89 books like Sidetracked

By Diana Harmon Asher,

Here are 89 books that Sidetracked fans have personally recommended if you like Sidetracked. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Stanford Wong Flunks Big-Time

Marcia Strykowski Author Of Roller Boy

From my list on featuring boys who crave success.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been a fan of stories where the underdog makes good due to their own strength and determination. Although my book picks are all connected to sports I don’t happen to participate in, I feel the power of choosing the life you want by working hard encompasses all fields whether it be learning to sing or dance or becoming an expert in science, chess, juggling, or whatever one’s passion might be. For me, I guess it would be writing and not giving up even when it sometimes feels like playing the lottery each time one of my manuscripts is sent into cyberspace.

Marcia's book list on featuring boys who crave success

Marcia Strykowski Why did Marcia love this book?

Stanford isn’t a happy camper when, because of a failing grade in English, he has to go to summer school instead of basketball camp. Used to being a star basketball player, he’s embarrassed by this new turn of events. Millicent Min as his tutor is the last straw. I love how the plot and various situations, along with his parents’ bickering and his grandmother entering a nursing home, feel real and something today’s kids can relate to. And also how, despite Stanford’s disappointments, he puts forth his best efforts all the while he tries to manage his problems. There’s plenty of humor, too.

By Lisa Yee,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Stanford Wong Flunks Big-Time as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Stanford Wong is in big trouble--or as he would spell it, "trubble"--in this laugh-out-loud companion to the award-winning MILLICENT MIN, GIRL GENIUS and this season's HC, EMILY EBERS.

Stanford Wong is having a bad summer. If he flunks his summer-school English class, he won't pass sixth grade. If that happens, he won't start on the A-team. If *that* happens, his friends will abandon him and Emily Ebers won't like him anymore. And if THAT happens, his life will be over. Soon his parents are fighting, his grandmother Yin-Yin hates her new nursing home, he's being "tutored" by the world's biggest…


Book cover of One Last Shot

Marcia Strykowski Author Of Roller Boy

From my list on featuring boys who crave success.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been a fan of stories where the underdog makes good due to their own strength and determination. Although my book picks are all connected to sports I don’t happen to participate in, I feel the power of choosing the life you want by working hard encompasses all fields whether it be learning to sing or dance or becoming an expert in science, chess, juggling, or whatever one’s passion might be. For me, I guess it would be writing and not giving up even when it sometimes feels like playing the lottery each time one of my manuscripts is sent into cyberspace.

Marcia's book list on featuring boys who crave success

Marcia Strykowski Why did Marcia love this book?

I love how Malcolm, a kid who doesn’t like sports despite his athletic dad’s enthusiastic encouragement, finally finds a place to call his own in mini-golf. Malcolm has always felt like a loser but once he signs up for lessons and meets some friends, he slowly improves, in his game and in his opinion of himself. Unfortunately, Malcolm also carries the weight of feeling it’s up to him to keep his parents’ troubled marriage together. With tournaments and family problems mounting high, this is an exciting read. The eighteen chapters, set up like holes on a golf course, are a fun addition.

By John David Anderson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked One Last Shot as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

The beloved author of Ms. Bixby’s Last Day and Posted returns with a humorous and heartwarming story of family, friendship, and miniature golf.

For as long as he can remember, Malcolm has never felt like he was good enough. Not for his parents, who have always seemed at odds with each other, with Malcolm caught in between. And especially not for his dad, whose competitive drive and love for sports Malcolm has never shared.

That is, until Malcolm discovers miniature golf, the one sport he actually enjoys. Maybe it’s the way in which every hole is a puzzle to be…


Book cover of Power Forward

Marcia Strykowski Author Of Roller Boy

From my list on featuring boys who crave success.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been a fan of stories where the underdog makes good due to their own strength and determination. Although my book picks are all connected to sports I don’t happen to participate in, I feel the power of choosing the life you want by working hard encompasses all fields whether it be learning to sing or dance or becoming an expert in science, chess, juggling, or whatever one’s passion might be. For me, I guess it would be writing and not giving up even when it sometimes feels like playing the lottery each time one of my manuscripts is sent into cyberspace.

Marcia's book list on featuring boys who crave success

Marcia Strykowski Why did Marcia love this book?

Zayd is a couple of years younger (4th grade) than the main characters of my other book picks, but again, he is a boy seeking fame and glory through sports. In particular, I enjoy his voice and learning about the Pakastani (Muslim) culture of his interesting family. The frustrating pull between basketball and playing the violin sets up several intriguing situations. This is a fun story that turns out to be the first book in a series of four.

By Hena Khan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Power Forward as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 7, 8, 9, and 10.

What is this book about?

From the critically acclaimed author of Amina's Voice comes the first book in an exciting new middle grade series about a fourth-grader with big dreams of basketball stardom.

