Picture Books About Female Athletes

Get ready for the Olympics with these picture books about female athletes. Read their inspiring stories of courage, resilience, and strength.

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Picture Books About Female Athletes

While sports have tended to be male-dominated, women are changing the game. Diversify your classroom library with these beautiful picture books about female athletes.

Picture Books About Dancers

Bunheads by Misty Copeland

As Misty navigates the challenges of pursuing her dreams within a predominantly white and elite industry, Misty’s journey unfolds with both grace and determination. Copeland’s narrative beautifully intertwines themes of ambition, identity, and resilience, offering readers an inspiring and heartfelt story that resonates far beyond the stage. With its poignant portrayal of the highs and lows of ballet, “Bunheads” invites readers to embrace their passions and persevere against all odds.

FirebirdShe Kept Dancing: The True Story of a Professional Dancer with a Limb DifferenceDanza!: Amalia Hernández and El Ballet Folklórico de México

Firebird by Misty Copeland

In this enchanting picture book, a young girl discovers her own potential through the guidance of a magical Firebird. As she grapples with self-doubt and insecurities, the Firebird imparts wisdom and encouragement, inspiring her to embrace her unique talents and pursue her dreams of becoming a dancer. Copeland’s lyrical prose and Christopher Myers’ vibrant illustrations come together to create a powerful narrative of self-discovery, resilience, and the transformative power of belief in oneself. “Firebird” is a timeless tale that resonates with readers of all ages, offering a message of hope and empowerment that transcends the boundaries of the stage.

Danza!: Amalia Hernández and El Ballet Folklórico by Duncan Tonatiuh

Through engaging illustrations and vivid storytelling, Tonatiuh chronicles Hernández’s journey as she revolutionizes Mexican dance by founding the renowned Ballet Folklórico de México. Readers are immersed in the vibrant world of Mexican folklore and tradition as Hernández’s passion and dedication breathe life into ancient dances and costumes. With its blend of history, culture, and artistry, “Danza!” pays homage to Hernández’s pioneering spirit and the enduring beauty of Mexican dance, inspiring readers of all ages to embrace their heritage and pursue their dreams.

She Kept Dancing by Sydney Mesher

 Mesher, born with a limb difference, shares her deeply personal story of resilience, perseverance, and self-discovery as she navigates the world of dance. Through Mesher’s candid and heartfelt narrative, readers gain insight into the challenges she faced and the triumphs she achieved, defying stereotypes and breaking barriers along the way. “She Kept Dancing” is a testament to the power of passion and determination, inspiring readers to embrace their own uniqueness and pursue their dreams with unwavering resolve.

Ballerina Dreams: From Orphan to Dancer by Michaella DePrince

DePrince’s narrative is a testament to resilience, determination, and the transformative power of art. Through her captivating storytelling, readers are invited into the world of ballet, where DePrince discovers a passion that fuels her dreams and propels her toward success despite facing adversity. “Ballerina Dreams” is a moving testament to the strength of the human spirit and the pursuit of one’s aspirations against all odds.

Finding My DanceCharlotte and the Nutcracker: The True Story of a Girl Who Made Ballet HistoryBrave Ballerina: The Story of Janet Collins (Who Did It First?)


Finding My Dance by Ria Thundercloud

Thundercloud shares her personal story of overcoming challenges and finding healing and empowerment through movement. From struggles with self-esteem to navigating cultural identity, Thundercloud’s narrative is a powerful testament to the transformative nature of dance in overcoming obstacles and embracing one’s true self. “Finding My Dance” is an inspiring tale of resilience, hope, and the universal language of dance that speaks to readers of all backgrounds.

Brave Ballerina: The Story of Janet Collins by Michelle Meadows

“Brave Ballerina: The Story of Janet Collins” is a captivating picture book biography that celebrates the life and achievements of Janet Collins, the first African American prima ballerina at the Metropolitan Opera House. Through lyrical prose and vibrant illustrations, Meadows brings to life Collins’ journey of resilience and determination in the face of racial discrimination in the world of ballet. “Brave Ballerina” inspires readers of all ages with Collins’ unwavering courage and her groundbreaking contributions to the world of dance, serving as a powerful reminder of the importance of diversity and representation in the arts.

Charlotte and the Nutcracker by Charlotte Nebres

Inspired by the real-life experiences of Charlotte Nebres, the first Black dancer to play the role of Marie in the New York City Ballet’s production of “The Nutcracker,” this enchanting story celebrates diversity, perseverance, and the magic of the holiday season. With charming illustrations and a heartwarming narrative, “Charlotte and the Nutcracker” captures the imagination of readers as Charlotte discovers the joy of ballet and the power of believing in herself.

Picture Books About Gymnasts

Flying High: The Story of Gymnastics Champion Simone Biles (Who Did It First?)She's Got ThisNadia: The Girl Who Couldn't Sit Still


Flying High by Michelle Meadows

Through rhythmic text and vibrant illustrations, Meadows captures Stella’s passion for flight as she imagines herself soaring through the skies like the birds she admires. With themes of determination, curiosity, and the boundless possibilities of imagination, “Flying High” inspires children to reach for their dreams and embrace the thrill of exploration. This charming story encourages readers to believe in themselves and pursue their aspirations with courage and enthusiasm.

