, clothing, equipment - even diet. A particular feature of this book and one which will really help young rugby players, lies in the extensive use of action photos which show very clearly the steps of the different techniques - accompanied of course, by good descriptions. The glossary explains all the terms you may hear in commentary and the index will help you locate topics quickly.

EDGE : Ultimate 20: Footballers by Tracey Turner

20 legendary football stars from around the world offer a sporting challenge that will engage even reluctant readers. One in a series that has the innovative card-game-based design which allows readers to compete against each other by choosing their star and then seeing which is the highest ranking as shown by the stats in the book on goals, career length, international caps and more. It can also, of course, be enjoyed as a football fact book - and the savvy reader will read it first and then choose his (or her) football star. Dramatic action-packed photos make the book even more enjoyable.

Black History Makers: Sports People by Adam Sutherland

Some of the very best sports people in the world are here - Kelly Holmes, the Williams Sisters and Jesse Owens, to mention but a few. There is a short biography of each, outlining their childhood, struggles and achievements. The headers are a little different for each person, so that rather than sticking to a format which works better for some than for others, suitable coverage is here for each person. For may, there is a quote showing how they feel about their race. Plenty of information here, along with photos and fact files; just enough to encourage children to go off and discover more.

Taekwondo (Sporting Skills) by Clive Gifford

Taekwondo is an international and fast-growing sport which became a medal sport in the Olympics for the first time in 2000. There are now taekwondo schools and students in more than 180 countries around the world. Using step by step photos which clearly demonstrate each stage this book will help beginners learn the basics before moving on to more advanced techniques which are also covered. It is the photos which make this book so good, as they are clear and easy to copy, giving opportunity for practising at home. There is also advice and information on training, clothing, equipment, diet and team play. Ideal for anyone just setting out in the sport and, along with the other books in the series, it's an excellent way to decide which sport you want to play.

All About the World Cup by Nick Hunter

Inevitably, there's bound to be a huge amount of interest in the World Cup, so it's great to capitalise on this and encourage children to enjoy reading about it - and hopefully to get out and play themselves too. The book is aimed at KS1 level, so the main information is basic but with plenty of additional facts to interest fans of all ages. There are lots of colour photos and children will like to look out for their favourite players.

The Commonwealth Games by Nick Hunter

This is the ideal introduction to the Commonwealth Games - it starts with the history of the games; continues by describing the symbols and ceremonies and goes on to outline the achievements of the different countries. Para sports are included, plus information about the host city, Glasgow. It's an excellent overview, a good basis for topic work on the games and an interesting read, packed with colour photos.

The Winter Olympics by Nick Hunter

It seems unbelievable that we are now thinking about the forthcoming Winter Olympics, to be held in Sochi, Russia in 2014. Believe it or not, here is a book to get you in the mood for winter sports. This book traces the origin of the Winter Olympics from the introduction of figure skating at the 1908 London Olympics and their establishment as a full event from the 1920s. This book is an excellent way to engender enthusiasm and raise awareness of the event, with its plethora of photographs and fascinating facts.

Figure Skating (Winter Sports - Ignite) by Claire Throp

Graceful and seemingly effortless to the watcher, figure skating is a demanding discipline. Top-level figure skaters are some of the strongest, most technically skilled athletes anywhere.History of the sport, equipment and techniques are described and there's a quiz for fun. An interesting insight into what is perhaps one of the lesser-known sports, but one which may be available to many - perhaps inspired by starting on one of multitude of rinks which spring up around Christmas.
 
 

Jessica Ennis (Sport Files) by Michael Hurley

An inspirational athlete's life depicted in engaging text and vivid (and often emotional) photographs. Find out how Jessica's career in athletics started and how she overcame a horrific injury. The book follows her road to success at the 2012 Olympics from her recovery from that injury to that amazing win on 'Super Saturday'. Find out how she felt and what has happened since. A very enjoyable book, attractively presented.

Sport (The World in Infographics) by Jon Richards

"Welcome to the world of infographics! This exciting form of data visualisation uses icons, pictograms and graphics to present information in a whole new way." This is a very enticing format, perfect for today's technology-savvy children - they will warm to the presentation and it will stimulate them to adopt some of the concepts when presenting their own work.  Marvel at world records, the science of sprints, the technology and science used by paralympians and fascinating facts about football. Highly visual and will appeal to readers of all abilities, and there are some amazing and memorable facts here.

