35 Bouncy Children's Books about Basketball

Salt In His Shoes

5 feet, 10 inches. That was Michael Jordan's height in 8th grade when he was ready to throw in the towel and give up his dreams of ever becoming a great basketball player. This biographical picture book tells the story of Jordan's perseverance, hard work and determination to succeed despite his perceived shortfalls. With the guidance of his parents, he learned that giving up is never an option. And maybe putting salt in his shoes and saying a prayer every night is what helped him grow into a 6' 6'' player over the course of a year.


girl playing basketball 

Best Kids' Basketball Books Teach Rules of the Game

One of the coolest aspects of the game is that kids can just show up at a court and find a pick up game. There is no planning required, no expensive equipment to purchase, unlike baseball where every player needs a glove and bat sizes vary by length and weight. No referees are around for impromptu games to make sure rules are followed. Players form their own teams, moderate their own games, compete like there's no tomorrow, and get a healthy amount of exercise. Invaluable life lessons are learned on the courts. Conflict resolution is a big one. Learning how to work with a team that was formed in literally just a few minutes is another. And fighting for the ball against kids who are bigger, faster, and stronger is a skill that kids will find useful in so many situations unrelated to making a shot. But if it's raining outside or there are no empty courts, read some good stories instead! These titles make great gifts, especially when paired with fun basketball toys, plush balls, and other themed gifts. 


My First Book of Basketball

Gabby and Sprat are rookie players who are here to explain all the  basics. Part of a best-selling series by Sports Illustrated, this highly recommended book is an appealing mix of photographs and cartoonish characters. Silly little jokes, fun facts, and a glossary of useful terms make this a great introduction to the sport. 





 Goodnight Basketball 

 Lull a little one to sleep with this charming tale about a boy who dreams of dribbling. This rhyming bedtime story is filled with charming pictures that capture the excitement of the game. Instead of counting sheep, preschoolers will slip into peaceful slumber with visions of balls swishing through hoops. 



 Little Basketball

A boldly illustrated book full of fun riddles about basketball.  Basic concepts about the game are introduced on each page. Little readers will learn about colorful jerseys, the perfect sneakers, all the equipment, and so much more. 



Let's Play Basketball

A  book for babies that looks and feels real, with a textured and padded surface. Simple terms and bright, bold pictures introduce little ones to the fundamentals of the game.



My First Basketball Book

A great first book for toddlers with an appealing textured cover. Oversized photographs of balls, hoops, courts, jerseys and other items on each page are accompanied with simplistic terms.



Baby Ballers Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan had a passion for the game from the time he was little boy. Toddlers will get a kick out of watching this baby baller shoot, dribble, and score. An inspiring first basketball book about a true legend. 




 Let's Play Basketball! 

 A boy and his friends head out to the courts on a sunny day for a game of hoops. A bouncy lyrical poem draws listeners right into the game. The energetic kids show off their skills as they dribble, spin, weave, and swish the ball. Sturdy cardboard pages are made to withstand the fumbling fingers of toddlers who love sports.



boy playing basketball


 Picture Books About Playing Basketball for Kindergarten and Up

These stories bring all the action of the courts into your home. For children who want to learn a little more about the game, reading will teach them everything they need to know before they take to the courts. This list includes some heartwarming stories about the friendships formed and lessons learned while playing. There are also some fascinating non-fiction basketball books about players and the hurdles they had to overcome before finding success. Pair a few of these selections with a brand new ball,  jersey, or some cool new kicks for the perfect themed gift for your budding baller.  This sport teaches kids a lot of important life lessons that extend far beyond shooting a ball through a hoop. This collection of children's books about basketball, both fiction and non-fiction, cover a lot of important information and tips about how to play. But more importantly, these are stories about valuable experiences on the courts that can be applied to school, work, and relationships unrelated to the sport.


 B is for Baller: The Ultimate Basketball Alphabet

The illustrations jump right off the page in this thrilling ABC book for kids. Each letter of the alphabet is linked to a term- a perfect way to learn the alphabet and all kinds of fun basketball facts at the same time. All the famous hoop stars make appearances, like Steph Curry, Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Larry Bird and more! A colorful and action-packed book children will love. 


 The Boy Who Never Gave Up

For every child who has ever struggled with self-doubt, related to athletics or otherwise, this book will give them just the boost they need. This is the story of Steph Curry, one of the greatest  players of all time. But believe it or not, there was a time in his life when he was told he was too short, too weak, and not skilled enough to play in college, let alone the NBA. Inspiring non-fiction basketball book for kids who will learn the importance of never quitting.




This book for kids is a real nail biter. With only a few seconds left on the clock, the score is tied between Team Meat and Team Grass Clippers. The dinosaurs from each side dribble, pass, shoot and score at a frenzied pace until the buzzer sounds. Kids will love soaking in the incredible three-dimensional illustrations that bring the game to life.