She’s Got This by Laurie Hernandez

Inspired by Olympic gold medalist Laurie Hernandez’s own experiences, this uplifting tale encourages readers to face challenges with confidence, resilience, and a positive attitude. With engaging storytelling and vibrant illustrations, “She’s Got This” delivers a powerful message about believing in oneself, pursuing one’s passions, and never giving up, inspiring children to discover their own potential and reach for their dreams.

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

Through engaging prose and charming illustrations, the book follows Nadia’s journey from a restless and energetic young girl in Romania to becoming the first gymnast to score a perfect 10 at the Olympic Games. “Nadia” celebrates the power of perseverance, passion, and believing in oneself, inspiring young readers to embrace their unique qualities and pursue their dreams with unwavering dedication.

Picture Books About Swimmers

Annette Feels Free by Katie Mazeika

Annette Feels Free” is a heartwarming children’s book that follows the journey of a young girl named Annette as she learns to embrace her individuality and express herself authentically. The book explores Annette’s exploration of freedom through various activities and self-discovery. As Annette navigates her world with curiosity and confidence, “Annette Feels Free” gently encourages young readers to celebrate their uniqueness and find joy in being true to themselves. This delightful tale inspires children to embrace their passions, express their creativity, and find freedom in being exactly who they are.

Swimming Toward a Dream by Reem Faruqi

“Swimming Toward a Dream” is a poignant middle-grade novel that follows the journey of twelve-year-old Bilal, who dreams of becoming a competitive swimmer despite facing cultural and social barriers. Set in the backdrop of Georgia, USA, Bilal grapples with the expectations of his conservative Pakistani-American family while navigating the challenges of pursuing his passion for swimming. Through Bilal’s determination, courage, and resilience, Faruqi weaves a captivating narrative that explores themes of identity, family, and the pursuit of one’s dreams. “Swimming Toward a Dream” is a heartwarming tale that inspires readers to follow their aspirations, overcome obstacles, and embrace the power of self-discovery.

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

When she was just a 17-year-old swimmer, Gertrude Ederle won three Gold Medals in the 1924 Olympic Games. Later on, she broke a world record when she swam across the British Channel in just 14 hours. She continued to work hard and challenge herself throughout her life. 

Picture Books About Baseball Players

Mamie on the Mound: A Woman in Baseball's Negro LeaguesPlayers In PigtailsShe Loved Baseball: The Effa Manley Story


Mamie on the Mound: A Woman in Baseball’s Negro Leagues by Leah Henderson

During Mamie Johnson’s day, the only women’s baseball team was a segregated one. By 1953, she joined a Negro men’s league and her talent continued to grow. She became the first female pitcher to play in the men’s leagues, but thanks to her, many other women were able to follow in her footsteps. 

Players in Pigtails by Shana Corey

In a time when women were limited in a lot of arenas, Kate Casey saw a grand opportunity in the All American Girls Professional Baseball League. She decided to try out and earned a spot on the team, where she was finally able to pursue a passion of hers! 

She Loved Baseball: The Effa Manley Story by Audrey Vernick

Effa Manley remains the only woman in history to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Effa was the manager of the baseball team the Newark Eagles, which she cofounded along with her husband. 

Picture Books About Others

Mia Hamm: A Kid’s Book About a Developing a Mentally Tough Attitude and Hard Work Ethic (Mini Movers and Shakers)Chloe Kim: A Kid’s Book About Sacrifice and Hard Work (Mini Movers and Shakers)Wilma Rudolph: A Kid’s Book About Overcoming Disabilities (Mini Movers and Shakers 38)

Movers and Shakers Series by Mary Nhin

The “Movers and Shakers” series by Mary Nhin is a collection of children’s books that introduces young readers to inspiring stories of individuals who have made a positive impact in various fields. Through engaging narratives and vibrant illustrations, each book highlights the life and achievements of a different mover and shaker, from innovators and leaders to activists and artists. With themes of perseverance, creativity, and empathy, the series encourages children to dream big, embrace their unique talents, and make a difference in the world. These uplifting stories inspire young readers to believe in themselves and their ability to effect change, fostering a sense of empowerment and curiosity about the world around them.

Dream Big Little Pig by Kristi Yamaguchi

This fictional book about a little pig is written by one of my favorite athletes, Olympic figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi. This sweet story is a perfect reminder to dream big.

Chloe Kim by Derek Moon

“Chloe Kim” is an inspiring biography that chronicles the life and achievements of the celebrated snowboarder, Chloe Kim. From her early days on the slopes to her historic gold medal win at the Winter Olympics, Moon captures the passion, determination, and talent that have propelled Kim to the pinnacle of her sport. Readers are invited into Kim’s world, where she defies expectations, overcomes challenges, and blazes a trail for future generations of athletes. “Chloe Kim” is a compelling tribute to perseverance, courage, and the pursuit of excellence, inspiring readers of all ages to chase their dreams with unwavering determination.

Traveling Shoes by Alice Faye Duncan

Duncan takes readers on a journey through history, highlighting the contributions of influential artists such as Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, and Louis Armstrong. From the jazz clubs of Harlem to the cotton fields of the South, “Traveling Shoes” pays homage to the resilience, creativity, and spirit of innovation that define the African American musical tradition. This lyrical and engaging book inspires young readers to explore the rich tapestry of American music and appreciate the diverse voices that shape our cultural landscape.

Basketball Belles by Sue Macy

Agnes Morley loved the sport of basketball, and she was very good at playing. In 1896, Agnes joined a team of women who played the first-ever college game of basketball. Soon after, women’s basketball became much more widely accepted as a sport. 

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