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8 Audiobooks for Sports-Minded Kids

COVID-19 may have temporarily disrupted our sports schedules, but now that it is getting warmer out, kids can start enjoying outdoor sports this spring. These audiobooks will get kids excited for the return to normal athletic activities again.

Emmanuel's Dream
Batting Order

EMMANUEL'S DREAM: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah
by Laurie Ann Thompson, read by Adjoa Andoh
Listening Library, Ages 4-6

Adjoa Andoh's rich, clear voice resonates with emotion in this inspirational audio biography about this advocate for disability rights in Ghana. Born without a right tibia (shin bone), Emmanuel pedaled a bicycle nearly 400 miles around Ghana in just 10 days to raise awareness of the physically challenged and share his message that "being disabled does not mean being unable." 

by Mike Lupica, read by Ali Andre Ali
Simon & Schuster Audio, Ages 8+

Narrator Ali Andre Ali captures the voice of Matt Baker, a young baseball player who aspires to improve his game and to inspire his teammates to do the same. But Matt stutters, especially when he's nervous. Listeners will cheer Matt on as he finds the confidence to support his teammates and ignore the opinions of those who doubt him.

Get a Grip, Vivy Cohen!
Pop Flies Robo-Pets and Other Disasters

by Sarah Kapit, read by Cassandra Campbell and JD Jackson
Listening Library, Ages 8+ 

Cassandra Campbell and JD Jackson make the most of this audiobook’s format of letters and emails between Vivy, an 11-year-old girl, and VJ Capello, her Major League Baseball pitching idol. Vivy is determined to play baseball but her mother has concerns about her being the only girl on the team, especially because Vivy is on the autism spectrum. In Vivy’s letters to VJ, Campbell conveys all of Vivy’s hopeful ambition and disappointing struggles in a youthful-sounding voice perfectly suited to a preteen girl, and Jackson conveys the baseball superstar's warmth and compassion.

by Suzanne Kamata, read by Nicholas Richardson
Red Chair Press, Ages 10+

Narrator Nicholas Richardson introduces 13-year-old Satoshi Matsumato, who uses baseball as a way to connect with his classmates. It's captivating to hear Satochi's grandad, who was a sports hero in Japan, share his baseball experiences. 

Rising Above
Before the Ever After

RISING ABOVE: Inspiring Women in Sports
by Gregory Zuckerman, Elijah Zuckerman, Gabriel Zuckerman, read by Gabra Zackman
Tantor Media, Ages 10+ 

This wide-ranging collection of profiles of high-achieving women in a variety of sports includes Venus and Serena Williams, Simone Biles, Carli Lloyd, and others. Zackman's skill at bringing to life the difficulties they have faced and the feelings of triumph in their victories elevates this audiobook beyond a mere recitation of facts to a remarkable look at what it takes to succeed in sports. 

by Jaqueline Woodson, read by Guy Lockard
Listening Library, Ages 10+ 

Guy Lockard delivers an outstanding performance of the story of 12-year-old ZJ Johnson, Jr., whose father, a former pro football player, is suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Listeners go back in time with ZJ to “before” when his dad was a loving father and football star. Before the headaches, Zachariah Sr.’s voice is full of life and energy, but as his condition gets worse, listeners hear his anguish and debilitating pain as he slips further away. 

Games of Deception

LU: Track, Book 4 
by Jason Reynolds, read by Guy Lockard
Simon & Schuster, Ages 10+

Lu is the fast, flashy co-captain of the Defenders track team. As Lu's understanding of family and integrity deepens, Lockard's energetic narration conveys the character's insecurity as well as his swagger. See also the other books in the Track series.

GAMES OF DECEPTION: The True Story of the First U.S. Olympic Basketball Team at the 1936 Olympics in Hitler's Germany
by Andrew Maraniss, read by Angelo Di Loreto
Listening Library, Ages 12+

Set at the 1936 Berlin games, this true story of the first Olympic basketball team combines grit and foreboding of the coming world war. Di Loreto's straightforward style allows listeners to focus on the structural racism that surrounded the early Olympics. Methodically paced but never dull, this engaging audiobook includes each player's biography along with historical asides.

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