It’s officially spring, and when I was in middle school, there was only one thing that meant to me: spring training season! My middle school years were defined by the New York Mets. I couldn’t get enough of them, and the months before spring training were made colder by the lack of heat felt from the sound of a bat cracking against a baseball. The only way that I could tithe my obsession over until the next season was by escaping into books about baseball.
That’s the thing about middle-grade-aged kids. As a mom of one, I see that gripping passion that takes hold when a child finds a passion and becomes blindingly obsessed with it. It’s those moments when they can’t seem to get enough of whatever they’ve fallen in love with that you’ll find the perfect opportunity to indulge them with books. Whether it’s a sport, a band, or a show (Stranger Things obsessed middle grader in my house), you can casually slide a book about it their way and watch them gobble it up. The point is, you’ll get them reading.
“Kids like to read when it’s fun and when it’s relevant to their interests…In addition to wanting to read more, your child will also expand his or her imagination.” – Save The Children, Child Literacy Statistics for Parents
So, for my baseball-obsessed middle graders out there, this list of books about baseball is for you:
Four Books About Baseball
Can you imagine what it would be like for your middle grader to befriend a baseball legend? This middle-grade novel is based on the true story of the friendship between eight-year-old Stephen Satlow and baseball great Jackie Robinson.
Having been a middle-grade fanatic, I can attest that all sports-loving kids dream about meeting their favorite players and even fantasize about becoming friends with them. This story follows Stephen in his Brooklyn neighborhood as he develops a bond with an American hero, tapping into those fantasies.
Katy is the best pitcher in town, and everyone knows it. Then why is she barred from playing for their little league team? Why is it only for the boys? Readers will join Katy’s movement for girl’s rights in baseball in this middle grade novel. She sets out on a campaign with the help of friendly librarians to prove that lots of girls love and play baseball. Katy doesn’t understand why these baseball heroes have gone unknown, but she’s on a mission to change that and the rules of her town’s little league.
Out Of Left Field is the third book of The Gordon Family Saga, which means you may get your child to read more than one book because, as stated above, when middle graders become enamored with something, they can’t get enough.
Speaking of girl activists, meet Lupe Wong—champion of causes. Whether she’s fighting for the expansion of options when it comes to designating one’s race on a school test or demanding less wait time between Doctor Who seasons, Lupe Wong stands for what she believes in.
So, when the chance to meet her favorite baseball player, Fu Li Hernandez—a fellow Chinese Mexican, requires straight As on her report card, she sees no problem…until gym class takes up square dancing. No way Lupe will let that happen.
Baseball Great by Tim Green
This one would be for the older middle-grade reader as the topic of steroids is covered in this riveting story which is as much about a talented young baseball player as it is about a father-son relationship.
Josh’s talent is too good to ignore, especially for his father who pulls him from school tryouts and pushes him toward the traveling youth championship team coached by Rocky Valentine.
Playing baseball is all that Josh wants, but when he’s being pressed to drink protein shakes and take supplements, he knows something is wrong. He and his friend Jaden uncover a dangerous secret and catch the attention of a man willing to do anything to keep the secret from getting out.
These four kids books about baseball scream everything I would’ve craved for as a kid.
((If you enjoyed this list, you’ll love the list here))