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Football Books & Keeping Current

Oh, great librarians, lend me your wisdom. How can we keep up with the demand for football books?! What do you do when the players move, retire, or change teams? What percentage of your collection is based on people? on teams? on techniques? on great moments? How much do you spend every year? Where are your gaps? It seems I just cannot have enough football books. Should you be providing more resources even if it’s not in the curriculum? YES! Please read to the end even if you hate football.

Eli Manning and the New York GiantsEli Manning and the New York Giants Super Bowl XLII by Michael Sandler. Bearport Publishing ISBN:  978-1-59716-736-9. © 2009

Bearport Publishing has a 2009 series out on Super Bowl Superstars and I was able to read Eli Manning. I think this series will help the timeliness problem. Students like to read about great players and linking them to the Super Bowls gives us the opportunity to hand them "yet another" in the series when they finish. These won’t be as quickly out-of-date because they are set in one moment in time. They have the immediacy of the game, the traditions of the team, and the uniqueness of the player. 

Reading this title helped me relive the exciting moments of the game. The format will be attractive to reluctant readers. The staff in charge of choosing photographs for this series did an excellent job once again. (I do believe they may have the best sense of the relationship of text and photos). 

I wasn’t as happy with the end materials. The glossary was great and I can see myself teaching that to students. The Bibliography wasn’t complete enough for me. I wouldn’t accept that from the students if they tried to turn it in. Instead of a bibliography, I think that was a list of sources: The New York Times, The Daily News (NY), Sports Illustrated, and Good for elementary, but I want more for middle school. These hit who they are targeted.

The website links are appropriate for elementary, but should tell us where we are going before we click the #1 and #2 stars. Now I’m ready for a little more depth in the website for middle schoolers. So I’ve included some weblinks below.

One of my favorite things to hand students is a simple bookmark with these titles to track their reading of the entire series. Yes, I have been known to copy the cover images and paste them into the bookmark to help keep interest high. I can’t wait until my new color printer arrives! I keep asking publishers to go online and create these for me to print out, but they don’t take me seriously enough about the demand. I wish publishers could see these bookmarks weeks down the road when students triumphantly announce they have read all the series. These are what I want to pick up at booths, not squishy balls and pens. Click here to view a pdf of this bookmark. 

Titles in the Series include:
Eli Manning and the New York Giants: Super Bowl XLII
Dexter Jackson and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Super Bowl XXXVII
Hines Ward and the Pittsburgh Steelers: Super Bowl XL
Joe Montana and the San Francisco 49ers: Super Bowl XXIV
John Elway and the Denver Broncos: Super Bowl XXXIII
Kurt Warner and the St. Louis Rams: Super Bowl XXXIV
Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts: Super Bowl XLI
Tom Brady and the New England Patriots: Super Bowl XXXVIII
Troy Aikman and the Dallas Cowboys: Super Bowl XXVII 

Rosen Publishing has a series new on my middle school shelves Inside College Football. Living in the SEC, I have learned to take this passion for football very seriously (mind you I’m still a soccer/ hockey/ volleyball/ basketball fan). These titles have been flying off the shelves every Monday and Friday as students prepare or rehash the weekend games.  The series is passionate about college football history, traditions, rivalries, and more. There are statistics for the die-hard fans and a definite appeal to reluctant readers. My book rep thought I’d need just our conference, but I am witnessing all of the series fly from the shelves.

Football in the SEC (Southeastern Conference) By Greg Roza ISBN: 978-1-4042-1919-9 © 2008 / Dewey: 796.332 List Price: $26.50 Interest Level: Grades 5 – 8, Reading Level: Grades 5 – 6.  

In the elementary school there are two football seasons – fall crunch time when our hometeam is playing and THE SUPER BOWL. For both I needed activities, videos, magazines, books, and current material. We’d do activities using the Almanacs to discuss statistics and integrate math. We’d use the Grolier Encyclopedia online and compare it to print encyclopedias to find out more about important moments in football history. This gave us the chance to discuss copyright dates and currency versus quantity and ease of use.

Many of my students like to share the sports books with family members (dads, grandparents, surrogates, grandmas). Some of the stars from previous years that we’d be tempted to dismiss lead to family discussions at home. Weeding football and sports biographies is a tough decision. Sometimes I’ve been known to wimp-out and only remove it when the book finally fell apart.

Websites to Support Football Interests:
What is the Super Bowl? Visit the NFL Official Super Bowl Site
NFLRush the official site for kids
Football Printables (ranked 4 of 5 stars)
How to read Roman Numerals from Dr. Math? (don’t tell me I’m the only one who had to think what L meant!)

I enjoy teaching validity, voice, reliability, etc. of web sites to students. For example, I viewed a group of boys "googling" football for kids and they found this ThinkQuest. They were going to list it immediately on their sources because they like the flaming word graphics. When I suggested they check the authors to see who created the site, they were dismayed to see the authors were 2 5th graders. Being burly 8th graders, they whacked each other around and teased themselves for stopping on the first play instead of going for the touchdown.


  1. teacherninja says:

    Those are some great looking bookmarks. Great idea, thanks.

    It it just a super coincidence that the letters in the submit comment box are: N F L?

  2. CARL HARVEY says:

    Diane, I love the bookmark. I think that will be perfect next time I go around with booktalks. It is a prefect idea for tracking series. You are amazing!

  3. Thanks! I have a great deal of one page things that I create to go along with booktalks, lessons, etc. Just this weekend I started bothering Dan Blank to figure out how I could share these on SLJ. If there is interest, I’ll post more. You are welcome to share, too.

  4. Fred Goodwin says:

    I’m not a librarion, but I do collect books (including children’s books) about the Dallas Cowboys. I have a list of over 200 books, published from 1968 to 2008. Let me know if you like a copy of my Cowboys bibliography.

    Fred Goodwin