Inside: Summer Olympics Books for Kids
The Olympic Games are always exciting! Do you know the Olympics are also filled with fun learning opportunities? They’re a great way for kids to experience various cultures and countries around the world and to celebrate athletic accomplishments of all kinds.
In honor of the event, we’ve created a list of great books to help you introduce children to the history and traditions of the Olympics as well as some inspiring Olympic athletes.
Plus, we’ve got fun learning and activity ideas to go with your Olympic-inspired reading!
Olympics Learning + Activity Ideas
Fun Fact: Did you know that the Summer Olympics have more than twice the amount of events compared to the Winter Olympics? See a full list of all the Summer Olympic sports.
Here are some fun Olympics learning and activity ideas:
- Find Tokyo, Japan on a map and explore Tokyo’s history.
- Make an Olympic torch and learn about the history of the Olympic Torch Relay.
- Look at the Olympic Torch Relay route and find the cities on a map.
- Find athletes’ countries on a world map.
- Categorize the countries by their continents.
- Print a blank world map and color in competing countries.
- Explore flags of the countries and see how many you can spot in the crowds.
- Host your own mini-Olympics and have a medal ceremony for winners.
- Make Olympic-inspired paper laurel wreaths.
- Make paper plate Olympic rings for decoration.
Best of all, enjoy reading about the Olympics and some incredible Olympians in the books listed below!
Fun Book for Little Ones
This one isn’t about Olympic history, traditions, or athletes…but it’s tons of fun for young kids. A pig named Boomer training for the Animal Olympics? We can’t resist. Little ones will enjoy this delightfully silly tale.
Books About the Olympics
Explore traditions and history of the Olympic Games. Learn all about where and when the games started, important Olympic moments, and more.
Swifter, Higher, Stronger: A Photographic History of the Summer Olympics: Celebrates those dedicated athletes who have achieved their dreams on the world stage, including Jim Thorpe and Jesse Owens, while exploring the social, political, and cultural history and impact of these games throughout the years.More info →
Books About Olympic Athletes
It’s impossible not to be inspired by these stories of amazing Olympians! Read about athletes who overcame challenges on their way to winning an Olympic medal.
Women in Sports: 50 Fearless Athletes Who Played to Win: A richly illustrated and inspiring book, Women in Sports highlights the achievements and stories of fifty notable women athletes from the 1800s to today, including trailblazers, Olympians, and record-breakers in more than forty sports.More info →
Touch the Sky: Alice Coachman, Olympic High Jumper: This is an inspiring free-verse story of the first African-American woman to win an Olympic gold medal. Photos of Alice Coachman are also included.More info →
Before Wilma Rudolph was five years old, polio had paralyzed her left leg. Everyone said she would never walk again. But Wilma refused to believe it. Not only would she walk again, she vowed, she'd run. And she did run, all the way to the Olympics, where she became the first American woman to earn three gold medals in a single olympiad.More info →
The Wildest Race Ever: The Story of the 1904 Olympic Marathon: The true story of the 1904 Olympic marathon, which took place at the St. Louis World's Fair.More info →
Nadia: The Girl Who Couldn’t Sit Still: Nadia Comaneci was a feisty and fearless little girl who went from climbing trees in the forests of Romania to swinging into history at the 1976 Olympic Games, where she received an unprecedented seven perfect scores in gymnastics.More info →
Dream Big: Michael Jordan and the Pursuit of Excellence: From the age of nine years, Michael dreams of playing basketball for the United States in the Olympics, and with hard work and his mother's encouragement, he realizes his dream.More info →
Unbeatable Betty: Betty Robinson, the First Female Olympic Track & Field Gold Medalist: An inspiring picture book biography of the first woman to win a gold medal in track and field.More info →
Flying High: The Story of Gymnastics Champion Simone Biles: Before she was a record-breaking gymnast competing on the world stage, Simone Biles spent time in foster care as a young child.More info →
Sixteen Years in Sixteen Seconds: The Sammy Lee Story: Profiles the childhood dreams and realities of the first Asian American to win an Olympic gold medal, achieved in the ten-meter platform diving event in 1948.More info →
Queen of the Track: Alice Coachman, Olympic High-Jump Champion: Tells the story of Alice Coachman, an athlete from rural Georgia who made history as the first African-American woman to win an Olympic gold medal in 1948.More info →
Long-Armed Ludy and the First Women's Olympics: Lucile "Ludy" Godbold was six feet tall and skinnier than a Carolina pine and an exceptional athlete. In her ﬁnal year on the track team at Winthrop College in South Carolina, Ludy tried the shot put and she made that iron ball sail with her long, skinny arms.More info →
The Boys in the Boat: The True Story of an American Team’s Epic Journey to Win Gold at the 1936 Olympics
The Boys in the Boat: The True Story of an American Team's Epic Journey to Win Gold at the 1936 Olympics: Describes the American rowing team's triumphant and unlikely win during the 1936 Olympics.More info →
This last one is about the Winter Olympics, but who can resist the amazing story of the Jamaican bobsled team?
We hope you enjoy these books about the Olympics. Remember, you can find this list and more books in the Learning Through Literature Book Finder.