Hoop Genius: How a Desperate Teacher and a Rowdy Gym Class Invented Basketball 

The year is 1891 and a gym teacher in Massachusetts had a problem on his hands. James Naismith inherited a class of rowdy, energetic, misbehaving young boys. In fact, this group was so difficult to manage that the two prior teachers quit in frustration. Most of the sports at that time were better suited for the outdoors, so Naismith had to get creative. After a few missteps, he finally invented basketball (using peach baskets) which could be played indoors when the weather was cold. The illustrations are oddly appealing and conjure up images of a bygone era. Overall, an interesting non-fiction picture book for kids who want to learn about the history of their favorite sport.



 Dream Big: Michael Jordan and the Pursuit of Excellence 

 Written by Michael Jordan's mother, this is the inspiring story of his life before he became a legend. As a little boy, Michael dreamed of going to the Olympics. With sage advice from his parents and his coach, he turned his dream into a reality through hard work and persistence. A thoughtful picture book that teaches children about all the little things they do on a daily basis can help them reach their goals.



 My Basketball Book

 A fundamental book perfect for beginners. It's a straightforward story that explains exactly how the game works. Lots of facts are covered, including the markings on the court, team positions, uniforms, and more. This is the book to read to kids who are joining an organized league for the first time.


 Five Fouls and You're Out!

Learning to master all the skills needed to play is no easy task. Carmen is quite the dribbler and her team needs her. The only problem is that she fouls out every single game. Fortunately, her friends come to her rescue and help her solve this problem so they can go back to winning games!



 Nobody Wants to Play with a Ball Hog 

A fast and fun kids' basketball book that is part of the Sports Illustrated Kids series. When a little boy named Tyler discovers he has supernatural basketball skills, he dominates the court and refuses to pass the ball to his teammates. Soon, his opponents become savvy enough to block his shots and the winning streak ends. Will Tyler learn his lesson and realize he needs the help of his teammates? Everyone who has ever encountered a ball hog will find this story funny and relatable. 



 kylie jean hoop queen

Kylie Jean is good at being a beauty queen, but can she play basketball? This ambitious, confident girl is ready to tackle a new challenge. How hard could dribbling and shooting actually be? Well, she learns rather quickly that there may be more to the game than she realized.  A funny book that is part of a popular series for kids transitioning to chapter books.

 The Boy Who Became King

An inspiring biographical picture book about a  legend- LeBron James. This is the story of his life as a young child, the son of a single mother struggling to make ends meet. With her moral support and a special basketball coach, LeBron finds a path to incredible success and changes the course of his life. A nice introductory book for children who want to learn about what life was like before LeBron achieved fame and fortune due to his incredible success on the  court. 



The Everything Kids' Basketball Book

Nearly 150 pages of trivia and rules of the game. Interesting history is covered along with cool records and stories about famous players. This is a fantastic activity book for travel as it includes dozens of games, activities, and puzzles, too.



Allie's Basketball Dream

Allie fell in love with basketball after going to a game with her father at Madison Square Garden. When her dad gives her a brand new ball, she hits the courts feeling excited and confident. Unfortunately, she is met with disappointment when she realizes the game is much harder than the professionals make it look. As hard as she tries, her ball do not make it through the hoop. However, with practice and determination, Allie finally finds success in this inspiring story about never giving up.



Curious George Joins the Team

Curious George and his friend Tina head out for a day of fun. They go to a park built for kids of all abilities, but then Tina spots a pick up game of basketball that she wants to join. George knows she's got game and convinces the rest of the kids to let her play. An inspiring book about inclusivity and overcoming obstacles for fans of Curious George.



Swish!: The Slam-Dunking, Alley-Ooping, High-Flying Harlem Globetrotters

The Harlem Globetrotters introduced a style and skill that had never been seen before. In this appealing picture book, the magical rhythm and energy that has been entertaining fans for years is captured across the pages. Perseverance, grit, and talent are highlighted in this entertaining whirl across the courts.

Tune Squad

This Little Golden Book stars LeBron James and the Looney Tune characters in a book based on the Space Jam movie. This fast-paced story covers all the negotiations involved in forming teams and playing the game. Bugs Bunny plays a lead role, along with LeBron, in this zany book about basketball.




An epic game of H.O.R.S.E. that transcends the boundaries of the court is the theme of this imaginative picture book. Two gangly, trash-talking boys gather in an urban setting to compete in a game like no other. When the warm up shots defy the laws of gravity, readers know they are about to see something pretty special. Once the game begins, each player's shot becomes more outrageous as they reach superhero-like feats of athleticism. One player stands precariously on one foot atop a tall building for a lay-up shot like no other. The next player takes the height challenge to a whole new level by sending the ball into outer space before it ricochets back for a clean swish. The illustrations, combining collage artwork with real photographs, add to the appeal of this kids' basketball book.


i got next 

To deal with a case of pre-game jitters, a young boy takes to the court for some extra practice. As he dribbles and shoots, his personified shadow becomes his biggest cheerleader. When his nerves take hold, the shadow reminds him to keep practicing so he can become a better player. This uplifting book is a reminder to children that hard work, grit, and endurance is the key to success. 