Freestyle BMX (Radar) by Isabel Thomas

An exciting and relatively new sport is the subject of this colourful book. The high-adrenalin thrill of freestyle BMX is creating a stir on the extreme sports scene. It includes the real life story of young BMX pro and an interview with a biking expert who provides the low-down on this awesome sport. And for those keen to try the sport, there are step by step guides to super BMX stunts and moves. The Freestyle Speak and Glossary will ensure the young enthusiast has all the correct terms to hand! Fully illustrated and attractively presented.

Bradley Wiggins: My Story by Bradley Wiggins

'Wiggo' had a wonderful year in 2012, winning the Tour de France and becoming Britain's most decorated Olympian - and winning himself many, many fans on the way. Find out how he became a cycling champion, about his childhood and his journey to success. This is an inspiring story, made even more interesting by the inclusion of plenty of photos, maps and diagrams.

The Fact or Fiction Behind Football (Truth or Busted) by Adam Sutherland

A fascinating look inside the game of football, which takes common myths about the game, finds out how they originated and whether the myth is true or false. We've all heard that 'World War One was stopped for a game of football' - but did it really happen? Packed with intriguing facts, it will be enjoyed by all football fans, young or old, and will give them plenty to talk about. The title also has fascinating features such as highest transfer fees around the world or cool David Beckham facts, as well as a mini quiz on football teams and their grounds!

Street Football (Radar) by Paul Mason and Sarah Eason 

The awesome creativity of street football is taking the world of urban street sports by storm - make sure it's on your radar! Among many other accounts, the book includes a real life story of a young, talented street footballer, a story featuring a world class professional street footballing duo and a 5-minute interview with an expert in the street football scene. The techniques of the game are well described. The variety provided by this approach is very encouraging to those who may not be avid readers - they can pick the book up and dip in and out, and they will be attracted by the bright, up to the minute layout.

Football (Get Sporty) by Edward Way

The perfect introduction to football for young players, the book tells them all the need to know to start playing football. Step-by-step photos show you the moves, there are top tips on improving and pro play panels show top players demonstrating their skills in matches. The photos are excellent for demonstrating the skills and I am sure boys will be encouraged to get out and try them out. Attractively presented, a great gift for any young or aspiring footballer.

 London 2012 Olympic Games - the Greatest Show on Earth from Carlton Books

This is 'An official day-by-day photographic celebration' of the wonderful 2012 Olympic Games. Whether or not you were lucky enough to see the Games in person, or whether you followed the athletes on TV, this is a must-have souvenir of a fantastic celebration of sport. Starting with the Opening Ceremony, the book takes the reader through the Games day by day, with a particular emphasis on Team GB's successes. Each day includes the medals on offer, accounts of all the action, special moments and world records.The photos are stunning and really bring back the wonder of the Games, especially that stunning Opening Ceremony. The book concludes with a medal count and a complete list of medal winners. The only thing missing, I felt, was an index, but6 that's a minor issue given the plethora of information and memories to enjoy .

So You Want to be Captain? by Declan Gane

This is a great way to build on the Olympic ideal of encouraging children and young people to participate in sport. It's a big responsibility being captain, whether it's in a school team or for your country. This book is full of advice and tips on how to be a great captain and lead your team to success, in what can be a lonely role. Famous sportspeople have contributed their words of wisdom to add to the interest and value of the book. Not only for captains - it is also an excellent way for all young players to gain an insight into the role of their captain. Well written, this is an interesting and enjoyab;e read.

 The Story of the Olympics (Young Reading Series 2) by Minna Lacey

This book, carefully planned for young readers, gives younger children an ideal opportunity to share in the excitement surrounding the Olympic Games, as they learn about the history of The Olympics, from the traditional games of Ancient Greece, through the revival by Pierre de Coubertin and on to the thrills of the 21st century Games. The colourful illustrations are packed with detail and give plenty of opportunity for discussion and extension of understanding.

Flaming Olympics by Michael Coleman

Want to organise an Olympic quiz? With 300 hundred questions, covering every aspect of Olympic sport, this is the book you need! Packed with fascinating trivia, you'll have plenty to talk about when the Games start if you have read this entertaining book, which is great for all ages. What was the perilous pig chase? Which sport includes the 'naked strangle'? How did Tarzan become a gold medal winner? Find out in this illuminating guide to nearly 3000 years of the games. Full of amusing illustrations too.

