Elem./MG – Spectacular Sports (Series NF)

Doeden, Matt. Spectacular Sports. Millbrook Press, 2021. $25.99 each. $208.32 Set of 9. 64 p. Grades 5-8.

Coming Up Clutch: The Greatest Upsets, Comebacks and Finishes in Sports History. 978-1-512-42756-1.
It’s Outta Here! The Might and Majesty of the Home Run. 978-1-728-41716-5.
The College Football Championship: The Fight for the Top Spot. 978-1-467-71897-4.
The Final Four: The Pursuit of College Basketball Glory. 978-1-467-78780-2.
The NBA Playoffs: In Pursuit of Basketball Glory. 978-1-541-54153-5.
The Negro Leagues: Celebrating Baseball’s Unsung Heroes. 978-1-512-42753-0.
The Stanley Cup Playoffs: The Quest for Hockey’s Biggest Prize. 978-1-541-57838-8.
The Super Bowl: Chasing Football Immortality. 978-1-512-42754-7.
The World Cup: Soccer’s Global Championship. 978-1-512-42755-4.

This reviewer read It’s Outta Here! The Might and Majesty of the Home Run in the Spectacular Sports series. This series offers meticulously-researched, well-written information, tons of sports statistics, and interesting full-color illustrations about high-interest sports topics that middle-level readers will be excited to learn more about. Each book in the series addresses a different major event in sports or sports history. The books include short chapters with catchy titles, captioned photos and diagrams, a glossary, and an index.

THOUGHTS: This series contains worthwhile additions for any upper elementary or middle level library that needs to add colorfully-illustrated, high-interest books about popular sports topics to its collection. (Title Reviewed: It’s Outta Here! The Might and Majesty of the Home Run.)

796s Sports          Erin Faulkner, Cumberland Valley SD

Elem. – Above the Rim: How Elgin Baylor Changed Basketball

Bryant, Jen, and Frank Morrison. Above the Rim: How Elgin Baylor Changed Basketball. Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2020. 978-1-4197-4108-1. Unpaged. $18.99. Grades 3-6.

“Whenever Elgin played, people stopped what they were doing and watched.” Elgin Baylor had that kind of effect on the game of basketball, but that was not all. As he grew and played, he also learned and watched what was happening in the world around him. He saw civil rights leaders bravely and peacefully standing up (or sitting down) for change. When Elgin finally made the NBA, he was still facing many forms of discrimination, and now it was his turn to act. “Sometimes you have to sit down to stand up.” The lessons from this poetic biographical picture book by the stellar Jen Bryant are sure to land with young sports fans; meanwhile, the stretched artistic oil paintings portray a man that seemed larger than life in an ever changing time. Just watch and see the impact this book could have on your young readers!

THOUGHTS: Elgin Baylor may not be a household name for young fans, but if they stop and discuss it, they will see how the work of LeBron James, Jackie Robinson, and others are intertwined with his leadership and talent. The timeline at the end offers its own intertwined path between civil rights events and Elgin’s career. A very worthy addition to picture book biographies.

Biography          Dustin Brackbill, State College Area SD

Elem. – History of Sports (Series NF)

Abdo, Kenny. History of Sports. ABDO Books, 2020. $20.00 ea. $120.00 set of 6.  24 p. Grades K-3. 

History of Basketball. 978-1-532-12738-0.
History of Baseball. 

History of Football. 978-1-532-12739-7.
History of Golf. 978-1-532-12740-3.
History of Gymnastics.  978-1-532-12741-0.
History of Soccer 978-1-532-12742-7.

History of Baseball gives a brief history of baseball, from the beginning to current times. The game of baseball is briefly explained; however, it is not an in depth explanation. There is a table of contents, glossary, and an index, as well as a page with a QR code that can be scanned for additional information. There are several full color photos found within the book  to demonstrate the different aspects of baseball that are being discussed.

THOUGHTS: This is a great introductory resource to help students learn how to use nonfiction books. This will definitely help any student who is not familiar with baseball to do research; however, it is extremely simple at times. Overall, this is a nice addition to an elementary nonfiction collection but not necessary.

796 Sports          Mary Hyson, Lehigh Valley Charter Academy

Captured History – 3 Must-Have series from Capstone


Captured History (series). North Mankato, MN: Compass Point Books, 2017. $34.65 ea. 64pp. Gr. 5-9.

