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The BEST Children’s Books about the Olympics


With the 2012 Olympics coming up in July, we’ll be doing a series of activities celebrating and honoring Olympic history and tradition.

A phenomenal start to this journey was reading Usborne’s book, The Story of the Olympics, by Minna Lacey. The age range on this book begins at nine years old, but I read it aloud and with my preschooler.

The BEST Children’s Books about the Olympics

The illustrations are lively and will catch your preschoolers’ attention. The language is relatively simple too. I learned a lot from this book, and you probably will too!

children's book about the olympicschildren's book about the olympicsFor example, did you know, according to legend and at least to this book, that women were able to compete in the first Olympics? They had a separate festival, but they could participate in the games.

This idea is pretty impressive given that at the first modern Olympics in 1896, women were not allowed to join because officials, specifically the founder of the modern Olympics, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, felt ‘that their inclusion would be “impractical, uninteresting, unaesthetic, and incorrect.”‘

How about that all athletes competed naked to show off their muscular bodies? Before the competition, they also rubbed their bodies with olive oil (and often sand).

Or was today’s marathon distance of 26.1 miles not the original “marathon” distance? The distance was altered in 1908 when King Edward VII and Queen Alexandria wished to watch the start from Windsor Castle. The distance has remained 26.1 miles (or 42.195 km) since the Olympics.

I may not agree with everything de Coubertin believed, but he was passionate about the Olympics and competition. I love this quote, the Olympic creed, written by him:

“The important thing about the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle…”
– London Olympics, 1908

The BEST Children’s Books about the Olympics

There is a lot to learn from the Olympics. We will explore geography, animals, movement and history to name a few topics. I look forward to sharing our experiences with you.

Thank you for choosing to read this post. I hope that we inspired you today!

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