We’ve been hooked on the Winter Olympics and have loved watching the games together for the conversations it’s inspired with my kids. We’ve talked about where the countries are that the different athletes represent, had discussions about perseverance through the human interest features that punctuate the coverage of the sports, and have watched what it means to be a good competitor as athletes that compete as individuals and teams congratulate each other whether they’re medal winners or not. With two kids who play sports, the Olympics provide inspiration and valuable lessons about teamwork and competition that can continue even after the closing ceremonies through age appropriate movies, shows, and books that convey the positive aspects of competition.
I had the opportunity to work with author, Fred Bowen, over the weekend. Those who live in the DC Area probably recognize him from his weekly KidsPost sports column in The Washington Post while those around the country know him for his All Star Sports series. Bowen’s books are written for kids ages 8-12 and weave in sports history to create fun and engaging reads. Boys and girls alike will enjoy any of his 19 titles even if they’re not sports fanatics.
Here’s a list of the books by sport along with a brief description of each of courtesy Fred Bowen’s website. Amazon affiliate links below will take you to the Amazon page where you can purchase the paperback or Kindle version. Our kids (ages 10 and 7) are reading Off the Rim and The Perfect Game and are already thinking of which titles to get next!
- Dugout Rivals– A story about how a new player creates jealousy
- The Golden Glove– What happens when a lost glove results in a loss of confidence
- Kid Coach– The coach quits and the kids take over
- No Easy Way: The Story of Ted Williams and the Last .400 Season– A picture book biography that serves as his only nonfiction title
- The Perfect Game– A tale of a serious pitcher with an attitude problem
- Playoff Dreams— It’s tough being the best player on a bad team
- Throwing Heat— A star pitcher struggles in a better league
- T.J.’s Secret Pitch— It’s a goofy pitch but it worked for a major leaguer
- Winners Take All— Kid cheats and tries to keep it a secret
- Final Cut— Four friends compete to make the same team
- Full Court Fever— Short players discover winning strategy
- Hardcourt Comeback— Awesome player loses confidence
- Off the Rim— Boy wants to be a star but finds a different way to shine
- On the Line— Kid needs to swallow his pride and get the job done
- Real Hoops— Hotshot player causes trouble
- Go For the Goal!— Talented players need to put the TEAM in teammates.
- Soccer Team Upset— Kids ditch friends to play on a travel team
I love this age appropriate list from Netflix featuring content that can be streamed to inspire conversations about teamwork during our next family movie night. Parents and older teens will enjoy The Fabulous Ice Age, a new documentary available only on Netflix that tells the never-before-told history of everyone’s favorite Olympic event, figure skating, along with these titles:
- The Short Game
- The Kid
- The Pistol
- A Mile in His Shoes
- Winning Favor
- The Mighty Macs
- Like Mike 2: Streetball
- Air Bud: World Pup
- Air Bud: Seventh Inning Fetch
- Air Bud Spikes Back
Lessons can even be learned by preschoolers through these shows that teach teamwork with the help of favorite characters:
- Super WHY!: The Tortoise and the Hare
- Curious George: George Gets a Trophy
- Bob the Builder: The Bobblesberg Winter Games
- Angelina Ballerina: In the Wings
- Caillou: Caillou Gets Active
Fred Bowen gave my children autographed copies of his books but had no idea I’d be featuring them on my site in a post that was inspired as a Netflix Stream Team member. No compensation was received for my involvement and all opinions are my own. Images courtesy of Netflix and Fred Bowen.