15 Books About the Summer Olympics

Every two years, I become completely Olympic obsessed. I love watching both the Summer and Winter Olympics, and I am excited that this year my boys are old enough to enjoy the games with me.

Of course, before we watch the games, we have to read about them! Here are some excellent non-fiction and fiction books that we’ve been ready to get in the Olympic spirit. I hope you enjoy them, too!

15 Books About the Summer Olympics

Olympig! by Victoria Jamieson

Boomer is an underdog (underpig?) who tries his best, but starts to get frustrated with coming in last during the Animal Olympics. However, he eventually realizes that doing his best is the best way to get better!

This sweet and funny picture book is great for kids ages 4 and up.

What Are the Summer Olympics? by Gail Herman

We love the Who HQ series of books, and this one is no exception. This volume is full of great information about the Games and their history, plus lots of photographs from past Olympic Games.

This book is great as a read aloud or a solo read for kids who can handle early chapter books. I recommend sharing it with kids ages 6 and up.

Hour of the Olympics (Magic Tree House #16) by Mary Pope Osborne

Travel waaaay back in time to see how the Olympics began with this title from the popular early chapter book series. This fictional tale follows Jack and Annie to Ancient Greece, and there’s also a nonfiction companion book available

This book is great for reading aloud with younger kids, or for kids who are reading early chapter books on their own.

G is for Gold Medal: An Olympics Alphabet by Brad Herzog

Journey through Olympic history and learn the alphabet in this gorgeously illustrated book. This book profiles some of the most important events and people of past Olympic Games, and teaches kids why they are so memorable.

I recommend this book for kids ages 5 and up.

Nadia: The Girl Who Couldn’t Sit Still by Karlin Gray

Nadia Comaneci is probably best know for scoring seven perfect tens in the 1976 Summer Olympics. But before the perfect tens, she was known as an impatient girl who couldn’t sit still. This story shows how Nadia was able to take what others considered weaknesses and turn them into strengths. 

I recommend sharing this book with children ages 6 and up.

Wilma Unlimited: How Wilma Rudolph Became the World’s Fastest Woman by Kathleen Krull

When Wilma Rudolph was a young child, she had polio. She was told she would never walk on her own, but she was determined to regain her mobility. She not only walked again, she ran…all the way to three Olympic gold medals. Her story is a powerful tale of recovery and strength.

This amazing and inspiring biography is excellent for reading with kids ages 4 and up.

How to Train with a T. Rex and Win 8 Gold Medals by Michael Phelps and Alan Abrahamson

It’s not easy to win eight gold medals like swimmer Michael Phelps; it requires intense training! This fun fiction book shares lots of true facts about Phelp’s training process and how hard work brings results.

This adorable book is great for kids ages 4 and up.

Dream Big: Michael Jordan and the Pursuit of Excellence by Deloris Jordan

Michael Jordan accomplished amazing things in college and the NBA, but his dream was always to win an Olympic gold medal. His mother tells the story of the Olympic dream he had from childhood, and how he worked hard to make his dream a reality. 

This inspiring story is an excellent choice for children ages 4 and up.

Olympic Sport: The Whole Muscle-Flexing Story: Extremely Important Questions (and Answers) About Sport from the Science Museum by Glenn Murphy

This fun book takes a closer look at the science behind the games and the athletes. How do basketball players hang like that? Why do hurdlers do the splits when they jump? Read this book to find out.

I recommend this fact-filled book for kids ages 6 and up.

She’s Got This by Laurie Hernandez

This story, written by Olympic gymnast Laurie Hernandez, follows a young girl named Zoe as she works to achieve her dream of being a successful gymnast. She is discouraged by early falls and failures, but she doesn’t give up and soon she feels like she’s flying.

I recommend this adorable picture book for children ages 4 and up.

America’s Champion Swimmer: Gertrude Ederle by David A. Adler

At the age of 17, Trudy Ederle made history by winning three gold medals in the 1924 Olympic Games. However, she’s best known for breaking a world record by swimming across the English Channel in 14 hours. Her love of swimming and her desire to be the best kept her going when achieving her goals became challenging.

This amazing story of accomplishment is accompanied by beautiful illustrations. I recommend reading it with kids ages 4 and up.

Proud: Living My American Dream by Ibtihaj Muhammed

Ibtihaj Muhammed was used to being the only Muslim in her New Jersey school, and the only Muslim competing at fencing tournaments. She faced much discrimination, but she didn’t let that keep her from pursuing the sport she loved. Ibtihaj went on to be the first Muslim American woman to win a medal at the Olympics, and she made an impact by also being the first American woman to compete in a hijab.

Kids in grades 3-6 will enjoy this young readers’ version of Ibtihaj Muhammed’s memoir.

Sixteen Years in Sixteen Seconds by Paula Yoo

Young Sammy Lee loved to watch the divers at the local swimming pool. He longed to join them, but as a Korean-American, he was only allowed to swim in the pool one day per week.

Despite this limitation, Sammy worked hard to become a champion diver, alongside working to fulfill his father’s goal of Sammy becoming a doctor. Sammy not only became a doctor, in 1948 he became the first Asian-American to win an Olympic Gold Medal.

This powerful biography is great for children ages 6 and up.

Flying High: The Story of Gymnastics Champion Simone Biles by Michelle Meadows

Simone Biles is one of the greatest gymnasts of all time, and the world has marveled at her amazing talent and magnetic personality. This book explores more of Biles story, including her time in foster care as a child, how her life changed after she was adopted by her grandparents, and the hard work that took her to Olympic gold.

I recommend reading this picture book with kids ages 3 and up.

Sakamoto’s Swim Club: How a Teacher Led an Unlikely Team to Victory by Julie Abery

I absolutely adore this story about Soichi Sakamoto and the swim team he formed in Maui during the 1930s. His goal was to give the children of migrant workers structure and a sense of community. Not only did Sakamoto do that, he build a strong swim club and eventually led members of his swim team to Olympic gold.

I recommend this book for kids ages 5 and up.

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Crystal is an activist, feminist, and mom of three. She loves reading, crochet, and enjoying her family and friends. She lives with her family in Indianapolis.

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