Sam and Ruby's Olympic Adventure by Tony Bradman

Reading age: 8 Interest age: 9-12.
Badly behaved pupils Sam and Ruby hate work and avoid it at all costs. But if they want to go on the school trip, they must complete an assignment on the Olympics. Surprisingly, it is far from boring as they find themselves enjoying an adventure which brings to life the original Greek version of the Games. Two lively characters make entertaining stars of this time-travel book. Barrington Stoke always engage the attention of their readers, by ensuring the stories are fast-paced, often with cliff-hangers at the end of chapters to keep the reader motivated.

Does Farting Make You Faster? (Science Museum) by Glenn Murphy 

The title may not appeal to adults, but will be a sure-fire hit with children! Find out the answers to all sorts of sporting questions with this fact-filled book and amaze your friends! Why don’t hammer-throwers get dizzy? Could the world’s fastest swimmer catch a jet-ski? How far can a human being run or cycle before they drop? Which nutter invented the ski jump?

The Olympics: History by Moira Butterfield

Find out the origins of the modern day Olympics and how the Games have evolved over time. Lots of information is complemented by excellent photos and fact boxes. All the books in the series include teaching notes and literacy guidelines. Each title of The Olympics examines the the Olympic Games from ancient times, then the revival of the 1890s through to today's multi-million pound business. From the history of the games to which events are included and why, and from scandals to record breakers, The Olympics puts the reader at the centre of the action with fact-packed text, dramatic full-colour photos, facts and statistics.

The Olympics: Records by Moira Butterfield

People enjoy reading about records so this is an interesting read, and one that generates plenty to talk about as well as questions and answers ideal for quizzes! This series makes an excellent project resource for KS2/KS3 and should be part of every school library - make the most of young peoples' interest in the Olympics to get them reading - and to encourage them to spend more time on sport. Free downloads are available at www.franklinwatts.co.uk

 Fitter, Faster, Funnier Olympics by Michael Cox

It's all here - everything you want to know about the Olympics! Written in a way that will appeal to even the most reluctant reader, this book presents some amazing facts about the Olympics - many of them are almost certain to be things you have never heard before! From unbelievable tales of triumph to incredible facts about Olympic athletes, this is an aspirational, informative, interactive and hilarious guide to the Olympics. Entertaining illustrations and plenty of activities to undertake mean there are hours of fun here for any age.

 Olympic Poems - 100% Unofficial by Brian Moses and Roger Stevens

A great way to get children in the right mood for the Olympics, this is a funny and inspiring collection of poetry. Winning and losing; playing as a team or an individual, taking part and not having the right kit - something for all eventualities. From the egg-and-spoon race to the Mens' 100m - whatever level, it's taking part that counts. A wide ranging and entertaining collection which will stimulate discussion and hopefully inspire some poetry writing in the classroom.

When Granny Won Olympic Gold and Other Medal Winning Poems chosen by Graham Denton

Ideal for 8-12 year olds and perfect for classroom use in the build up to the Olympic Games, as well as a lovely book for children to enjoy at home. A good mixture of humorous rhymes along with moving and thought-provoking poems. Many different forms of poetry feature in this collection - haiku, cinquain, limerick and many more. Hopefully, this will inspire children to write their own Olympic poetry!

Olympics from Ancient Greece to the Present Day (Through Time) by Richard Platt

The Olympic Games from their revival in 1896 up until the London Games of 2012 - I would challenge the title of this book! An interesting variant on the contents page is displaying it in the form of a timeline - a good device for showing where everything fits in. The Games of 1900, 1936 and 1960 are included. The focus of the book is really on the games from 1960 with all the Games covered (except 1976).  The book explores the impact of the Games on each host nation as well as the key social, political and cultural events of the time. The text is set against full colour pictures of the Games in question and is packed with facts and information. A colourful and attractive book.
 

Prof. Zacharias Zog's Splat-A-Fact Olympics Activity Book

Professor Zog really does produce some entertaining titles and this is no exception. Just in time for the 2012 Olympics, this is a great way to get children into the mood to enjoy the great sporting spectacle. The range of activities in this big book is huge - I particularly like the story writing activities such as the comic strips to complete. There are also lots of pages to help develop drawing skills and plenty of puzzles. Something here for everyone - not forgetting the corny jokes which will have everyone groaning! 

