To celebrate the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games we have compiled a list of 15 books for all ages that will take you on a journey through all different types of sport and the lives of incredible athletes, both real and fictional! Be inspired by the true stories of Paralympian Claire Cashmore, Refugee Olympian Yusra Mardini, superstar athlete Simone Biles and Olympic Champion Sir Chris Hoy. Go running with Mo Farah, hit the dojo, run, skate and reflect on the importance of being proud of who you are. Impress friends and family with all of the facts about the Olympics as well as some poems in between, and learn about some of the most incredible women in sport.

 

Splash! by Claire Cashmore and Sharon Davey, Farshore (3+)


Claire Cashmore, MBE and Paralympic gold medallist, was born without a left forearm - but she never let being different stand in the way of her big dreams. Splash is based on Claire's real-life experience: this gold-medal-winning swimmer really was scared of water ... until one day, everything changed!

These are Claire's big sisters. They call her Bear and ruffle her hair. And whatever Claire's sisters can do, Claire can do too ... But there is one thing Claire won't do ...The water in the swimming pool makes her feel squirmy inside. Follow her sisters? No thank you! Not today? Can Claire conquer her fears? Can she set foot in the water - and what will happen if she does?
 

 

Ready Steady Mo! by Mo Farah, Kes Gray & Marta Kissi, Hachette (3+)


So, what are you waiting for? Warm up, do the MOBOT, and then ...
Run on the pavement
Run on the grass

Run in the playground
Perhaps not in class!

Follow Mo on his madcap adventures as his running skills go from strength to strength. The perfect book to share and read aloud. 
With vibrant illustrations and a rhyming text. The nation watched with bated breath as Mo Farah seized Olympic gold in the 10,000m and 5000m - he's been a national treasure ever since. In this adventurous picture book father of three, Mo Farah, combines two lifelong passions - literacy and exercise.

 

Karate Kids by Holly Sterling, Walker Books (3+)


Gi? Ready! Belt? Ready! Let's go! It's karate time. HAI-YAH! Join Maya and all her friends as they get together at the dojo for their Saturday karate class! There are moves to remember, blocks to practise, and punches to perfect! Maya is a white belt, which means she's still a beginner, but with focus, balance and determination - and a little helping hand from her friends - can she show Sensei what she's got? Written and illustrated by Holly Sterling, a karate champion and teacher, this is a joyful and uplifting celebration of the sport, and a must-have primer for any child hoping to be a karate kid one day, too!

 

I Really Want to Win by Simon Philip and Lucia Gaggiotti, Templar (3+)


Today is Sports Day. I CAN'T WAIT! And as I know that I'll be great, I've planned how I will celebrate - because I'm going to win.

Our heroine is determined that she's going to win all the events at school sports day.

The problem is that winning isn't as easy as it looks. She doesn't win the running race or the tug of war - and she can't even win a game of hide-and-seek. But maybe winning isn't really the point?
 

 

The Proudest Blue by Ibtihaj Muhammad, S.K. Ali & Hatem Aly, Andersen Press (5+)


Asiya's hijab is like the ocean and the sky, no line between them, saying hello with a loud wave. It's Faizah's first day of school, and her older sister Asiya's first day of hijab - made of a beautiful blue fabric. But not everyone sees hijab as beautiful.

In the face of hurtful, confusing words, will Faizah find new ways to be strong? This is an uplifting, universal story of new experiences, the unbreakable bond shared by siblings and of being proud of who you are, from Olympic medallist Ibtihaj Muhammad. 

 

On Your Marks, Get Set, Gold! by Scott Allen and Antoine Corbineau, Nosy Crow (7+)


An exciting, laugh-a-minute guide to every Olympic and Paralympic sport. From boxing to boccia, find out just what it takes to become an Olympic and Paralympic star in this hilariously informative guide to the games. For each sport you'll discover why it's great, why it's not so great, what skills and equipment you'll need to start practising and even how to sound like a pro! You'll learn about some of the greatest Olympians in history, events that might appear in the future and there's a helpful guide to your chances of becoming a champion.

With bold, energetic illustrations and a text packed with weird, wonderful and wildly hilarious facts written by former sports journalist Scott Allen, this gift book is the funniest guide you'll find to the next Olympics!
 

 

Olympic Poems: 100% Unofficial! by Brian Moses and Roger Stevens, Pan Macmillan (7+)


A brilliant, funny and inspiring collection of poems about sport by Brian Moses and Roger Stevens! These are poems about winning and about taking part; poems about having all the right kit, but no talent; poems that show that coming first in the egg and spoon race really is as important to your mum and dad as being an Olympic athlete; poems about being a team player and poems about being an individual hero. In fact, this book is packed with sporting gems of all kinds. Olympic Poems is perfect for any young poet or aspiring Olympian.

 

 

 

Yusra Swims by Julie Abery and Sally Deng, Creative Company (7+)
 

Yusra Mardini loves to swim. Growing up in Damascus, she is just a girl with a dream: to swim for her country in the Olympic Games. But when war erupts in her country, she is forced to flee.

