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A list of children's football books

September 17, 2010|By LESLEY MASON
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Fall is here and so it the National Football League's regular season.

Youngsters across the county are pulling out helmets and shoulder pads, excited about the beginning of a new football season. Reading about and experiencing sports can give you the opportunity to discuss the importance of practice, teamwork and fitness with your child.

Sports can also be a great way to build self-confidence in your child. Sharing memories about games, watching a favorite team together and playing catch can bring any child into the action.

It's never too early to learn the fundamentals. A friendly game of flag football or a simple game of catch can create that spark that becomes a lifelong love of the game.

Fan the flame by taking your child to local sporting events. Explain the rules and how plays are run. And reading about football will only reinforce what they are seeing and experiencing on the field.

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"Turkey Bowl" by Phil Bildner

Ages: 4 to 8.

Ethan is finally old enough to play in the family's annual Thanksgiving Day football game, but when the day arrives, it's not what he expected.

"T is for Touchdown: A Football Alphabet" by Brad Herzog

Ages: 4 to 8.

Sports writer Brad Herzog's easy-to-read-aloud rhymes engage even the youngest of readers. Hardcore fans can devour the detailed expository that covers the sport, from A-Z and end zone to end zone. This is much more than an alphabet book for beginning readers.

"The Greatest Game Ever Played" by Phil Bildner

Ages 4 to 8.

A must-read for any football family, this picture book recounts the exciting 1958 NFL championship game as viewed by a young fan and his father. The author brings to life the significance of this historic game - not just to the characters, but to the reader as well.

"The Dog That Stole Football Plays" by Matt Christopher

Ages 9 to 12.

Trouble and struggle erupt on Mike's football team when Harry, his telepathic dog, is forced to remain home, unable to give the team his supernatural advice.

"John Madden's Heroes of Football" by John Madden

Ages: 9 to 12.

This title traces the evolution of professional football from its humble beginnings as an Ivy League-college pastime in the 19th century to one of the most popular spectator sports in the United States. The text emphasizes rules, prominent athletes and strategies with sidebars and full-color photographs offering additional information. A great reference piece.

"The Big Time" by Tim Green

Ages: 12 and older.

Things couldn't be going better for Troy White. The football genius is at the top of his game, helping the team win the Georgia State Championship. Agents and lawyers are knocking on his door with big-money offers for the upcoming season. But that pales in importance when the father he never knew shows up on the sidelines.

"Love, Football, and Other Contact Sports" by Alden Carter

Ages 14 and older.

This collection of interrelated short stories is told from the points of view of football players and other students in a Wisconsin high school. Diverse topics range from the humorous antics of a sophomore forced by his parents to carry a briefcase to improve his image to a teen coming to terms with a middle-aged, mentally handicapped cousin who has just moved in. This is a funny, often hilarious, fast-paced read that offers truisms for high school life.

Lesley Mason is children and young adult librarian at Washington County Free Library.

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