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Inside Practically Paradise

Are you ready for this summer’s Olympics yet?

My physical education teachers asked me earlier this school year to start gathering materials so they could do a major Olympics unit right before summer break. Since budgets disappear long before then, I needed to start searching early. Fortunately Heinemann-Raintree (part of the Capstone Publishing group) came to my rescue with some titles I thought you would want to be sure to add to your collection. The Olympics series includes:

  • Great Olympic Moments
  • High-Tech Olympics
  • The 2012 London Olympics
  • The World of Olympics
  • The World’s Greatest Olympians

Heinemann-Raintree has a worldwide reputation. They seek to have a far more global viewpoint than many other American publishers. Having offices in both Chicago and England must help them balance, but I keep offering to fly there to consult with the UK office (at their expense). Since the Olympics are in London this summer, it’s only natural that Heinemann was at the forefrunt of excellent Olympic titles.

I gave several of the titles away at conferences this year, but I did keep these two: High-Tech Olympics by Nick Hunter and The World’s Greatest Olympians by Michael Hurley. My P.E. teachers are loving these titles and now I regret sharing any of the series.

High-Tech Olympics reads well, entertains, and has instructional potential – particularly with the chart in the back of Olympic records then and now.

The best part of The World’s Greatest Olympians is that it actually covers the world and isn’t only focused on American athletes.

Both titles deserve to be in elementary and middle school collections.

I also kept Inside the Olympics by Nick Hunter so I could compare the  author’s approach in two different series. While the previous series has high curb-appeal and is rapidly picked up by everyone walking by, Inside the Olympics is for a more serious sports fan who is deliberately seeking Olympic facts – perhaps for a class report.

Inside the Olympics works well at the middle school and high school. The font is smaller. A wider variety of facts are interwoven and the vocabulary is richer for the older audience. Topics such as which sports have been removed from the Olympics and controversies that have arisen will entertain students of trivia as well as sports fans.

I’m still looking for more Olympic titles, but I’ll admit…. my mind is already dreaming of the 2014 Olympics in Russia.  The winter Olympics are my favorites, but this year London is making the Summer Olympics exciting. I look forward to more titles from Heinemann.