Summer Olympics Reads with the Washington Mystics

Summer Olympics Reads with the Washington Mystics

This summer, DC Public Library is teaming up with the Washington Mystics to recommend great reads that you can check out with your library card! Each month we will be posting Read Feed entries that spotlight titles around a theme. July’s theme is the Olympics. In honor of all those competing in the 2021 Summer Olympics, we have selected some amazing true stories and fictional stories that explore what it is like being an Olympian. Happy Reading!

YA Nonfiction

Games of Deception, Andrew Maraniss
On a scorching hot day in July 1936, thousands of people cheered as the U.S. Olympic teams boarded the S.S. Manhattan , bound for Berlin. Among the athletes were the 14 players representing the first-ever U.S. Olympic basketball team. As thousands of supporters waved American flags on the docks, it was easy to miss the one courageous man holding a BOYCOTT NAZI GERMANY sign. But it was too late for a boycott now; the ship had already left the harbor. This is the incredible true story of basketball, from its invention by James Naismith in Springfield, Massachusetts, in 1891, to the sport's Olympic debut in Berlin and the eclectic mix of people, events and propaganda on both sides of the Atlantic that made it all possible. 

Proud: Living My American Dream, Ibtihaj Muhammad
At the 2016 Olympic Games, Ibtihaj Muhammad smashed barriers as the first American to compete wearing hijab, and she made history as the first Muslim American woman to win a medal. But before she was an Olympian, activist, and entrepreneur, Ibtihaj was a young outsider trying to find her place. Ibtihaj's inspiring journey from humble beginnings to the international stage is told in her own words and enhanced with helpful advice and never-before-published photographs. Proud is an all-American tale of faith, family, hard work, and self-reliance.

Courage To Soar, Simone Biles
In Courage to Soar, the official autobiography from four-time Olympic gold-winning and record-setting American gymnast Simone Biles, Simone shares how her faith, family, passion, and perseverance against tremendous odds made her one of the top athletes and record-breaking gymnasts in the world--and how you too can overcome challenges in your life.

YA Fiction

Gravity, Sarah Deming
Since Gravity "Doomsday" Delgado started working with Coach Thomas, she has been breaking records, breaking her competitors, and breaking the walls inside her. Boxing is taking her places. She makes friends with other boxers: flirtatious Lefty, hard-to-beat D-Minus, artistic Kimani "Monster" Browne, and a host of others. But things with her mother are reaching a tipping point, and Gravity has to look out for her little brother Ty. With a shot at the Olympics on the line, she will have to decide what is worth fighting for. 

Synchro Boy, Shannon McFerran
Sixteen-year-old Bart Lively desperately wants to feel comfortable in his own skin. Sure, he's a competitive swimmer, but being a jock doesn't mean he isn't the target of gay jokes, and the macho culture of his swim club is wearing him down. At the same time, he becomes drawn to the art and athleticism of synchronized swimming, the idea of the human form moving to music underwater. So he jumps at the opportunity to become the first boy on the synchro swimming team, even if it means others start questioning his masculinity even more. He starts finding himself attracted to his teammate Erika, and when she asks Bart to swim with her in a brand new event, the mixed duet, he commits to taking them all the way to the Olympics. Ultimately, Bart will have to give in to his intuition that leads him to realize there are many ways to be a boy. If he doesn't, he'll not only lose his friendship with Erika, but his new Olympic dream--and the joy he feels as he dances in the deep.

Tumbling: A Novel, Caela Carter
For fans of Make It Or Break It , a novel about the road to Olympics for the world's most elite gymnasts. Grace lives and breathes gymnastics--but no matter how hard she pushes herself, she can never be perfect enough. Leigh, Grace's best friend, has it all: a gymnastics career, a normal high-school life... and a secret that could ruin everything. Camille wants to please her mom, wants to please her boyfriend, and most of all, wants to walk away. Wilhelmina was denied her Olympic dream four years ago, and she won't let anything stop her again. No matter what. Monica is terrified. Nobody believes in her--and why should they? By the end of the two days of the U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Trials, some of these girls will be stars. Some will be going home with nothing. And all will have their lives changed forever.