Courtesy of Darius Kuzmickas

Some kids today might be surprised to learn that sports weren’t always accessible to girls, women and people of color. This month, Kim Tano and Madeline Shier, the children’s book buyers at Powell’s City of Books picked three kid-appropriate books that focus on not-so-distant sports discrimination — plus a purely fun soccer board book for babies and toddlers. Look for these titles at the Burnside, Hawthorne or Cedar Hills Powell’s locations, or order online.

Swim Team, by Johnnie Christmas

Courtesy of Harper Collins

Bree is excited to start at her new middle school until she realizes she’s stuck with only one elective that fits her schedule — swimming — and must face her fear of the water. With help from her elderly neighbor, Etta, who is a former swim team captain, Bree explores her own fear and its relation to segregation of public pools and racism that Black people face. An engaging graphic novel and Oregon Battle of the Books selection for ages 8 and older. $12.99.

Hoops, written and illustrated by Matt Tavares

Courtesy of Penguin Random House

The Wilkins Regional High School girls’ basketball team, The Lady Bears, have no buses to take them to away games and homemade uniforms. But they push through to an undefeated season! Inspired by the true story of Judi Warren and her 1976 state-champion-winning teammates from Warsaw, Indiana, this graphic novel explores the battle women fought for equality in sports. For ages 8 and older. $12.99.


Contenders: Two Native Baseball Players, One World Series, by Traci Sorell, illustrated by Arigon Starr

Courtesy of Penguin Random House

Charles Bender and John Mayer made history in the 1911 World Series as the first Native American pro players to take the baseball diamond. This picture book, from Cherokee Nation author Sorell, and Kickapoo Tribe illustrator Starr, is a beautifully laid-out look at that championship and the players’ lives. For ages 6 and older. $18.99.

Let’s Play Soccer, by Ginger Swift, illustrated by Villie Karabatzia

Courtesy of Cottage Door Press

This interactive board book is a perfect first introduction to soccer for babies and toddlers. Your future goalie or striker will learn the basics of the sport through sweet, colorful illustrations and lift-the-flaps. There’s also a Spanish version! And if they can’t put this book down, the series has entries on baseball and (American) football as well! $7.99.

For more great books for kids, including from local authors, check out our book picks!

Scroll to Top