The subjects of these children’s and YA bios and memoirs span more than a dozen decades, from the 19th century father of modern bodybuilding to a former competitive ice skater, born in 1996, who tells her coming-of-age story in graphic-novel form.
Heather Lang, illus. by Cecelia Puglesi. Albert Whitman, Mar. 2018. Ages 4–8.
In 1950, Kathryn Johnson cuts off her braids and pretends she’s a boy in order to become the first girl to play Little League baseball.
Jean L.S. Patrick, illus. by Adam Gustavson. Charlesbridge, Aug. Ages 6–9.
Skill and community propel shot putter Lucille “Ludy” Godbold to the first Women’s Olympic Games in 1922.
Strong as Sandow
Dan Tate. Charlesbridge, Aug. Ages 6–9.
In the late 19th century, puny Friedrich Müller grows up to become Eugen Sandow, the world’s strongest man.
Trudy’s Big Swim
Sue Macy, illus. by Matt Collins. Holiday House, Mar. Ages 6–10.
Readers accompany Gertrude Ederle as she becomes the first woman to swim across the English Channel.
Martina & Chrissie
Phil Bildner, illus. by Brett Helquist. Candlewick, Mar. Ages 7–10.
The intense tennis rivalry and enduring friendship between Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova take center court.
42 Is Not Just a Number
Doreen Rappaport. Candlewick, Sept. Ages 8–12.
A look at the life of Jackie Robinson, recruited in 1946 for the Brooklyn Dodgers, thus breaking Major League Baseball’s color barrier.
Eddy Simon and Vincent Brascalgia. First Second, Oct. Ages 8–12.
This graphic novel captures the Brazilian soccer great’s rise from poverty to worldwide fame.
Run with Me
Sanya Richards-Ross. Zonderkids, June Ages 8–12.
Faith and determination help Richards-Ross, a four-time gold medal Olympic runner, tackle any obstacle. Releasing concurrently with her adult memoir, Chasing Grace (Zondervan).
Shoe Dog (young readers ed.)
Phil Knight. S&S/Wiseman, Oct. Ages 10–14.
Scribner’s 2016 adult edition of this memoir by Nike founder Phil Knight has sold 186,000 hardcover copies, per NPD BookScan.
Tillie Walden. First Second, Sept. Ages 14–up.
The 20-year-old cartoonist’s graphic-novel memoir explores belonging, family, and sexual identity against the backdrop of synchronized ice skating.