Ready, Set… Read! Sporty recommendations for the Summer Reading Challenge

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For this year’s Summer Reading Challenge, The Reading Agency have teamed up with Youth Sport Trust to inspire children to discover the power of sport and play through reading.

To help you decide what to read next, we have been thinking about our favourite sports-related books.

The Burpee Bears by Joe Wicks and Vivian French, illustrated by Paul Howard, published by HarperCollins

Did you enjoy our World Book Day 2023 £1/€1.50 title, Bedtime for the Burpee Bears? Then why not head back to where it all began, with The Burpee Bears, co-written by fitness coach Joe Wicks!

For this bear family, every day is a new day: a day for adventure and discovery, and true to Joe’s ethos, each book will feature a fun and positive story with added exercises and recipes – perfect for families to share and enjoy together!

Hide and Seek Pig by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Axel Sheffler, published by Macmillan

Pig and Hen are playing hide-and-seek. But where on earth could Hen be?

With rhyming stories that are a joy to hear read aloud, the Tales from Acorn Wood series has been delighting both parents and toddlers for over twenty years. We have a video story version of this title available on Share a Story Corner, along with an accompanying activity pack!

Ballerina Dreams by Michaela DePrince, illustrated by Ella Okstad, published by Faber

The younger-reader edition of Michaela DePrince’s memoir, Hope in a Ballet Shoe.

At the age of three, Michaela DePrince found a photo of a ballerina that changed her life. She was living in an orphanage in Sierra Leone at the time, but was soon adopted by a family and brought to America. Michaela never forgot the photo of the dancer she once saw, and decided to make her dream of becoming a ballerina come true. She has been dancing ever since, and after a spell as a principal dancer in New York, now dances for the Dutch National Ballet in Amsterdam.

Harry Miller’s Run by David Almond, illustrated by Salvatore Rubbino, published by Walker

A joyful, uplifting story of times gone by from the internationally acclaimed author of Skellig, illustrated in full colour by the award-winning illustrator of A Walk in London.

Liam just wants to go out running with his mates – it’s not long till the Junior Great North Run, and there’s training to be done. But Mam needs him today, to help old Harry clear out his house. Harry knows a thing or two about running. When he was a lad, he says, he ran all the way from Newcastle to South Shields. “But Harry,” says Mam, “that’s thirteen miles!” Harry grins. “Different times,” he says. This is the story of that day: of sweltering heat, clattering boots, briny sea air and the heavenly taste of ice cream; the day when Harry and his pals ran and ran and ran through the blazing sunlight all the way to the sea.

Roar by Beth Mead, published by Hachette

Football hero Beth Mead grew up playing football on the pitches of North Yorkshire. She went on to become a football champion and Golden Boot winner at the 2022 European Championships. She’s here to help you find your sporting passion, work hard and achieve your dreams.

From discovering something you love, having fun and staying positive, to working as a team, setting goals and flicking your superstar switch, sport has the magic to help you feel confident in all areas of your life. But it’s also about fun, freedom, friendship, focus and flair.

So stretch your legs, lace up your boots and discover Beth’s insider tips, tricks and activities for dreaming big, reaching your potential and playing the sport you love.

Fancy winning a signed copy of Roar, plus a signed England shirt? Enter our competition here.

The Most Incredible True Football Stories (You Never Knew) by Matt Oldfield, published by Hachette

Unbelievable footballDo you think you know everything there is to know about football? Have you heard of …

  • The psychic octopus who could predict the winner?
  • The Lancashire Lasses who became the best kept secret of women’s football?
  • The dog detective who saved the World Cup trophy?
  • The superstar footballer who never actually played football?

Discover the most incredible, sometimes ridiculous, and always completely unbelievable football stories you never knew. From bestselling author Matt Oldfield, this is part of the Unbelievable Football series – showcasing true tales from the world’s favourite game where there’s everything to play for and anything can happen.

Our Beautiful Game by Lou Kuenzler, published by Faber

Our Beautiful GameIf you enjoyed our World Book Day 2023 £1/€1.50 title, Boot It! by A.M. Dassu you may enjoy this stand-out historical novel inspired by the incredible true stories of female football legends like Lily Parr and Alice Woods.

Polly Nabb is no stranger to trouble. When her brother Joe is sent to serve in the trenches, all Polly wants is to kick a ball about and forget the war. Mam has other ideas, and makes her stay home to help with endless chores. But football is something Polly is prepared to fight for – it’s her life! She’s determined to do whatever it takes to fulfil her dream and show the world that football is not just for boys…

Interested? Our Beautiful Game was one of our Book Club titles. You can read an extract here and watch our brilliant videos with author Lou Kuenzler. You can even try out our themed Book Club snack.

Girls Can’t Hit by T.S Easton, published by Hot Key Books

A funny teen story about knowing when to train… and when to fight.

Fleur Waters never takes anything seriously – until she turns up at her local boxing club one day, just to prove a point. She’s the only girl there, and the warm-up alone is exhausting… but the workout gives her an escape from home and school, and when she lands her first uppercut on a punching bag she feels a rare glow of satisfaction. So she goes back the next week, determined to improve.

Fleur’s overprotective mum can’t abide the idea of her entering a boxing ring, why won’t she join her pilates class instead? Her friends don’t get it either and even her boyfriend, ‘Prince’ George, seems concerned by her growing muscles and appetite – but it’s Fleur’s body, Fleur’s life, so she digs her heels in and carries on with her training. When she finally makes it into the ring, her friends and family show their support and Fleur realises that sometimes in life it’s better to drop your guard and take a wild swing!