Sports Illustrated: The Basketball Book

An amazing collection of pictures, facts and highlights from all the best moments in college and professional basketball. About 300 pages and weighing  almost 5 pounds, this basketball book is a compilation of some great stories written by expert authors at Sports Illustrated. Consider buying this photographic work of art for basketball lovers of all ages! It looks fantastic displayed on a bookshelf, end table, or in a children's basketball-themed bedroom.


 lucy tries basketball

Lucy is an energetic girl who is up for trying new things. While on the playground, she observes her friend Ava shooting hoops with her cousin, Jermaine, who happens to be a professional basketball player. Lucy and her friends learn some of the basics from Jermaine, who coaches them in a pick up game. All the kids are then invited to watch Jermaine play in a real game. This book encourages all kids to try new sports which can be enjoyed at any skill level. 





 Basketball Novels for Tweens 

These exciting basketball novels for tweens will appeal to even the most resistant readers. While shooting hoops is the prevailing theme, there are other stories woven throughout the books. Geared toward middle-grade readers, the characters in these books are dealing with friendship difficulties, challenges at school, disruptions at home like divorce, and other life events that affect tweens. Oftentimes the lessons they learn on the court can be applied to other challenges. These books will appeal to lots of tweens, but especially those who love this sport.


 EllRay Jakes Stands Tall

EllaRay Jakes may be small in stature, but he makes up for it with determination. He is always the last kid to get picked for teams in gym class. When the gym teacher give the students a chance to practice their skills, EllRay Jakes shines. He thinks that the others will finally recognize his athletic ability, but that's simply not the case. So this clever kid devises his own plan to get noticed once and for all.




 cam jansen basketball mystery

Cam Jansen has  quite a knack for solving mysteries, thanks to her photographic memory.  This time she's at a  game when a very important ball goes missing. This ball is a keepsake for the coach who is retiring, and it has special meaning since all of his prior athletes signed it. Will Cam get to the bottom of this conundrum? Cam Jansen is a best-selling book series and this  book is just as intriguing as the rest. 



 the crossover

Winner of the Newbery Medal and Coretta Scott King Award, this book told in verse is powerful. Josh and Jordan Bell dominate on the courts and grapple with growing up and the severe consequences of making poor decisions. A gut-wrenching page turner for readers of all ages, sports fans or not.


 The Million Dollar Shot

What if your family's future hinges upon making a shot? That's the case in this novel by best-selling author Dan Gutman. Eddie can win a million dollars if he successfully makes a basket during halftime at the NBA finals. But in order to earn this opportunity, he must first win a poetry contest. With the help of his friend Annie, a gifted writer, plans start falling into place. That is, until an unknown enemy starts throwing obstacles his way. Will Eddie's family ever be able to move out of the trailer park?  A fast-paced book for kids who will be rooting for the protagonist until the very end. 




 true legend

A compelling read about a talented high school basketball player whose mother fights to keep him on the right path. He's a local superstar on the court and all the hype is getting to his head.  Drew has a bright future ahead of him if only he can avoid the trouble that seems to follow him. Like many other teens, he does not recognize that his career is in peril until his path crosses with an older hoops legend who made some poor decisions. A friendship develops that proves instrumental for Drew. For reluctant readers who would rather be playing, this book is the one to buy.

travel team

A feel-good chapter book about an underdog who proves that size doesn't matter. Danny may be short, but he plays basketball with more grit and intelligence than any player around. When he is cut from the travel team, Danny enlists the help of his father, who was a basketball stand-out in his youth. Together they get to the bottom of problem of some questionable practices happening in the travel team league and prove that the players with the most heart end up on top.



 Stanford Wong Flunks Big-time

Stanford Wong's entire future hinges on whether or not he passes his English class during summer school. For if he fails, Stanford will have to repeat sixth grade and will not be able to participate on the school's varsity team. And, like most middle-schoolers know, playing on the team is key to Stanford's popularity and perhaps even special attention from one particular girl. Will he be able to endure sessions with his nerdy tutor so that he passes his class? Lots of kids will relate to Stanford's dilemma in this fast-paced basketball book for tweens. 




A fascinating book written entirely in verse by best-selling author Kwame Alexander. The book, a prequel to The Crossover, tells the story of Chuck Bell, a basketball phenome with a passion for jazz music. Readers learn where it all began during a fateful summer visiting his grandparents. This poetic work unpacks the many layers of a teenager's past, including first romance, family discord, and incredible athletic feats.


The Lollipop Book Club is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to 



girl basketball


Bring More Sports Into Story Time

Invaluable Picture Books About Sportsmanship

Football Books by Tiki and Ronde Barber

Entertaining Soccer Stories for Kids

Back to blog