Olympic Champions (The Olympics) by Nick Hunter

What makes an Olympic champion? From past champions Usain Bolt and Jessica Ennis to Michael Phelps and Tom Daley, this book looks at potential champions and how they achieve their goals. Nine sporting stars are featured, covering a range of disciplines including rowing, cycling and tennis. The Olympics is a seres of books from Wayland written especially for the 2012 Olympics and the series is a great way to engage children in what is happening. One of the aims of the 2012 Olympics is to engage young people more with sport, and these books will help with that.
 

 

The Paralympics (The Olympics) by Nick Hunter

This book looks at the Paralympics, from the athletes and the sports to the stadiums and the spectators. In recent years, the Paralympics have developed a higher profile and it's good to see a whole book for children dedicated to them. Find out about the development of the Paralympics, the sports, the people who take part and what it takes to be able to partake in the events. Packed with facts, colourful photographs and fascinating snippets of information, this is a great way to raise interest in, and awareness of The Paralympics.

The Story of the Olympics by Richard Brassey

The comic strip format of this book sets it apart from others and will enable it to be memorable. It's a great book to dip into - find out about the Olympic Games in Ancient Greece and the modern Olympics. Packed with snippets of information - perfect for keeping friends and family informed and plenty to talk about during the games. Lots of lesser-known facts, all amusingly presented and enhanced by the comical illustrations. The champions, the scandals, the records - they're all here. Great fun! 

 Athletics (Olympic Sports) by Clive Gifford

Packed with fascinating details, each aspect of athletics is covered, mainly on two page spreads each of which has photos of the event, a description and fact boxes. There is a useful glossary and an extensive list of websites for further research. We all hope that the Olympic Games will generate an upsurge of interest in all sports and this series is a good way to introduce children to the featured sports. Look out for the rest of the series - Swimming and Diving (Olympic Sports), Cycling (Olympic Sports), Combat Sports (Olympic Sports), Ball Sports (Olympic Sports and Gymnastics (Olympic Sports).

Inside the Olympics by Nick Hunter

Packed with the facts that go behind the Olympic Games, this is a great way to learn what really goes on. History of the Olympics, hosting the Games, Olympic sports, controversies at the Games, what the Games mean and records are all included. There are lots of fact boxes about athletes, great events and more. Plenty of photos and the differentiated fact boxes break up the quite small and detailed text. I think everyone will learn things they didn't know from this book! Best for Upper KS2 and KS3.

All About the Olympics by Nick Hunter

Covering some of the same ground as the book reviewed above, but in a simplified fashion, this is perfectly designed for KS1 children who want to know more about the Olympics.  The layout (as with all Raintree Publishing books) is clear and well laid out, with coloured backgrounds, plenty of illustrations and interesting fact boxes. A contents page, index and glossary are included as in all Raintree non fiction books. These help children learn to find their way around books.

The London Olympics 2012 - The Olympics by Nick Hunter

This title in the series 'The Olympics' from Raintree focuses exclusively on London, giving an excellent overview of the topic. Find out about the bid, the venues, the athletes, the Paralympics and what will be the after-effects of the Games on the city of London. There is also a useful list of the other venues. More in the series  High-Tech Olympics (The Olympics), The World of Olympics (The Olympics), Great Olympic Moments (The Olympics), The World's Greatest Olympians (The Olympics)

 Running in Her Shadow by Robert Rigby

'An Official London 2012 novel' published by Carlton Books, is just right to get us in the mood for the Games. Megan is a gifted track and field athlete and she has the full support of her mother, who wants Megan to be part of Team GB and fulfil her own ambitions. But can Megan make it - can she withstand the pressure? There comes a point where is seems she may give up......  An interesting insight into the pressures faced by potential competitors and an encouraging and realistic read. Look out for London 2012: Deep Waters (London 2012 Novel) and London 2012: Wheels of Fire (London 2012 Novel) as well.

 Parallel Lines by Robert Rigby

Two skills - a talented rugby player and a skilled performer on the parallel bars, Sam has to make a decision in the run up to the Games. But not everyone agrees with his choice and the threats start. Can he go against his peers and follow his dream? Realistic and gripping, this is a great way to get into the mood for the Games. All the books in this series are a great way to inspire young people - the stories are about determined young people who will let nothing stand in the way of their sporting aspirations.

