Atlanta families are passionate about sports. We routinely attend sporting events, watch ESPN and other sports networks, watch sports movie blockbusters, and browse websites and online videos devoted to sports. So, how can you provide worthwhile opportunities for your kids to tap into these interests in sports? Here’s how:

First, choose a sports book to read together with your kid. Depending on the age of your child, you could read a chapter book simultaneously over a week or choose to read a different picture book each night. There are many books that show the depth of writing about sports topics and present fun ways for you to connect with your child.

Some recommendations for middle grade (ages 8-12) and older kids include “The Girl Who Threw Butterflies,” in which middle-grades author Mick Cochrane tells the story of a girl who throws an amazing knuckleball. The novel is as much about growing up and dealing with her father’s death as it is about baseball. In “Pick-Up Game: A Full Day of Full Court,” nine renowned Young Adult authors write about one day on a New York City basketball court. Robert Lipsyte’s young adult novel, “Center Field,” follows the life of a star high school baseball player and addresses questions of authority and the intentions of domineering coaches.

Next, help further develop your child’s knowledge of sports with additional activities beyond reading books. Try these ideas:

  • Have conversations about the sports your child likes, and explore books and websites that fit those interests.
  • Create a free fantasy sports league with your kid where you act as team owners who make all the personnel moves to make your team successful. Yahoo (fantasysports.yahoo.com) and ESPN (games.espn.go.com) both have popular fantasy league websites.
  • Watch and talk about movies and documentaries with sports topics. ESPN’s 30 for 30 documentaries highlight sports icons and explore social issues as they relate to sports. “We Are Marshall” examines how a college football team and community heal after a plane crash that kills many of its players and coaches. “Moneyball,” also based on real events, explores sports as big business and one team’s attempt to use computer analysis to win a championship.

Enjoying sports books, movies and more can offer exposure to a number of themes in your family’s life and other people’s lives. With these tips, you will add to your kid’s growing knowledge of sports – and you’ll have lots of fun along the way.

More Sports Books and Movies to Enjoy

Middle grades and up
Game Changers by Mike Lupica
Fourth Down and Inches: Concussions and Football’s Make-or-Break Moment by Carla McClafferty
More than a Game (Documentary) by Kristopher Belman
Play Basketball like a Pro: Key skills and Tips by Nate LeBoutillier
The Crossover by Kwame Alexander
Glory Road (Movie) by Josh Lucas
Sk8er by Steven Barwin
Tangerine by Edward Bloor

Picture Books
Miss Mary Reporting: The True Story of Sportswriter Mary Garber by Sue Macy
By My Brother’s Side by Tiki and Ronde Barber
The Kid From Diamond Street: The Extraordinary Story of Baseball Legend Edith Haughton by Audrey Vernick
Teammates by Peter Golenbock
Mama Played Baseball by David Adler
Hoop Genius: How a Desperate Teacher and a Rowdy Gym Class Invented Basketball by John Coy

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