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It's Kick Off Time! The Best Children's Books about Football

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If you're looking for a fun and engaging way to introduce your kids to the world of football, these children's books about football are a great starting point. From heartwarming stories of teamwork to thrilling tales of underdog victories, these picture books about football will score a touchdown in your little reader's heart.


Get ready to kick off a love for the game with these fantastic reads! For your convenience, we've included publisher's descriptions along with each book.

A moving illustrated biography of the late Joe Delaney, an NFL star in the making who valued helping others above all else


On the football field, Joe Delaney possessed all the qualities of a great running back. He was fast with keen instincts, a burst of red and gold as he sprinted toward the end zone for the Kansas City Chiefs.


Off the field, he embodied the qualities of a great person: generous, hard-working, humble, and honest. Helping people was simply second nature to Joe.


In 1983, on a summer's day in Louisiana, Joe Delaney gave his life trying to save three children from drowning in a pond. While others stood by, Joe didn't hesitate before rushing into the water, though he was not a strong swimmer himself. Now, football fans of all teams honor his legacy as an extraordinarily brave young man who cared fiercely for his community.


Written with the support of the Delaney family, Heroic Heart is a lushly illustrated, lyrical story of selflessness and courage. Adults and children alike will learn about the remarkable life of this compassionate NFL star.


FIND IT HERE

AMAZON


From acclaimed author and illustrator Don Tate, the picture book Pigskins to Paintbrushes tells the rousing story of Ernie Barnes, an African American pro football player and fine artist.


He realized how football and art were one and the same. Both required rhythm. Both required technique. Passing, pulling, breaking down the field--that was an art.


Young Ernie Barnes wasn't like other boys his age. Bullied for being shy, overweight, and uninterested in sports like boys were "supposed" to be, he instead took refuge in his sketchbook, in vibrant colors, bold brushstrokes, and flowing lines. But growing up in a poor, Black neighborhood during the 1930s, opportunities to learn about art were rare, and art museums were off-limits because of segregation laws. Discouraged and tired of being teased, Ernie joined the school football team. Although reluctant at first, he would soon become a star.


But art remained in Ernie's heart and followed him through high school, college, and into the NFL. Ernie saw art all around him: in the dynamic energy of the game, the precision of plays, and the nimble movement of his teammates. He poured his passion into his game and his craft and became famous as both a professional athlete and as an artist, whose paintings reflected his love of the sport and celebrated Black bodies as graceful and beautiful.


He played for the Baltimore Colts (1959-60), Titans of New York (1960), San Diego Chargers (1960-62), and the Denver Broncos (1963-64). In 1965, Barnes signed with the Saskatchewan Roughriders in Canada but fractured his right foot, which ended his professional football career. Soon after, he met New York Jets owner Sonny Werblin, who was impressed by Barnes and his art. In 1966, Barnes had a debut solo exhibition in New York City, sponsored by Werblin at the Grand Central Art Galleries; all the paintings were sold. Barnes became so well known as an artist that one of his paintings was featured in the opening credits of the TV show Good Times, and he was commissioned to create official posters for the Los Angeles 1984 Summer Olympics.


From award-winning author and illustrator Don Tate, Pigskins to Paintbrushes is the inspiring story of Ernie Barnes, who defined himself on his own terms and pushed the boundaries of "possible," from the field to the canvas.


The back matter includes Barnes's photograph and his official Topps trading card. Also included are an author's note, endnotes, a bibliography, and a list of websites where Barnes's work can be seen.


FIND IT HERE

AMAZON


Related Reading: 9 Football Books Kids Will Love by Tiki and Ronde Barber

A little-known civil rights hero and college football MVP finally gets a voice in this fictional account detailing Chester Pierce's game-changing role as the first Black college football player to compete south of the Mason-Dixon Line.


In 1947, no African American player can play at a southern school; in return, the opposing team benches a player of "equal talent." This historical fiction picture book frames a turbulent time in the civil rights era with the clever use of a football play to show race relations and teamwork. Inspired by a true story, capturing a historic defense against the Jim Crow laws of the South.


FIND IT HERE

AMAZON


This informational LGB is also a touching tribute to the lessons we learn from our fathers!


Every Sunday, a boy and his dad watch the big football game on TV, and then go outside to play it. In this simple introduction to the game, the emphasis is on playing safely and having fun.


FIND IT HERE

AMAZON


Tony Dungy's little brother, Linden, is a third grader who is having a bad day at school. Linden is the youngest of the Dungy family and the least motivated because he hasn't found "it." In a family where everyone seems to have found their special talent, all Linden knows is that he wants to make people happy.


With encouragement from his parents, a helping hand from his older brother Tony, and inspiration from God, Linden learns that if he dreams big and has faith, he can do anything!


FIND IT HERE

AMAZON


Fair Play Is Always the Right Way Austin loves playing flag football for the Trentwood Tigers. There is only one problem. His team has lost six games in a row, and he doesn't like losing. At his next game, Austin's teammate has a plan to trick the other team. It works, but Austin knows his team cheated to win.


Coach Tony and Coach Lauren remind Austin the most important thing about football isn't winning--it's playing fair. When his team takes the field for their next game, will Austin choose to cheat again, or will he stand up for what's right? What would you do if you were in Austin's shoes?


FIND IT HERE

AMAZON

 

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