Meet Wenlock and Mandeville adapted by Barry Timms from a story by Michael Morpurgo

Wenlock and Mandeville are the mascots of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. We are bound to see them over and over again so let's get to know them. On his last day at work, George, who has just completed a girder that will be part of the London 2012 Stadium, takes home two fragments of metal and creates figures for his grandchildren. Miraculously, they come to life and learn from the children, who are saddened when they depart. But they know that Wenlock and Mandeville will have lots of exciting adventures around the country - and I hope we get the chance to follow them. An enchanting story and a fitting tribute to the magic of the Games.

 Ideas Box! The Olympics by Sarah Ridley

This is a book in the Espresso series from Franklin Watts and is ideal for use in schools to generate interest and build up excitement in the lead-in to the Games. Find out how the Olympics started, and learn about the Winter and Paralympic Games. Lots of activities to really get children involved - design an Olympic kit and make an Olympics board game. There are lots more ideas at www.franklinwatts.co.uk. Brightly coloured, with lots of information boxes, cartoons and photographs, plus quizzes to enjoy, this is an excellent introduction which covers all the key areas. 

 The Olympics: Events by Moira Butterfield

The layout of this series is appealing, with its magazine-like format. Each two-page spread covers a different topic and this volume includes sections on all the major events - track, field, aquatic, equestrian, cycling and all the rest. There is a useful glossary and a list of events and useful websites. Fully illustrated with top quality photos and including an Amazing Olympics fact on every double page as well as Facts and Stats, there is plenty of information here. The books in the series would be an excellent addition to any school library to provide a whole school resource for supporting learning about the Olympics.

 The Olympics: Scandals by Moira Butterfield

Scandals! That's an eye-catching title and the Olympic Games have certainly had their share of scandals, going right back to the Games in Ancient Greece, which attracted their share of cheats and arguments. Bribing, doping, terrorism - all these have played their part in the history of the Games and they are described here in factual and non-controversial detail. Archive material and modern photos enliven the book, which is clearly laid out and an enjoyable read. The books in this series from Franklin Watts have something to interest all age groups. The other two in the series are History (The Olympics) and Records (The Olympics).

London Olympics 1908 and 1948 by Janie Hampton

Of course, interest in the Olympics is huge at the moment and it is fascinating to learn about the previous Olympic Games held in London. They were very different! In 1908, London had just two years to prepare - and a tiny budget; in 1948, the city was still recovering from the devastating effects of World War II. This is an interesting social history, as we learn much about how society has changed through the way sport has developed. Lavishly illustrated throughout, with contemporary illustrations and photographs, this is a really readable account and I found it gave plenty of food for thought compared with today's Olympics.

Run Like the Wind (Olympia) By Shoo Rayner

Shoo Rayner is an acclaimed children's' author, who is passionate about enabling children to read. His books are fun and accessible and this series, set in Ancient Greece, is bound to be popular with the Olympics coming up. Olly is a determined character who is determined to win in the Boys' Athletics Festival and defeat his enemy Spiro - but if he does, it will be the first time ever. Can he manage it?
 

Swim For Your Life (Olympia) By Shoo Rayner

The River Alpheios harbours many dangers. Will Olly fall victim to one of them? These chapter books, with lots of illustrations, are perfect for newly-confident readers. As well as being enjoyable stories, they give lots of information about everyday life in Ancient Greece - ideal for KS2 history. We learn, for example, that ancient athletes ate bread, cheese and olives for lunch, and about sacrifices in the temple.

Race for the Stars (Olympia) By Shoo Rayner

Olly's sister, Chloe, is desperate to compete in the Junior Chariot Race. But it's tough being a girl in ancient Greece. Can Chloe triumph over the boys? She'll have to race for the stars! There are lots more to enjoy in the series, covering all sorts of sports -  Jump for Glory (Olympia), Wrestle to Victory (Olympia), Swim for Your Life (Olympia), On the Ball (Olympia) and Deadly Target (Olympia) are the rest of the series.

