The 2014 Winter Olympics are about to get underway in Sochi, Russia. Soon the 24/7 coverage of the games will begin. We’ll watch video clips of athletes training, hear the various national anthems played, and be overwhelmed, I’m sure, by the extravagance of the opening and closing ceremonies.
In reality, though, the Olympics are not about the pomp and circumstance, but about pushing yourself to do your best and represent your country proudly. There is a rich history to these games that may be overlooked in the pageantry of it all, but there are many books available to answer students’ questions about that history in a fun, engaging way. We also want our students to know that not every athlete wins, no matter how hard they try, and those lessons of perseverance can be found in our books too.
I compiled this list of titles for teachers to use as read alouds, or to make available to interested students throughout the Winter Olympics.
G is for Gold Medal by Brad Herzog
Like the other alphabet books in this series, each letter has a short poem for something Olympic-related, plus facts about that topic.
Koala Lou by Mem Fox
Koala Lou trains as hard as she can for the Bush Olympics so her busy mother will once again tell her how much she is loved. When Koala Lou comes in second, she learns just how much her mother loves her.
Tacky and the Winter Games by Helen Lester
Tacky and his companions prepare to represent Team Nice Icy Land in the winter games. With Tacky around, you can be sure the preparations are anything but smooth!
Callie Cat, Ice Skater by Eileen Spinelli
Callie spends many days skating on the pond behind her house, then all her friends tell her she’d be crazy not to enter the local skating competition. Callie learns an important lesson about the thrill of competing, and how it compares to the joy of being yourself.
Magic Tree House: Hour of the Olympics by Mary Pope Osborne
Jack and Annie travel to Ancient Greece to find a lost story and meet a secret poet. They hope to see the first Olympic Games, but Annie is not happy to learn girls are not allowed!
Magic Tree House Fact Tracker: Ancient Greece and the Olympics by Mary Pope Osborne and Natalie Pope Boyce
This book answers all the questions Jack and Annie had after returning from their adventure in Ancient Greece. It covers topics from Greek mythology to the famous philosophers and poets of that time to what daily life was really like in Ancient Greece.
Geronimo and the Gold Medal Mystery by Geronimo Stilton
Reporter Geronimo Stilton gets assigned to cover the Olympics, even though he knows nothing about sports. When he arrives in Athens, he uncovers an Olympic mystery to investigate. This book also contains some pages with facts about Ancient Greece and the original Olympic Games, as well as the modern Olympics.