In spare, rhyming verse, Yursa Swims tells the true story of one girl's journey from her beloved home in Syria to Germany. We follow her to the Turkish coast, where she boards a small, crowded boat across the Aegean Sea to Greece. When the boat begins to sink, Yusra swims, helping to push the boat and all of her fellow refugees safely to shore.

Her journey continues from Greece, through Europe, on foot, by car, bus and train, all the way to Germany. Here Yusra swims again, and is able to realise her dreams.

 

The Fastest Boy in the World by Elizabeth Laird, Pan Macmillan (7+)


Eleven-year-old Solomon loves to run! The great athletes of the Ethiopian national team are his heroes and he dreams that one day he will be a gold-medal-winning athlete like them, in spite of his ragged shorts and bare feet. When his grandfather announces that he's going to take Solomon to Addis Ababa, Solomon cannot believe his ears. A trip to the capital? It's unfathomable.

Solomon's joy is increased when he realizes that the Ethiopian running team will be doing a victory parade through the city that day. Maybe he'll get a glimpse of Haile Gebrselassie or Derartu Tulu?! But Solomon's grandfather has other plans. As Solomon follows him through the big, overwhelming streets, he learns something he cannot believe.

The strict old man is a war hero who once risked his life to save a friend and has been in hiding ever since. When grandfather collapses, Solomon knows that getting help from his village is up to him. It's a twenty-mile run from the city to home, and grandfather's life hangs in the balance.


Women in Sport by Rachel Ignotofsky, Hachette (7+)


Women in Sport celebrates the success of the tough, bold and fearless women who paved the way for today's athletes. The sportswomen featured include well-known figures like tennis player Serena Williams and broadcaster Clare Balding, as well as lesser-known pioneers like Gertrude Ederle, the first woman to swim the English Channel, and Keiko Fukuda, the highest-ranked female judoka in history. From the creator of the bestselling Women in Science, this richly illustrated book highlights the achievements and stories of fifty notable sportswomen from the 1800s to today, including trailblazers, Olympians and record-breakers in more than forty sports.

It also contains infographics on topics such as muscle anatomy, pay and media statistics for female athletes, and influential women's teams.

 

Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson, Penguin (9+)


Astrid has always done everything with her best friend Nicole. So when Astrid falls in love with roller derby and signs up for a summer camp, she's sure Nicole will be right by her side - until Nicole signs up for ballet camp instead, with Astrid's biggest rival. So begins the hardest summer of Astrid's life, as she struggles to stay on her skates, to learn who she is without Nicole . . . and to find out what it takes to be a strong, tough, awesome roller girl.

 



 


Running on Empty by S.E. Durrant, Nosy Crow (9+)


AJ's grandfather has always been the one to keep his unusual family together, so when he dies things start to unravel at the edges. AJ is worried about his parents but they don't really seem to notice. In order to deal with his grief and to keep his anxiety at bay, AJ does what he and his grandfather did best: running.

Round and round the Olympic Park, aiming for the cross country trials. Running to escape, AJ only seems to be heading ever closer to disaster. Running On Empty is a beautiful book about false starts and emotional journeys, with hope as the ultimate finishing line.

 

 

Trailblazers: Simone Biles by Sally J. Morgan, Little Tiger Press (9+)


Be inspired by the lives of trailblazers past and present in this fun and factual biography series! How did Simone Biles become a superstar athlete and gold medallist? On a daytrip to the local sports centre, Simone discovered her natural talent for gymnastics. She signed up for regular training sessions and was soon performing incredible routines at competitions. Despite a challenging start in life, Simone went on to become one of the world's greatest athletes.

Find out how this gymnast toughed it out in training and went on to win four Olympic gold medals. TRAILBLAZERS biographies are packed with little-known trivia, fascinating facts and lively illustrations.

 

Be Amazing! by Sir Chris Hoy, Walker Books (9+)


In this inspiring and confidence-boosting guide, the cyclist Sir Chris Hoy, six-time Olympic Champion, shows kids that with the right mindset, they have the power to do something extraordinary. As a boy, Chris Hoy never would have believed that he could have achieved his dream of becoming an Olympic Champion. In his first motivational book for children, he shares everything he has learned on his journey to help inspire kids to fulfil their potential and be the best they can be.

The book brings together his incredible personal story with practical ideas for building confidence, resilience and self-belief, as well as dealing with failure. An essential read for any young person with a big dream, this guide shows that anything is possible with a positive attitude!

 

Ghost by Jason Reynolds, Knights Of (11+)


Running. That's all Ghost (real name Castle Cranshaw) has ever known. But Ghost has been running for the wrong reasons -until he meets Coach, an ex-Olympic Medallist who sees something in Ghost: crazy natural talent.

If Ghost can stay on track, literally and figuratively, he could be the best sprinter in the city. Can Ghost harness his raw talent for speed, or will his past finally catch up to him?

Ghost. Lu. Patina. Sunny. Four kids from wildly different backgrounds with personalities that are explosive when they clash. But they are also four kids chosen for an elite middle school running team-a team that could qualify them for the Junior Olympics if they can get their acts together. They all have a lot to lose and a lot to prove. Not only to each other, but to themselves.