 Books on Sport

 

Aquatics (Spectator Guides) by Susan Meredith

A set of colourful cards, illustrating all aspects of aquatic sports  -swimming, diving, water polo and syncronised swimming. There's just the right amount of detail about each discipline to help you watch from an informed viewpoint. Hopefully too, the information will encourage young people to try the sports for themselves, as there are plenty of diagrams demonstrating how to do things. The perfect companion to watching the Olympics on TV - or if you are one of the lucky ones, to take along as you watch the events! Also in the series - Spectator Guides: Cycling (Usborne Spectator Guides); Spectator Guides: Gymnastics (Usborne Spectator Guides); Spectator Guides: Track & Field (Usborne Spectator Guides)

The Telegraph What on Earth Wallbook of Sport by Brian Oliver

 A unique book which opens up (to an amazing 2.3m) to form a timeline of sport from 776BC right up to London 2012 - a perfect souvenir of this Olympic year. It is packed with illustrations and fascinating (and often little-known) sporting facts great for trivia quizzes and dinner party conversations! The reverse side features memorable moments from the modern Olympics plus Matt cartoons and a championship crossword, Telegraph-style. Perfect to enhance a classroom display on the Olympics - or just read it like a book. There is plenty here for all ages and it's an amazing achievement to feature such a detailed history of sport in one 'book'.

Karate (Combat Sports) by Clive Gifford

Karate is one title in a series of aspirational books for reluctant readers focusing on some of the most popular contact sports of today. One of the best ways to get reluctant readers interested in reading is through books that focus on a topic which interests them, and this is certainly a subject to appeal to many. Find out how karate originated and spread; the moves and the experts, all illustrated with a generous number of photographs. An excellent way to inspire youngsters.

Athletics (Sporting Skills) by Clive Gifford

Athletics is an area of sport accessible to all - running, jumping and throwing are things all youngsters have the opportunity to do. This book outlines the various disciplines,  and clear photos illustrate the various points of each, in a way that is clear and understandable. A good book both for those who practise the sport and also for those who enjoy watching and want to understand a little more. Clear and concise, this is a great starting point and hopefully will encourage youngsters to get out there and try.

World Sports Champions (Celebrity Secrets) by Adam Sutherland

Featured in this colourful book are Xavier Hernandez i Creus, Usain Bolt, Jessica Ennis, Mao Asada, Sebastian Vettel, Oscar Pistorius, Tirunesh Dibaba, Victoria Pendleton, Rafael Nadal. In addition, there are mini biographies of 6 more world champions. Attractive layout, with bold colours, fact boxes and photos make this an attractive book. The series Celebrity Secrets feature nine celebrities in depth. The star's background, personal life and career highlights are explored. The books also features six mini-biographies of other celebrities.

Wrestling (Combat Sports) by Paul Mason

A book written at a level which makes it easy to read; a relatively large font, the use of fact boxes and the high proportion of photographs all work together to make this a book which will appeal to the more reluctant reader. The subject matter will appeal especially to boys, so this is a great way to get them involved in reading. Combat Sports is a series of aspirational books for reluctant readers focusing on some of the most popular contact sports of today.

Rules of the Game (Football Focus) by Clive Gifford

Get a clear understanding of all the rules of football with this colourful highly illustrated and clearly laid out book. Covering all the areas of the modern game, Football Focus takes an in-depth look at the sport, its rules and its management. From useful insight and advice on how to apply techniques to master the game, to the international business of football and how it is run, this series offers a comprehensive overview of one of the most popular sports in the world. The series is aimed at readers with an interest in the sport - whether they play the game, are an avid fan, or are a novice to the game.

Canoeing and Kayaking (Get Outdoors) by Lois Rocj

Another attractive book from Wayland, with the popular two page spread on each topic, plus plenty of photos. The diagrams are excellent, giving step by step instructions on key skills. Although each of these sports require a variety of different skills and techniques, they all have the love of outdoors in common. They are also accessible to all - from young to old and able-bodied to disabled. The series is inspirational for those readers who want to explore the sports and it also offers information on how to get started and how to participate in the sport, including step-by-step instructions for the key techniques.

 Tennis (Know Your Sport) by Rita Storey

An excellent introduction to the sport, which is equally suitable for children and adults. Plentiful use of pictures enables strokes and actions to be clearly depicted. Explanations are clear and there is plenty of detail - not just strokes but courtcraft too. There are fact boxes featuring top players and these are great to inspire young hopefuls.

Badminton (Know Your Sport) by Clive Gifford

Another clear and easy to understand book about sport. Whether you are a player or a spectator, your knowledge - and thereby enjoyment - will be increased by learning what happens on the badmind=ton court and how to improve play. Know Your Sport is a comprehensive series, currently (March 12) containing 25 titles The books contain everything you need to know to participate in - and enjoy - your favourite sport. Covers rules, equipment, famous competitors and major competitions. Specially commissioned, step-by-step photography clearly shows skills and techniques needed for a sport.
 

