The Olympic Games are an exciting world event of athletics and national pride. Get your kids excited about the different Olympic sports by reading children’s books to build up their background knowledge and anticipation for these athletic events.
The Summer Olympics has more than twice the sports as the winter. You can see the entire list on Olympics.org but I’ve listed some of the summer sports below.
Summer Olympics Books for Kids
How to Train with a T.Rex and Win 8 Gold Medals by Michael Phelps and Alan Abrahamson
This is a great perspective for kids on how Michael Phelps worked hard, really hard, to accomplish his 8 gold medal wins.
Boomer the Pig is in the Animal Olympics but he keeps losing his races. And that’s really hard! But he continues to think positively and realizes that it’s all good practice for the next Olympics.
You Wouldn’t Want to Be a Greek Athlete by Michael Ford, illustrated by David Antram
Seriously. It wasn’t easy to be a Greek athlete as you’ll learn in this interesting depiction of life back in the day. (And you certainly wouldn’t want to be female in this historical time period either.)
The Frog Olympics by Brian Moses, illustrated by Amy Husband
Yes there’s pole vaulting but there’s also fly catching, too. This is the Frog Olympics, a competition where all sizes and abilities can complete.
Summer Olympics by Matt Christopher
What sports will you see in the summer Olympics? From aquatics to tennis, gymnastics to sailing, there’s so many sports to discover during this competitive event. You’ll learn about the famous athletes in each sport. Athletes like Jesse Owens, Olga Korbut, Mary Lou Retton, and Wilma Rudolph.
Olympics (DK Eyewitness) by Chris Oxlade and David Ballheimer
Learn about the first Olympics, the differences between the winter and summer Games, behind the scenes, and lots more. Photographs adorn pages filled with informational text.
What Are the Summer Olympics? by Gail Herman, illustrated by Stephen Marchesi and Kevin McVeigh
A great book for elementary students, this beginning chapter book starts with the history of the Olympics and continues with politics, and memorable events. Illustrated with line drawings.
Ancient Greece and the Olympians by Mary Pope Osborne and Natalie Pope Boyce
You’ll learn about ancient Greece and it’s culture as well as the first Olympics and the Olympics in modern times in this well-written beginning chapter book filled with photographs and illustrations.
Tae Kwon Do! by Terry Pierce
This very basic early reader takes readers through a class of Tae Kwon Do, giving kids a glimpse of this martial art appearing in the Olympics.
Everything Soccer (National Geographic Kids) by Blake Hoena
Soccer is a favorite universal sport so learn everything about it (there’s a lot in this small book!) before you see it played at the Olympics. As you might expect, this National Geographic book is filled with captivating full-color photos.
My Soccer Book by Gail Gibbons
This is a concise beginning picture book about soccer for the preschool set.
I Want to Be a Gymnast by Kate Simkins
There aren’t very many good, updated gymnastics children’s books that aren’t fiction or autobiography so I’m including this as a basic starting point book. It’s a beginning reader that will introduce kids to some of the moves in gymnastics.
Get the scoop on volleyball in the Olympics including rules for playing, and overview of indoor and beach volleyball, and well-known players such as Misty May-Treanor and Kari Walsh Jennings.
Riding for Kids by Judy Richter
This is a photograph-filled informational guide to the basics of English riding.
On the Water: Rowing, Yachting, Canoeing, & Lots, Lots, More (Zeke’s Olympic Pocket Guide) by Jason Page
Written for the Sydney, Australia Olympics, this little book is about the sports of sailing, rowing, and canoeing.
P is for Putt: A Golf Alphabet by Brad Herzog, illustrated by Bruce Langton
Take a look at the history, game elements, and superstars of golf in this informative alphabet book.
First Sail by Richard Henderson, illustrated by Jennifer Heyd Wharton
Adam’s cousin Beth shows him how to sail — things like nautical terms, channel markers, safety, knots, and anchoring. When a storm arises he’ll have to make use of his beginning knowledge.