Monday, August 1, 2016

Two New Sports Books

*With the Olympics starting this week, it's game on for readers!

Everything Sports
written by Eric Zweig and Shalise Manza Young
2016 (National Geographic Kids)
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher

The exercise we get by playing sports is good for our bodies and our minds, and the lessons we learn about dedication, teamwork, and sportsmanship are good for building character. 

Everything means every thing. Any sport that I could name is featured in this photogenic offering from National Geographic Kids. The beginning is smart as it addresses the question of what is a sport. Something can be physically taxing and/or challenging  and still not be considered a sport. What follows is a cornucopia of facts and photographs that will entice sports lovers to keep turning the pages. The sneaky part of this book is how text features teach students about geography, math, and science. For example, Who Plays What? is a two page spread that features favorite sports of countries in five continents placed on a world map. On the next two pages is A Photographic Diagram, which shows what is inside when you slice a sports ball in half. Another teaching point with this book is vocabulary. There are so many words and phrases that come from the world of sports. Page 23 is a diagram of several basketball terms (buzzer beater, slam dunk) that can be used in other contexts. Page 25 has baseball terms that serve the same purpose. If traditional sports are not your thing, there is a section on newer activities like parkour and wakeboarding. While you're watching the Opening Ceremonies this week, you can wow your friends with information from Everything Sports.

Weird but True Sports
2016 (National Geographic Kids)
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher

Tennis balls used to be black or white. They were changed to yellow when it was discovered that TV viewers could see them better. 

When they say weird, they're not kidding and that's a big part of the fun of this book. Instead of telling me how many Super Bowls have been played (Yawn.), how about mentioning that 66 people once rode a single surfboard for 13 seconds. Which fact do you think will appeal more to young readers? Somebody has created a lawn mower that can go 116 miles per hour which means I could cut my grass in a matter of minutes. We are fascinated by the bizarre which means readers will be flipping through this book trying to find facts that not only excite them, but will elicit a "No Way!" from their family and friends.

This is the kind of book that can serve as an inspiration to do research. Kids love to find facts that make jaws drop. Weird but true is like traveling through a buffet of knowledge where you can pick out the tastiest morsels and tell everyone about them.

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