Burgan, Michael. Death at Kent State: How a Photograph Brought the Vietnam War Home to America. 978-0-7565-5424-8.

Nardo, Don. Ground Zero: How a Photograph Sent a Message of Hope. 978-0-7565-5427-9.

Captured History is a beautiful photography series from Capstone that began in 2012.  These two new titles bring to light two very different historic moments in U.S. history: 9/11 and Kent State, May 1970.  Both are symbols of war, yet have very different responses.  The first hope; the second fear and death (each cover expresses these feelings too: Ground Zero has firefighters raising the U.S. flag, while Death at Kent State shows a dead body with a woman screaming out next to it).  Each title integrates photographs and prose to share the iconic moment in U.S. history with students.  These titles, along with the previous ones in the series, are a great tool for not only teaching the history, but also for teaching how to read and use images to tell a story, along with use of primary sources in research.  In addition to the prose and images, each title also includes a timeline, glossary, additional resources (including a code for FactHound), Common Core connections, source notes, selected bibliography, and an index.  THOUGHTS:  This is a must have series for all middle schools and high schools.  The images alone make this a worthy purchase, not to mention the prose and resources provided.  This series is useful for library classes looking at images, research, history courses, and English classes in need of more nonfiction.  

U.S. History       Erin Parkinson, Beaver MS/HS



Captured History Sports (series). North Mankato, MN: Compass Point Books, 2016. $33.99 ea. 64pp. Gr. 5-9.

Berne, Emma Carslon. What a Kick: How a Clutch World Cup Win Propelled Women’s Soccer. 978-0-7565-5293-0.

Burgan, Michael. Daring Play: How a Courageous Jackie Robinson Transformed Baseball. 978-0-7565-5291-6.

Burgan, Michael. Miracle on Ice: How a Stunning Upset United a Country. 978-0-7565-5290-9

Nardo, Don. Massacre in Munich: How Terrorists Changed the Olympics and the World. 978-0-7565-5292-3.

Capstone Publishing began their Captured History series in 2012 focusing on iconic moments in U.S. history.  This new series, Captured History Sports, brings to light four moments in sports history that transformed the United States and specific sports: women’s soccer, Munich Olympic Games, Jackie Robinson and baseball, and U.S. ice hockey.  Following its predecessor, each title captures the particular historic topic through a mixture of prose and images and includes a “Life After…”/ “Where are they now” section, timeline, glossary, additional resources (include a code for FactHound), Common Core connection, source notes, selected bibliography, and an index.  THOUGHTS:  This is a must-have series for all middle school and high school libraries.  It is a fun tie to other moments of U.S. history, especially since each sport and moment included had a larger impact on society and our nation.  Use these titles, along with the other Captured History texts to teach reading images or use of nonfiction in English or history courses.  Additionally, this is just a fun series for any sports fan or required nonfiction assignment.

Sports; U.S. History          Erin Parkinson, Beaver Area MS/HS



Captured World History (series). North Mankato, MN: Compass Point Books, 2017. $34.65 ea. 64pp. Gr. 5-9.

Burgan, Michael. The Hindenburg in Flames: How a Photograph Marked the End of the Airship. 978-0-7565-5441-5.

Smith-Llera, Danielle. Che Guevara’s Face: How a Cuban Photographer’s Image Became a Cultural Icon. 978-0-7565-5440-8.

Began in 2014, Captured World History presents key moments that changed the world or world nations.  The two newest titles present students with a thing and person they may have heard about but cannot quite remember much: the Hindenburg and Che Guevara.  Each text presents the historic moment/thing and person through images and prose that captured the world’s attention and will now capture students attention.  These texts are a great supplement for history courses that just don’t have enough time to get to everything.  The compact presentation and use of images will easily attract students, while the timeline, glossary, resources (including a code for FactHound), source notes, and selected bibliography may lead to further exploration.  THOUGHTS:  Captured World History is a great addition for libraries that own titles from Captured History.  Use these titles for research about lesser known moments that impacted the world or for nonfiction reading in English and/or history courses.  This is another must-have series from Capstone Publishing.

World History        Erin Parkinson, Beaver Area MS/HS