Level Up: Pairing Video Games with Children’s and YA Books (Sports Games)

23 Jun

Level Up- Video Game Book ListsEach Thursday this summer, I’ll be posting a video game and corresponding book list. This is just a fun, personal project that was actually the brainchild of my boyfriend who thought that A) it sounded awesome and B) that there are a lot of parents who would love to have some resources for those kids who would rather be in front of a screen than a book. I’m hoping these titles will appeal to both boys and girls who love gaming and who do love storytelling; they just need the right book to make them readers. Each list will include the Entertainment Software Rating Board’s (ESRB) rating for the game. I know that every family is different, but want to make sure this information is provided as I’ll be offering lists for games for younger kids as well as teens.

EA Sports (Madden/FIFA/NHL/MBA/NBA, etc.) (Everyone – Teen)

2000px-EA_Sports_svgSports videogames are extremely popular and include everything from football to soccer to basketball and baseball (to name just a few) and are just as competitive as playing. Players can often choose their favorite teams, build their own teams and compete against each other. Below, I’ve included both non-fiction and fiction titles about a variety of sports that might get even the non-stop sports fanatic a book to enjoy!

The Ball Hogs (Kickers series) by Rich Wallace
Nine-year-old Ben is new to soccer, but is a great athlete and isn’t worried about the game except for the ball hog on the team.  But when the coach and his teammates show him a little something, Ben realizes there isn’t just one ball hog on the team.  Will he be able to become a true teammate in time to make it to the playoffs?

The Boys in the Boat: The True Story of an American Team’s Epic Journey to Win Gold at the 1936 Olympics by Daniel James Brown
Out of the Depression rises a night-person crew team our of the University of Washington that surprises themselves, the country and the world when they take on Adolf Hitler’s crew team during the 1936 Olympic Games in this riveting true story.

Crossover by Kwame Alexander
Josh and his twin brother Jordan rip up the basketball court in this novel written in verse at the pace of a basketball game. As Josh and Jordan navigate friends and family in middle school, they learn how decisions they make affect the people around them and when an emergency occurs, Josh and Jordan must make some difficult decisions.

Curveball: The Year I Lost My Grip by Jordan Sonnenblick
Pete loves baseball – eats, breathes, lives for baseball until an accident on the field threatens his chance at becoming a high school star. Without baseball, Pete is lost and on top of it, his grandfather has been acting weird and keeps forgetting things. The only person Pete can talk to about everything that’s happening is the cute girl in his photography class. But will he be able to face the truth himself?

Friday Night Lights: A Town, A Team, A Dream by H.G. Bissinger
A close up look at football in Odessa, Texas where football is king. 20,000 people come out every week to watch the high school football team play where losing is not an option.

Heat by Mike Lupica
Michael’s father has always watched out for his boys as they escaped from Cuba.  But after his father passes away, with no guardian and a fear of Social Services, Michael and his brother keep their heads down to stay out of trouble.  But Michael’s throwing arm is about to get them into trouble as they can’t prove his age without a birth certificate.

Last Shot: Mystery at the Final Four by John Feinstein
Stevie wins a press pass to the Final Four, but when he gets to the stadium he overhears a plan to throw the championship game and with only 48 hours before the game begins, will Stevie be able to figure out who is behind the mystery? Combining mystery, thrills and basketball in one story, you won’t want to miss this page-turning story.

A Matter of Heart by Amy Fellner Dominy
Abby is on track to become an Olympic swimmer until she faints at the pool and is diagnosed with a heat condition that threatens her Olympic dreams. Does Abby take the medicine to stabilize her condition but slow her race times or risk her life to reach her dream?

Peak by Roland Smith
Peak is forever getting in trouble and is left with two choices – spend his days in Juvenile Detention or fly to Thailand to live with his estranged father. Peak chooses to move half way around the world and his father is waiting for him and expects to make him the youngest climber to reach Mt. Everest’s peak – and Peak is up to the challenge, or is he?

Pop by Gordon Korman
Marcus, new to town, spends his summer at the park hoping to meet some of the guys on the high school football team, instead he meets a former NFL linebacker named Charlie and the two strike up a friendship based around their shared love of football. Marcus makes the school’s team, but finds the players aren’t too welcoming and that Charlie’s has a secret is family is trying to hide. Marcus is determined to help his friend and is willing to risk it all to do so.

The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen
Jessica loses a leg in a car accident and thinks her life is over and although she can walk again with a prosthetic leg, all she really wants is to run. Jessica hates being ignored by her classmates because of her accident, but realizes she does the same to Rosa, a girl with CP in a wheelchair. As Jessica begins to heal both externally and internally, she figures out a way to put Rosa into the spotlight so people will see her and not her disability.

Swimming with Sharks (Gym Shorts series) by Betty Hicks
Rita’s times aren’t good enough to be on the Sharks swimming team with all her friends, but Rita continues to work hard every day at practice determined to improve.  Will Rita make it on the team?  A series for early chapter book readers who love sports.

Winger by Andrew Smith
At 14, Ryan is two years younger than most of the juniors he boards with at an elite boarding school, but he’e the smartest in his grade, a starter on the rugby team and in love with his friend, Annie (who sees him as a little kid). His new roommate is the biggest bully on the team, but Ryan manages the ups and downs of board school with humor in this coming of age story.

Video Game Booklists:


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