Usain Bolt by Simon Hart

Written by an experienced sports journalist, the book tells the story of the man who, in 2008, became the fastest man in history. Learn more about the man, not just his sporting prowess but also how he helps charities. The inspiration panels are a great way to show the reader just what can be achieved. The series focuses on the people who inspire children today. Each book looks at the background, life and achievements of a personality, their impact on popular culture as well as detailing the everyday facets of their job and how they have gained such success.

Horrid Henry's Sports (A Horrid Factbook) by Francesca Simon

 What more could you want? A book packed with fascinating snippets of information about sports, all presented in Horrid Henry's own unique style. It's an easy read and hopefully will encourage children who are just starting to read for themselves, as they can dip into this for nuggets of information or opt to read through almost like a story. As ever, Tony Ross' illustrations enliven the book even further.  Did you know that Olympic gold medals are actually mostly silver? Or whether the Romans really did athletics in the nude? Now's your chance to find out in this entertaining book.

BMX and Mountain Biking by Paul Mason

Want to know the best locations in the world for biking? Then this is the book for you! It tells you where to go, and what techniques you can learn there. All the terminology is here, so you can amaze your friends and family with your knowledge. Very age-appropriate and an interesting read.
Each World Sport book reveals an ideal location for learning a particular technique essential for mastering the sport, from trimming a surfboard along a wave in Windansea, California, to catching big air on a snowboard in the half-pipes of Whistler, Canada. Opening with perfect beginner locations and techniques, the complexity develops, leading readers through to expert-only locations and techniques, building an understanding of technique and equipment as they go.

Self-Defence (Instant Expert) by Gary Freeman

A clear guide to self-defence techniques - and advice on when it's best to just run away. Step-by-step photos clearly illustrate the various steps to take, alongside clear instructions. Well written and practical, this is a book well designed to appeal to young people. Instant Expert takes the hottest topics for ages 12+ and turns readers from novices into knowledge-gurus. Jam-packed with information, each book offers practical, hands-on advice from insiders - people who know the subject best.  These books are designed as a resource that readers will be able to return to again and again, as well as being useful for a single hit of knowledge. Exciting online video links are also provided to carefully demonstrate techniques, enabling readers to watch an expert and see how it's done.  

Children's Book of Sport from Dorling Kindersley

Just as you would expect from Dorling Kindersley, this is a top quality book and if it hadn't been called 'Children's' I would have happily accepted it as an adult book. Yes, the language is totally appropriate to children but I think many adults would enjoy learning the basics of many sports as presented here. There is just enough information to whet the appetite and to ensure a basic knowledge when watching sport. Divided into sections such as team sports, combat sports and wheels and motors, each sport is covered in a two page spread. There are lots of less-common sports included too. Packed with colour pictures (and some exceptional action photography), useful diagrams and explanations on rules, tactics and techniques, this is all you need. Finally, a section on the Olympics makes this a super book to give as a gift in the period leading up to the Games. A winner!

 

 The World's Most Amazing Stadiums - Landmark Top Tens by Michael Hurley

Before you read this, what stadiums would you put in the top 10? After an introduction, the book covers a wide range of stadiums, famous for a variety of reasons. Their future is discussed and there are some interesting facts and figures. With the usual Raintree format of clear pages, plenty of photos, interesting fact boxes, plus contents page, glossary, further information sources and an index, this is a useful book for library and general school use. This is one in a fascinating series for upper KS2 - find the others on the Raintree site.

 

Football - How  It Works by Suzanne Bazemore 

It is generally accepted, if not always true, that boys prefer to read non fiction books. This is an excellent title to encourage boys (and sport-mad girls) to read. They will learn how amazing feats are possible on the pitch and will be inspired to go out and try them for themselves. Bright jazzy pages, lots of pictures with useful captions, fact boxes - and a very interesting contents page. All great ways to grab attention. One in the series the Science of Sport from Raintree.

Board Sports - Extreme Sport by Michael Hurley

Even reluctant readers will be encouraged into the school library by Raintree's range of sport books. This series (Extreme Sport) is for 7-9 year olds. It outlines many different board sports, including surfing, skateboarding and snowboarding and includes exciting action photographs alongside a brief text. At the end are useful tips on taking part and getting fit. 

 

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