13 children's books for sports lovers of all ages
The finalists for the 2018 TD Canadian Children's Literature Award have been announced. The $50,000 prize is the richest in Canadian children's literature — awarded annually to the creators of one book for readers up to the age of 12.
Inspired by the diversity of the finalists for this award, CBC Books is putting together reading lists for the whole family. One of the 2018 finalists is When the Moon Comes, written by Paul Harbridge and illustrated by Matt James. The story of a magical night spent playing pond hockey on a frozen beaver flood, the picture book is a celebration of the outdoors, adventure and sport.
Here are 12 other books for younger readers that sports loving families will enjoy!
The Looney Bay All-Stars Series by Helaine Becker, illustrated by Sampar
With titles like Pirate Power Play, Attack by Knight and The Emperor Strikes Out in play, Helaine Becker's lively middle grade chapter book series features protagonist Reese McSkittles getting into all kinds of trouble in all kinds of sports. From feuding medieval knights to vengeful hurdling vikings, there's never a dull moment when it comes to this silly series.
A is for Axel by Kurt Browning, illustrated by Melanie Rose
This collaboration from four-time world champion figure skater Kurt Browning and illustrator Melanie Rose celebrates a whole alphabet's worth of figure skating terms — from holding an edge to laces and hooks — with colourful drawings to match.
The Basketball Player by Roch Carrier, illustrated by Sheldon Cohen
This lesser known picture book from the duo behind Canada's beloved classic The Hockey Sweater follows Roch on his journey to seminary boarding school, where he learns to play basketball for the first time. Through the challenge of mastering a new sport, young readers can explore themes of overcoming fear of failure and trying something new.
Never Give Up by Kathryn Cole, illustrated by Qin Leng
In this charming picture book from Second Story Press editor Kathryn Cole, Shaun's friend Nadia helps him learn to ride a bicycle so well that he even impresses his bullies. A story about perseverance — with beautiful illustrations from Qin Leng — Never Give Up will encourage children to do just that: never give up.
Hockey Morning Noon and Night by Doretta Groenendyk
Inspired by Doretta Groenendyk's young son and his fascination with all things hockey, this book is about a boy who incorporates Canada's national pastime into everything he does, from breakfast to bedtime. Illustrations in watercolour and ink invite kids and parents alike into hockey culture and celebrate its ability to take over a fan's whole life, be it morning, noon or night.
The Hockey Song by Stompin' Tom Connors, illustrated by Gary Clement
"Hello out there, we're on the air," begins Stompin' Tom Connors's beloved Hockey Song, and so begins this illustrated companion to the celebrated tune. Beginning with just two players and growing to encompass a whole town, the hockey game in The Hockey Song really is "the best game you can name."
The Bells on Finland Street by Lyn Cook
Originally published in 1950, this classic by the late Lyn Cook takes place in Northern Ontario. It follows a young girl named Elin as she pursues her dream of becoming a figure skater, while her family struggles to make ends meet.
Hat Trick by Jacqueline Guest
Leigh Aberdeen may be a girl, but she's also one of the best players on her hockey team. But Leigh's up against a lot more than the opposing team, as she simultaneously grapples with her Métis identity, her mom's apparent disapproval and the pressure to succeed.
When the Moon Comes by Paul Harbridge, illustrated by Matt James
Inspired by the magic of a night spend playing pond hockey on a frozen beaver flood, Paul Harbridge and Matt James's collaboration When the Moon Comes is one of five finalists for the 2018 TD Canadian Children's Literature Award. Whether or not they're hockey lovers, young readers and their families will find something to love about this beautiful picture book that captures the wonder of moonlight and time spent outdoors.
Great by Lauri Holomis and Glen Gretzky, illustrated by Kevin Sylvester
A collaboration between Wayne Gretzky's brother Glen and children's book author Lauri Holomis, Great actually puts "the great one" in the backseat — instead focusing on a player by the name of Taylor, who joins young Wayne's team and is struggling to impress Coach Wally. Over time,Taylor learns that hard work and enthusiasm matter at least as much as raw talent and that "As long as you have fun, work hard and do your best, that is all that matters."
The Stone Thrower by Jael Richardson, illustrated by Matt James
Based on the true story of Chuck Ealey, Jael Richardson's father, The Stone Thrower follows a young football player's struggle to succeed in a racially segregated community. With illustrations by Matt James, this nonfiction picture book is a tale of sport, racism and determination in the face of discrimination.
Crazy for Hockey by Gilles Tibo, illustrated by Bruno St-Aubin
Gilles Tibo and Bruno St-Aubin's colourful collection Crazy for Hockey is about a young boy named Nicholas who is, truly, crazy for the sport. Over the course of five lively stories — Where's my Hockey Sweater?, The Best Goalie Ever, The Big Game, A Very Hockey Christmas and Most Valuable Player — it becomes clear that hockey is on Nicholas's mind from sunup to sundown, and even while he's sleeping.
One Hockey Night by David Ward, illustrated by Brian Deines
After their family moves from Nova Scotia to Saskatchewan, Owen and Holly are having a hard time adjusting… until one magical Christmas Eve when their dad surprises them with a backyard rink. And just like the frozen pond back home, the rink in Saskatchewan comes complete with new friends, united by the bond of hockey.