Children’s Books by Noteworthy Athletes

by Marilyn Roca Enriquez in


In honor of our sports issue and this month’s Role Model, Olympic Gold Medalist Jessica Mendoza, we here at OutlooK-12 are proud to present the following children’s books all written by noteworthy athletes. 

“Super Oscar”
by Oscar De La Hoya and Mark Shulman Translated by Andrea Montejo
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
ISBN-13: 978-1416906124

It's Oscar’s job to tell everyone what to bring to the neighborhood picnic. But the young daydreamer forgot to hand out the lists, so unless he acts fast, there won’t be any food or games! The future boxing champ uses his determination, some lightning-fast moves and a lot of fancy footwork—including sprinting over avocados to make guacamole and whipping cream by jumping rope—to prepare for the picnic and save the day! Told in both English and Spanish, “Super Oscar” also features exercise tips and fitness advice from the Olympic gold medal winner himself.

“The Contract”
by Derek Jeter
Contributor: Paul Mantell
Publisher: Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books ISBN-13: 978-1481423137

As a young boy, Derek Jeter dreams of being the shortstop for the New York Yankees and playing in the World Series. So when he is chosen for the Little League Tigers, he hopes to play shortstop. But on the day of the assignments, he starts at second base. Still, he tries his best while he wishes and dreams of that shortstop spot. And to help him stay focused on school, his parents make him a contract: keep up the grades or no baseball. Inspired by his childhood, “The Contract” is the first book in Derek Jeter’s middle grade baseball series.

“Dream Big, Little Pig”
by Kristi Yamagochi
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
ISBN-13: 978-1402252754

Follow your Dreams!” “You go, Girl!” “Dream Big, pig!” Poppy is a waddling, toddling pig with big dreams. She wants to be a star! But she soon discovers that’s not as easy as it sounds. It’s only when Poppy feels the magic of gliding and sliding, swirling and twirling on ice that this most persistent pig truly believes in herself: Poppy, star of the rink! Olympic figure skating champion Kristi Yamaguchi’s motto “Always Dream” contributed to her success on and off the ice and is one that she aspires to instill in the hearts of children.

“How to Train with a T. Rex and Win 8 Gold Medals” by Michael Phelps and Alan Abrahamson
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
ISBN-13: 978-1416986690

What does it take to win eight gold medals? According to Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, it took a great deal of hard work to bring home the gold in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. Phelps explains that he needed to eat around 10,000 calories a day, which would be like eating 912 pizzas.  Over his six years of training, he swam 12,480 miles, which is the same distance as running around a baseball diamond 183,040 times.  Throughout his book, Phelps talks about the facts of training to be a champion but in fun, visual ways that children will understand and enjoy.

“Winners Never Quit!” by Mia Hamm
Publisher: HarperCollins ISBN-13: 978-0439849302

Little Mia loves playing soccer.  That is, until she has trouble scoring a goal when her team is about to lose.  But she has a simple solution: before she can lose, she quits.  Fed up with her attitude, Mia’s brothers and sisters will not let her play with them anymore.  More than anyone, soccer superstar Mia Hamm, American soccer champion and best–selling author of “Go for the Goal,” knows the value of teamwork and perseverance. Here she tells a true–life–inspired story of learning that winning and losing aren't as important as being part of a team.