Kid Athletes: True Tales of Childhood from Sports Legends by David Stabler



Nonfiction Wednesday

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday is hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy and was started to help promote the reading of nonfiction texts. Most Wednesdays, we will be participating and will review a nonfiction text (though it may not always be a picture book).
Be sure to visit Kid Lit Frenzy and see what other nonfiction books are shared this week!

kid athlete

Kid Athletes: True Tales of Childhood from Sports Legends
Author: David Stabler
Illustator: Doogie Horner
Published November 17th, 2015 by Quirk Books

Goodreads Summary: Forget the gold medals, the championships, and the undefeated seasons. When all-star athletes were growing up, they had regular-kid problems just like you. Baseball legend Babe Ruth was such a troublemaker, his family sent him to reform school. Race car champion Danica Patrick fended off bullies who told her “girls can’t drive.” And football superstar Peyton Manning was forced to dance the tango in his school play. Kid Athletestells all of their stories and more with full-color cartoon illustrations on every page. Other subjects include Billie Jean King, Jackie Robinson, Yao Ming, Gabby Douglas, Tiger Woods, Julie Krone, Bruce Lee, Muhammad Ali, Bobby Orr, Lionel Messi, and more!

My Review: I really enjoyed this book of short stories about sports legends as children. I think the author did a great job sucking the reader in by starting with something about each athlete’s career then tying their childhood obstacles into their successes. I was impressed by how each story did have a lesson, but they did not feel didactical, and the author also made the stories ones that kids are going to connect with. This allow with fun illustrations will definitely keep readers entertained!

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: I’m in a theme unit in my class right now and as I was reading each story, I automatically grasped the theme the author was trying to get across for each short story. Some are quite explicit while others are inferred which makes it a perfect book as you scaffold students determining theme independently. The author also uses primary sources throughout the text would be a good way to discuss primary vs. secondary sources. It could even lead into students writing their own biographical story of a historical person using primary and secondary sources. Finally, I would love to discuss the illustrations with students! They all are a bit quirky and funny though tie into the story in different ways. It would be interesting to see if kids grasp the subtle humor.

Discussion Questions: What obstacle did ______ overcome?; What character traits did _____ show while overcoming ____?; What is the theme of ______ ? How did the author support the theme throughout?; How are the stories within each section similar? Different?

We Flagged: “In 1962, he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Historians have praised him for refusing to fight back in the face of racial discrimination. But Jackie did fight back, in his won way, by being the best person he could be, instead of following the bad examples of his enemies. That was a lesson he had learned from his days as the tiny terror of the Pepper Street Gang.” (p. 38)


Read This If You Loved: Picture book biographies of athletes, Sports biographies

Recommended For: 

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**Thank you to Quirk Books for providing a copy for review!**

11 thoughts on “Kid Athletes: True Tales of Childhood from Sports Legends by David Stabler”

  1. I like all the suggestions you’ve made to use with this book, Kellee. For n-f writing, it is great to have a good mentor text, and this sounds like one that will be useful for varied reasons.

    • I think that sometimes it is the best way to teach a lesson. These are people that kids look up to so much (but aren’t family!), and they can learn from their experiences.

  2. I think this is part of a series, right? Stocking up our sports section is such a hassle since I don’t really care about sports but this might be a fun read.


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