Fixed Navigation Bar

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Reads to Feed Olympic Fever

The Olympics season is about to begin, and it has everyone thinking about sports—especially children and teenagers. Many young fans look up to the athletes competing in these prestigious sporting events. Yet, while there is plenty of children’s and teen fiction targeted towards popular sports such as basketball, baseball and football, it is more difficult to find interesting titles featuring Olympic sports--particularly those featured in the Winter Olympic Games. Here are some of my recommendations for winter sports-themed fiction ranging from elementary to high school reading levels:

Children’s Fiction

The Drop by Jeff Ross—Alex loves snowboarding and has dreams of joining the Backcountry Patrol, a group of snowboarders who help those in serious danger after they wander off the groomed ski slopes. The tests to prove that Alex can handle the job put him in perilous situations out in the snowy wilderness.

Face-off by Jake Maddox—Kyle’s hockey team is undefeated, and he’s trying hard to be the top scorer on the team. Can he focus completely on his game, or will he be distracted by his teammates’ injuries? (Jake Maddox has written many other fast-paced stories covering a wide variety of sports.)

Skating Shoes by Noel Streatfeild—Harriet takes up ice skating to help her recover from an illness, and on her first day at the skating rink, she meets Lalla. The two girls become best friends, but Lalla is working to become a professional skater while Harriet is just discovering her talent. Can their friendship survive if Harriet is no longer in Lalla’s shadow?

The Screech Owls series by Roy MacGregor—This series of mysteries is centered around the kids on the Screech Owl peewee hockey team. The team is from Tamarack, Ontario, but they travel all over solving hockey-related mysteries, including trips to the Winter Olympics.

Snowboard Showdown by Matt Christopher—Freddie and Dondi are brothers who fight about everything. This rivalry extends to their shared hobby of snowboarding, and because it’s the one thing that he does better than Dondi, Freddie suggests a showdown on a dangerous slope to prove once and for all that he’s the best. (Matt Christopher is another author who writes children’s fiction featuring many different sports.)

Teen Fiction

Girl Overboard by Justina Chen—Syrah Cheng is a natural snowboarder who hopes to go pro someday. But when she gets seriously injured in an avalanche, her parents ban her from the sport and take away her only escape from the rest of her problems.

Open Ice by Pat Hughes—Playing hockey is Nick Taglio’s whole life. He’s been skating and scoring goals for as long as anyone can remember. After yet another head injury during a game has his parents and coach insisting that he stop playing for good, Nick doesn’t know how to deal. Who is he without hockey?

Iceman by Chris Lynch—People call Eric the Iceman, because when it comes to hockey, he is ruthless and will do anything to win. Sometimes his anger on the ice is so out of control that even his teammates are afraid of him. Can Eric learn to deal with his anger off the ice too?

Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler—When Hudson’s parents divorced and her dad moved away, she gave up on her dream of skating professionally. Now, three years later, she decides to brush up on her skills after hearing about a skating competition with a cash prize. She ends up coaching the boys’ varsity hockey team in exchange for ice time—and all the personal complications that involves!

Undercover by Beth Kephart—Elisa is a quiet, thoughtful girl whose loneliness inspires her to take up ice skating using her mother’s old skates. Her other hobby is helping the boys at school write poetry to impress girls. But when she falls for one of the boys, his girlfriend decides to get her revenge by wrecking Elisa’s chances in the free skate competition.

- Sara Griffin, Centreville Regional Library

No comments: