42 Is Not Just a Number (Candlewick, $15.99): it’s a lasting emblem of the strength and character of one of America’s greatest athletes, Jackie Robinson. As the first professional baseball player of color, Robinson displayed resilience in the face of myriad challenges. Starting from his childhood, Doreen Rappaport details the racism and prejudice Robinson faced as a black man, a member of the Armed Forces, and an athlete. This account of the extraordinary life of a baseball great is the perfect read for sports fans, history lovers, and social justice activists. Ages 8-12.
Did you know that over 450 million people play basketball worldwide, or that Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points in a single game in 1962? These are just some of the trivia tidbits presented in Kevin Sylvester’s study of Basketballogy (Annick, $9.95). This is the ultimate basketball fact book, chock-full of information about every aspect of the game from its history to its rules and the evolution of the ball itself. Featuring colorful illustrations, graphs, and diagrams, it’s nothing but net for fans of all ages! Ages 7-10.
Lucile “Ludy” Godbold was a gifted athlete whose exceptionally long and strong arms made her an elite shot-putter at Winthrop College. She earned the opportunity to compete in the inaugural “Women’s Olympics” in Paris in 1922, but she did not have the money to finance the trip on her own. Thanks to the generosity of her classmates and teachers, however, the tale of Long-Armed Ludy and the First Women’s Olympics (Charlesbridge, $16.99) would end with a gold medal and a new world record. Adam Gustavson’s nostalgic oil-paint-and-gouache illustrations enrich Jean L.S. Patrick’s fun and informative story of an American champion. Ages 7-11.