Best Children's Books About the Olympics

The Olympic Games: From High-Tech to Ancient Greece

From the history of the Olympics to a look at the impact technology has had on the winning scores at the Olympics, these five nonfiction books will add to your children's enjoyment and understanding of the Olympic Games from the high-tech Olympics of today to Ancient Greece.

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Through Time: Olympics

Cover of Olympics Through Time Children's Nonfiction Book

If you're looking for a well-illustrated book that provides an overview of the Olympic Games from the ancient games in Greece to the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, I recommend Through Time: Olympics, which is part of ​Kingfisher's Through Time series of nonfiction books. The author of the book, Richard Platt, has written numerous books of nonfiction and historical fiction for middle-grade readers, as well as kids in grades 3-5. Manuela Cappon's detailed illustrations include a double-page spread for each Olympics covered, inset with circles of spot illustrations.

Among the 19 modern Olympic Games included are Athens (1896), Berlin (1936), Munich (1972), Los Angeles (1984), Sydney (2000) and London (2012). I recommend the book for ages 8 and up, including teens and adults. Kingfisher, an imprint of Macmillan Children's Books, London, published Olympics in 2012. The ISBN is 9780753468685. 

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High-Tech Olympics

Cover of book High-Tech Olympics by Nick Hunter

The nonfiction book High-Tech Olympics by Nick Hunter provides a fascinating look at the impact that technology has had on the Olympic Games. From the artificial legs of wood and carbon fiber worn by Paralympics title winner Oscar Pistorius, a 2012 Summer Olympics participant for South Africa, to the fiberglass pole-vaulter's poles, the 32-page book covers a lot of ground with color photographs and brief descriptions. Extras include an Olympic records chart that reveals how much changes in technology have affected Olympic records, a glossary, a list of related resources and an index. I recommend the book for ages 8 to adult. Heinemann, an imprint of Capstone, published High-Tech Olympics in 2012. The ISBN is 9781410941213. 

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Cover Art - Olympics! nonfiction children's book
Puffin Books

B.G. Hennessy's book Olympics! is a good book for ages 4-8 that some older kids will also enjoy. The softbound picture book has scant text but a great many illustrations by Michael Chesworth, ranging in size from full-page to spot illustrations, all designed to help readers understand more about the Summer and Winter Olympics and about how everyone prepares for the Olympic Games. Hennessy also includes information about the meaning of the opening ceremonies and the Olympic symbols. Puffin Book, Penguin Group, published Olympics! in paperback format in 2000. The ISBN is 9780140384871. The book is out-of-print so check your library for a copy. 

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Touch the Sky: Alice Coachman, Olympic High Jumper

Cover art for Touch the Sky children's picture book
Albert Whitman & Company

In addition to books about the Olympics, there are some excellent books about Olympic medal winners. As the subtitle states, Touch the Sky is about Alice Coachman, Olympic High Jumper. This picture book biography in free verse begins with Alice Coachman's childhood in the segregated South and ends with her winning a gold medal in the 1948 Olympics. Ann Malaspina is the author. Eric Velasquez's single and double-page oil paintings give life to the story of Alice Coachman, the first African American to win an Olympic gold medal despite the racism prevalent at the time. A two-page Author's Note at the end of the book includes photographs of Alice Coachman with her team and competing in college and at the 1948 Olympic Games, as well as information about her triumphant return home and her life after the Olympics. Albert Whitman & Company published Touch the Sky in 2012. The ISBN is 9780807580356. I recommend this interesting book for ages 8 to 14.

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Magic Tree House Fact Tracker: Ancient Greece and the Olympics

Cover of Ancient Greece and the Olympics - Magic Tree House Fact Tracker
Random House

Magic Tree House Fact Tracker: Ancient Greece and the Olympics is the nonfiction companion to Hour of the Olympics (Magic Tree House #16), the very popular fictional time travel series by Mary Pope Osborne. Independent readers from 6 to 10 will enjoy being able to read about the Olympics on their own. The reading level is 2.9. The 122-page book is well-illustrated, with artwork by Sal Murdocca, as well as photographs of artifacts, Greece and the Olympic Games. In 10 chapters, author Mary Pope Osborne covers daily life, religion, and culture in ancient Greece, the early Olympics, and the modern Olympic Games. This is an especially good book for young readers who wonder what life was like in ancient Greece. At the end of the book, there's a section of tips and resources for further research and an index. Random House published the book in 2004. The ISBN is 9780375823787.​​