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Resources, Resources: Off to the Summer Olympics!

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Resources, Resources: Off to the Summer Olympics!

By Rebecca Rupp

OlympicsFor the summer Olympic season, try some of these:

Brad Herzog’s G is for Gold Medal (Sleeping Bear Press, 2011) in an Olympics alphabet book in which each (alphabetical) Olympic feature is accompanied by a short rhyme and – for fact-lovers – side paragraphs with detailed explanations. A, for example, stands for “Ancient Greece and Athens/that’s our first letter – A/The Olympics began then and there/long ago and far away.” For ages 4-9.

For Magic Tree House fans, in Mary Pope Osborne’s Hour of the Olympics (Random House Books for Young Readers, 1998), Jack and Annie travel back in time to ancient Greece and visit the first Olympic games. For ages 5 and up.

Ancient Greece and the Olympics by Mary Pope Osborne and Natalie Pope Boyce (Random House Books for Young Readers, 2004), the nonfiction companion to Hour of the Olympics, is a reader-friendly, illustrated, 128-page compendium of information on ancient Greek geography, history, religion, daily life, culture, and the Olympics games, then and now.

See also Why You Should Start Throwing, Er, Juggling Things

Michael Ford’s You Wouldn’t Want to Be a Greek Athlete (Franklin Watts, 2004) follows the life of a young Greek boy through training and participation in the Olympic games. Set in the mid-5th century BCE, the 32-page book is a mix of humor and history, illustrated with cartoons, labeled diagrams, and informational sidebars. For ages 8-12.

For those who think they might want to be a Greek athlete anyway, see Jacqueline Morley’s 32-page How to Be an Ancient Greek Athlete (National Geographic Children’s Books, 2008) which provides an illustrated scoop on the ancient athletic training process. There’s a quiz at the end to see if you’d qualify for the Games. (Girls need not apply.)

The Summer Olympics

Matt Christopher’s Great Moments in the Summer Olympics (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2012) is a 128-page overview of the Games’ high (and low) points from 1896 to the present. Included are a list of featured events, a timeline, and stories about such Olympic superstars as Wilma Rudolph, Jesse Owens, Carl Lewis, Nadia Comaneci, and Michael Phelps. For ages 9-12.

From history teacher Mr. Donn, Ancient Greek Olympics at, targeted at kids, gives background on the games and explains what it’s like to be a contest from each of five competing city-states: Sparta (“Be proud! You have endured unbelievable pain and hardship to become a superior Spartan soldier and citizen!”), Athens, Corinth, Argos, and Megara. Included is an excellent list of links for Ancient Greece and the Ancient Greek Olympics, including interactive games and lesson plans.

For a photo-illustrated A-to-Z gallery of Olympic medal winners with quick facts and reader-friendly biographies, see

Olympics Themed Crafts

Activity Village at has printable puzzles and worksheets, Olympic-themed crafts (among them origami Olympic rings, an Olympic ring toss game, and a Union Jack bag), and instructions for holding your own homestyle Olympic games, with printable medals, indoor and outdoor game suggestions, and recipes. (Make five-colored Olympic Biscuits.)

Olympics Theme for Kids at has an alphabetical list of all the summer Olympic events, Olympic-themed crafts (including making an Olympic flag, torch, and rings mural), a history of Olympic mascots, and suggestions for an Olympic Games Day, with games that imitate actual Olympic events.

Time for Kids at has a kid-friendly overview of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, including information on athletes, events, London, and England.

For even more resources on the summer Olympic Games – including cool Olympic biographies, totally imaginary Olympics, the best kid’s books for an armchair tour of London, and a recipe for pickle-chiffon pie – visit


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