While we're at home, our kids are missing out on their much-loved sports. Books about their favourite sport is a great way to feel like they're on the pitch when they can't be, and also ignite a reading passion. If you've exhausted our list of the best movies on Netflix and you're struggling to keep your teens engaged in learning, these compelling stories of sporty teens might be just the thing to catch your teen's attention. Even for less sporty readers, there are loads of ways these books will resonate. They're filled with important themes, from loss to love, that your teens won't want to put down.
Tangerine, by Edward Bloor
In this surprising book, Paul finds his new family home in Tangerine County a little unusual, to say the least. A sinkhole has swallowed the local school. Lightning strikes at the same time every day - not normal occurrences by most people's standards.
Paul struggles to adjust to his new life, and his football-star brother doesn't make it any easier. His luck turns when he joins a football team, and with the help of his new teammates, he manages to unravel the mysteries of the new town, and uncover the big secret his family have been keeping from him - what really happened to his eyesight.
A gripping young adult read, the book Tangerine tells of the struggle of disability, difficult family relations and also tackles the environmental fears of our time.
Dream On, by Bali Rai
Baljit works hard in his dad's store but whiles his days away dreaming of being a professional footballer. When the chance to sign up and try out for the Premier League comes along, Baljit worries his parents will disapprove, but he's determined to try for his dreams. Lying seems to be the only way, but as he gets deeper and deeper in mistruths, he worries the lies will trip him up! This great book is dyslexia-friendly, and also a perfect quick and easy book to read.
Chessboxer, by Steven Davies
A few wins away from becoming a chess grandmaster, Leah Baxter is definitely a genius. Her mum and coach are so proud - she's on track to win first place in her competition, and achieve everything they dream of for her. Feeling suffocated by the pressure of their expectations, and grieving for her dad, she follows a sign and decides to quit chess. But chess doesn't quite want to quit her, and suddenly she's swept up in the dangerous world of chessboxing - a sport that will test her body as well as her mind in this compelling read.
A Matter of Heart, by Amy Fellner Dominy
Sixteen-year-old Abby is a super-competitive swimmer. When she's diagnosed with a heart condition, her whole life changes and her Olympic dreams also go flying out the window. Abby's condition forces her to see the different aspects of her that create her whole, in this story of finding identity in the midst of tragedy.
This beautifully written contemporary book will have your teen facing themes of adjusting future plans to fit the reality of the now, and they won't want to put it down.
Girls Can't Hit, by T. S. Easton
Fleur doesn't take anything seriously until she spends an evening at the local boxing club to prove a point. The workout lets her escape her stresses at home and in school, and even though she's the only girl there, she's determined to go back.
In this amusing book, Fleur's overprotective mum can't understand why she'd choose such a dangerous sport and not pilates like the other girls. She's worried that it's a sign that something's wrong. Her friends also have a similar attitude, and her boyfriend isn't a fan of her muscles. But nothing can stop Fleur.
Bring out the feminist in your teen with this great read, and show them that girls can do anything they want if they put their mind to it. A great book for girls who are bogged down with what other people think.
Bruised, by Sarah Skilton
In this gritty read, we're faced with the good and bad of fighting. Tae Kwon Do champion Imogen prides herself on her achievement. Her hard work has led to a black belt, and she feels like it makes her strong and capable. She's certain that when the time comes, she'd be able to protect not just herself, but also everyone around her.
Her claims are tested in the book, when she witnesses a terrifying robbery, and, paralysed with fear, doesn't manage to step in. From that moment, a series of events leaves her life spiralling out of control. She struggles to face the guilt, depression and anger over what happened. Will Imogen ever come to terms with what happened and pick up her life again? Read on and find out.
A Short History of The Girl Next Door
This emotional sportsbook tells the story of the first love for basketball obsessed Matty. He's been in love with Tabby - his neighbour and best friend - for as long as he can remember. Suddenly the star basketball player swoops in and sweeps Tabby off of her feet, leaving him heartbroken.
As he begins to come to terms with Tabby's new relationship, the book takes a scary turn, as a tragic accident leaves Matty on the sidelines, and life as he once knew it changes completely.
This heart-warming read is filled with raw emotion, and the book will have your teens crying, and then crying with laughter - not that they'd ever want you to catch them.
Bend It Like Beckham, by Narinder Dhami
Jess is an incredible footballer, and at 18, she's got the world at her feet. But her Indian parents definitely don't see it that way. They desperately want to see her getting married, which is not what Jess wants right now - she feels way too young to want those things! The book gets exciting when Jess joins a football team and manages to get scouted. Things begin to get even more complicated, as she battles what her parents want, and her love of sports. A must-read book for any football loving girls, and also anyone struggling to align with what their parents want for them.
After the Shot Drops, by Randy Ribay
This great YA book teaches the importance of being a trustworthy friend. When Nasir's best friend Bunny gets an athletic scholarship, Nasir feels betrayed. Nasir starts spending more and more time with his older cousin Wallace. The book takes a turn when Wallace gets into gambling to earn some quick money and get himself out of trouble, Nasir finds himself forced to make an impossible decision as Wallace makes a bet against Bunny.
The book is told from the perspectives of each character, and you'll want to read and reread this tale of friendship, basketball and family values.
Emily has lived in London for ten years, and still loves discovering new places to explore in the capital with her two little brothers. She loves all things lifestyle and fashion, she is a fashion designer and artist, as well as working with arts charities to facilitate workshops and outreach on crafts, fashion, and design for children with special needs and children with difficult home lives who might otherwise not have access, from toddlers to teenagers. Emily is also a trained life coach and loves talking and writing about general wellness, mindfulness and healthy relationships.