Students can learn about history, perseverance, and sportsmanship by reading books about baseball. And there are so many great ones to choose from! Here are 23 of our favorite baseball books for kids, just in time for the start of the new season!
I Got It! by David Wiesner (PreK–3)
What could be a bigger hit than a tribute to America’s favorite pastime rendered by a three-time Caldecott winner? In this book, there aren’t many words, but it perfectly captures the excitement of a great fisherman.
Amira Can Catch! by Kevin Christofora (K–2)
The fourth installment of the Hometown All-Stars series, written by a Little League coach, stars Amira, a Syrian immigrant new to school. When classmate Nick asks her to baseball practice, the skills she learned at her refugee camp impress the team. Share this story to diversify and add depth to your baseball book collection as well as to highlight the power of inviting others to play.
My Favorite Sport: Baseball by Nancy Streza (K–2)
Share this straightforward informational text to bring your class up to speed on the basics of the game, including how a baseball game is structured, fundamental rules, and the various skills players must practice.
The Kid from Diamond Street: The Extraordinary Story of Baseball Legend Edith Houghton by Audrey Vernick (K–3)
What would it be like to try out for—and make it onto—a professional baseball team when you were just ten years old? This story of Edith Houghton’s career with the all-women Philadelphia Bobbies and various men’s teams tells the tale.
Anybody’s Game: Kathryn Johnston, the First Girl to Play Little League Baseball by Heather Lang (K–4)
In 1950, there were no girls allowed in Little League. Even though Kathryn Johnston cut off her braids to play for a boys’ team, that didn’t stop her. It took 24 more years for Little League to officially welcome girls, but Kathryn Johnston is an example to all athletes about how not to take no for an answer when it comes to the game you love.
Catching the Moon: The Story of a Young Girl’s Baseball Dream by Crystal Hubbard (K–4)
When Marcenia Lyle, who later changed her name to Toni Stone, kept going, she broke both gender and racial barriers. She did this because she was so passionate about baseball and never gave up. This story perfectly captures her childhood determination and will inspire athletes and non-athletes alike.
Yom Kippur Shortstop by David A. Adler (K–4)
What do you do when your team’s championship game falls on one of the most important religious holidays of your family’s year? This story, inspired by LA Dodgers player Sandy Koufax, who sat out a 1965 World Series game on Yom Kippur, does a fine job presenting different angles to this complex dilemma.
Becoming Babe Ruth by Matt Tavares (1–4)
How did George Herman “Babe” Ruth go from throwing tomatoes at delivery drivers to becoming a baseball legend? For one thing, he never forgot those that helped him get his start. Pssst: Do you have an author study on deck? If your students enjoy this story, know that Matt Tavares is a baseball-book machine, with additional biographies about Pedro Martinez, Ted Williams, and Hank Aaronas well as several more general baseball titles in his lineup.
Waiting for Pumpsie by Barry Wittenstein (1–4)
This portrayal of a young Red Sox fan’s excitement when the team finally calls up a player who looks like he does speaks to the countless kids who yearn to see themselves in the role models they look up to. Pumpsie Green may not have been the biggest star in baseball history, but his story shows how heroes are made in many ways.
Baseball: Then to Wow! by The Editors of Sports Illustrated Kids (1–5)
This collection of baseball timelines and comparisons can be used in a lot of different ways in the classroom. Use sections like “Pioneers” or “Leagues of Their Own” to establish shared background knowledge. Use “Gloves” or “Stadiums” as informational-writing mentor-text snippets. Or, just give this book to the handful of kids who will pore over every section together.
The William Hoy Story: How a Deaf Baseball Player Changed the Game by Nancy Churnin (1–5)
The fact that William Hoy was deaf didn’t stop him from earning a place on a professional baseball team. Even though he couldn’t see his umpire’s lips when he was in the first game of the season, the whole team loved how he used hand signals instead of words. Don’t miss this shining example of self-advocacy, perseverance, ingenuity, and inclusion.
The Funniest Man in Baseball: The True Story of Max Patkin by Audrey Vernick (2–5)
Max Patkin’s story proves you don’t have to be a top athlete to be a star. In this baseball biography with a twist, we remember “The Baseball Clown,” who entertained and laughed with his on-the-field antics during World War II and many times afterward for his on-the-field antics.
Micky Mantle: The Commerce Comet by Jonah Winter (2–5)
This is a story about how a young, poor boy from Commerce, Oklahoma, became a record-setting major league baseball player, even though he had a lot of injuries and other problems.
Baseball Saved Us by Ken Mochizuki (3–6)
The days when his biggest problem was being picked last for the team seem far away when “Shorty” and his family are relocated to a Japanese American internment camp during World War II. Bored and down, the residents of the camp band together to turn a piece of desert into a baseball field. Share this story to spark discussion about the saving power of a great game, even in the worst of times.
Out of Left Field by Ellen Klages (3–6)
Because Katy is a girl, she can’t play in Little League. To disprove the Little League officials’ claim that girls have never played baseball, she starts a quest to find real women baseball legends. With its diverse cast of characters, this title promises to speak to a range of fans.
A Long Pitch Home by Natalie Dias Lorenzi (3–6)
Bilal doesn’t just have to adapt to his new life in the United States. He also has to deal with life without his father, who had to stay in Pakistan. He also has to move to a new school, learn English, and play baseball instead of cricket, and it’s easy to see why he’s stressed. He finds his place on the team thanks to a chance friendship.
Step up to the Plate, Maria Singh by Uma Krishnaswami (4–6)
When Maria was a fifth-grader in 1945, her Mexican and Indian family was discriminated against in Yuba City, California. It was hard for her to play baseball because of that. This book will get students excited about baseball and keep them thinking about social justice and history with its many baseball facts.
The Way Home Looks Now by Wendy Wan-Long Shang (4–6)
This is, at its heart, a baseball story, but it’s also a story about coping with a parent’s depression, complicated parent and peer relationships, and how family members who experience a collective tragedy must each find their own ways to cope. There’s a lot to talk about here.
Just Like Jackie by Lindsey Stoddard (4–6)
Baseball is one of Robinson Hart’s only comforts as she tries to keep from clocking the fifth grade class bully, complete a family history project for school, and make sense of her grandfather’s Alzheimer’s disease. As she gradually learns to trust others, she realizes she has more teammates than she thought.
Able to Play: Overcoming Physical Challenges by Glenn Stout (4–7)
Each of the four chapters in this book talks about a Major League Baseball player who overcame a physical limitation to be successful, such as physical disabilities and very bad health. Share it with your students to help them think about what it means to be a hero in a new way, or as a simple way to figure out what the author was trying to say.
The Hero Two Doors Down: Based on the True Story of Friendship Between a Boy and a Baseball Legend by Sharon Robinson (4–7)
What if your new neighbor was Jackie Robinson? This quiet but moving story, written by Robinson’s daughter, weaves a sensitive portrayal of the baseball history-maker with the childhood struggles of eight-year-old narrator Steve. Of course, there’s plenty of baseball as well.
Rooting for Rafael Rosales by Kurtis Scaletta (4–7)
This book tells the stories of a Dominican baseball player and a young fan from Minnesota. They both have interesting stories to tell. Readers will find themselves rooting for both Rafael and Maya as they become invested in each of their realities.