5-Star Book Reviews: Sports

Coming up clutch : the greatest upsets, comebacks, and finishes in sports history We continue our series of posts featuring some of the best books in the CA Library collection — today’s featured titles are all about Sports. Follow the links for each book to learn more from the CA Library catalog!

If an eBook and/or audiobook is available, links are also provided (Sora login is required).

Blue box. 1 Blue Box, Volume 1 by Kouji Miura — Taiki Inomata loves badminton, but he has a long way to go before he can reach nationals. When Taiki sees upperclassman Chinatsu Kano practicing her heart out on the girls’ basketball team, he falls for her hard. After an unexpected turn of events brings the two closer together, sports might not be the first thing on their minds anymore. “A fun sports romance manga that never has a dull moment” (School Library Journal).

Choosing to run : a memoir Choosing To Run: A Memoir by Des Linden — Featuring both the story of an historic, unforgettable win and insight into the life of an indelible champion, this is the inspirational memoir from Boston Marathon winner and Olympian Des Linden, sharing her personal story and what motivates her to keep showing up. “Great reading for teen runners with valuable lessons about putting in hard work and staying true to your values” (Booklist). Get the eBook | Get the Audiobook

Gender inequality in sports : from Title IX to world titles Gender Inequality In Sports: From Title IX To World Titles by Kirstin Cronn-Mills — Fifty years ago, President Richard Nixon signed Title IX into law, making it illegal for federally funded education programs to discriminate based on sex. Title IX set into motion a massive boom in girls and women’s sports teams, from kindergarten to the collegiate level. This comprehensive look at gender inequality in sports details the continued struggle against unequal pay, discrimination, and sexism despite Title IX. “Necessary reading, particularly for those who think the battle is won and done” (Kirkus Reviews). Get the eBook

The keeper : soccer, me, and the law that changed women's lives Keeper: Soccer, Me and the Law That Changed Women’s Lives by Kelcey Ervick — A beautifully illustrated coming-of-age graphic memoir chronicling how sports shaped one young girl’s life and changed women’s history forever. Growing up playing on a top national soccer team in the 1980s, Kelcey Ervick and her teammates didn’t understand the change they represented, made possible by Title IX. “Like the best sports books, it’s really about life: [Ervick] gets into feminism, freedom, art, women’s bodies, and the loneliness of the goalkeeper” (Publishers Weekly).

Kingdom quarterback : Patrick Mahomes, the Kansas City Chiefs, and how a once swingin' cow town chased the ultimate comeback Kingdom Quarterback: Patrick Mahomes, the Kansas City Chiefs, and How a Once Swingin’ Cow Town Chased the Ultimate Comeback by Mark Dent — Two inspiring stories that fit perfectly together — a biography of superstar quarterback, Patrick Mahomes, who brought the Chiefs to their first Super Bowl win in fifty years in 2020 as well as a second and third in 2023 and 2024, along with the historical struggles and recent resurgence of the former ‘Paris of the Plains,’ Kansas City. “A riveting look at the plight of a midwestern city through the prism of a star athlete” (Publishers Weekly). Get the eBook | Get the Audiobook

LeBron LeBron by Jeff Benedict — A definitive biography of one of the greatest athletes of all time that chronicles not only LeBron James’ meteoric rise to fame but also his solid family, political activism, and business empire. “James’ roles as world-class athlete and media phenomenon are intertwined, and Benedict ably captures both elements. A deep dive into the life of a one-of-a-kind superstar” (Kirkus Reviews). Get the eBook | Get the Audiobook

Messenger : the legend of Muhammad Ali Messenger: The Legend of Muhammad Ali by Marc Bernardin — An illustrated biography of the legendary boxer Muhammad Ali covering his rise from Cassius Clay to heavyweight champion of the world, including his first meeting with civil rights leader Malcolm X, his interview with sports broadcaster Howard Cosell discussing why he opposed the Vietnam War, and his bout against George Foreman, and more. “A moving ode to a mighty icon whose cultural contributions are as powerful as his victories in the ring” (Kirkus Reviews). Get the eBook

Naomi Osaka : her journey to finding her power and her voice Naomi Osaka: Her Journey To Find Her Power and Her Voice by Ben Rothenberg — Published to coincide with her return to tennis, this deeply reported, revealing biography of the Haitian-American/Japanese phenomenon and activist chronicles her rise to fame and the incredible impact she’s had on the game and on social justice as she advocates for racial justice and mental health. “Using her platform, Osaka has made a mark advocating for mental health and, as Rothenberg shows, along the way learned to be unapologetically herself” (Booklist). Get the Audiobook

The race of the century : the battle to break the four-minute mile The Race of the Century: The Battle to Break the Four-Minute Mile by Neal Bascomb — In this extraordinary story that spans three continents and defies the odds, a trio of world-class runners, in 1952, set out to run the perfect four-minute mile, attempting to achieve the impossible. “Amply researched, dramatically told, and an inspiring tribute to amateur sports, this work is highly recommended” (School Library Journal).

The race to be myself : a memoir The Race To Be Myself: A Memoir by Caster Semenya — Olympian and World Champion runner Caster Semenya shares the vivid and heartbreaking story of how the world came to know her name. Thrust into the spotlight at just eighteen years old after winning the Berlin World Championships in 2009, Semenya’s win was quickly overshadowed by criticism and speculation about her body, and she became the center of a still-raging firestorm about how gender plays out in sports, our expectations of female athletes, and the right to compete as you are. “A coming-of-age memoir for sports and LGBTQ+ collections that is a remarkable testament to resilience and self-belief” (Booklist).

Rez ball Rez Ball by Byron Graves (Ojibwe) — This compelling debut novel by new talent Byron Graves tells the relatable, high-stakes story of a young athlete determined to play like the hero his Ojibwe community needs him to be. When the varsity basketball team members take him under their wing, Tre Brun, representing his Ojibwe reservation, steps into his late brother’s shoes as star player…but soon learns he can’t mess up. “Graves writes that while the story is fictionalized, it incorporates much of his own experience as a young Ojibwe growing up at Red Lake . . . Richly detailed and emotionally powerful” (School Library Journal). Get the eBook | Get the Audiobook

Serving herself : the life and times of Althea Gibson Serving Herself: The Life and Times of Althea Gibson by Ashley Brown — A comprehensive biography of Althea Gibson, one of the most important figures in African American women’s sports history and one of the preeminent athletes of the twentieth century. Offering a portrait of the life and career of a complicated and unconventional figure, this book shows how Gibson reaped rewards as well as criticism for her extraordinary sports achievements and life-long defiance of social norms. “A highly recommended, inspirational title” (Library Journal). Get the Audiobook

Find even more great sports in these previous posts!

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