Fourth grader Zayd Saleem has some serious hoop dreams. He's not just going to be a professional basketball player. He's going to be a star. A legend. The first Pakistani-American kid to make it to the NBA. He knows this deep in his soul. It's his destiny. There are only a few small things in his way.

For starters, Zayd's only on the D-team. (D stands for developmental, but to Zayd it's…


Book cover of Ten Thousand Tries

Marcia Strykowski Author Of Roller Boy

From my list on featuring boys who crave success.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been a fan of stories where the underdog makes good due to their own strength and determination. Although my book picks are all connected to sports I don’t happen to participate in, I feel the power of choosing the life you want by working hard encompasses all fields whether it be learning to sing or dance or becoming an expert in science, chess, juggling, or whatever one’s passion might be. For me, I guess it would be writing and not giving up even when it sometimes feels like playing the lottery each time one of my manuscripts is sent into cyberspace.

Marcia's book list on featuring boys who crave success

Marcia Strykowski Why did Marcia love this book?

Golden Maroni is a well-drawn main character who dreams of success on the soccer field. At the same time, he tries to take care of those he loves in the best way he knows how. If he works hard and becomes a great soccer player, then maybe his dad can recover from ALS, and maybe his best friend won’t move away. There are several heavy topics in this book, but they are done with skill and sensitivity. I love the ten thousand hours theme of working towards your goals, but also the poignant truth that not all goals can be achieved by this method.

By Amy Makechnie,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ten Thousand Tries as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

A middle school soccer whiz’s determination to keep things from changing is tested when his father’s ALS symptoms worsen in this “heart-tugging and uplifting” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review) story about growing up and facing loss, perfect for fans of Shouting at the Rain.

Twelve-year-old Golden Maroni is determined to channel his hero, soccer superstar Lionel Messi, and become captain of his soccer team and master of his eighth grade universe…especially since his home universe is spiraling out of orbit. Off the field, Golden’s dad, once a pro soccer player himself, is now battling ALS, a disease that attacks his muscles,…


Book cover of Dairy Queen

Barbara Carroll Roberts Author Of Nikki on the Line

From my list on girls who love sports.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was a very active kid – the kind of kid who was constantly told to sit still and be quiet. Growing up in the 1960s, I had few opportunities to engage in athletics, other than neighborhood games of tag and kick-the-can. But when I got to high school, our school district had just begun offering competitive sports for girls. Finally, my energy and athletic ability were appreciated (at least by my coaches and teammates). So I guess it was inevitable that when I began writing books for young readers, I would start with a book about a girl who loves sports.

Barbara's book list on girls who love sports

Barbara Carroll Roberts Why did Barbara love this book?

You’d have a hard time finding a funnier, more captivating first-person narrator than D.J. Swank. Growing up on her family’s farm, hoisting hay bales, and playing pick-up football with her brothers, it’s no wonder D.J. has the strength, ability, and desire to play on her high school’s football team. The two things I love most about this book are D.J.’s sheer joy in physical movement and Murdock’s depiction of how the hard work required to master sports skills can build self-confidence and a sense of achievement in young people. The characters are a bit older than those in most middle-grade books, but with nothing more controversial than the drinking of a beer, this is a book kids in the upper range of middle grade will love.

By Catherine Gilbert Murdock,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dairy Queen as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

When you don’t talk, there’s a lot of stuff that ends up not getting said.
Harsh words indeed, from Brian Nelson of all people. But, D. J. can’t help admitting, maybe he’s right.

When you don’t talk, there’s a lot of stuff that ends up not getting said.
Stuff like why her best friend, Amber, isn’t so friendly anymore. Or why her little brother, Curtis, never opens his mouth. Why her mom has two jobs and a big secret. Why her college-football-star brothers won’t even call home. Why her dad would go ballistic if she tried out for the high…


Book cover of Samira Surfs

Barbara Carroll Roberts Author Of Nikki on the Line

From my list on girls who love sports.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was a very active kid – the kind of kid who was constantly told to sit still and be quiet. Growing up in the 1960s, I had few opportunities to engage in athletics, other than neighborhood games of tag and kick-the-can. But when I got to high school, our school district had just begun offering competitive sports for girls. Finally, my energy and athletic ability were appreciated (at least by my coaches and teammates). So I guess it was inevitable that when I began writing books for young readers, I would start with a book about a girl who loves sports.

Barbara's book list on girls who love sports

Barbara Carroll Roberts Why did Barbara love this book?

Samira is a Rohingya girl whose family fled anti-Muslim violence in Myanmar and now lives near a refugee camp in a Bangladesh beach town. This doesn’t sound like the set-up for a “sports” book, yet like all the best sports books, this beautiful novel-in-verse is about so much more than simply winning or losing a game. I love the way Guidroz shows the strong bonds that form within a team – in this case, a group of girls who help one another learn to swim and surf, defying cultural standards that bar girls from these activities. I also love how participating in this sport gives Samira a way to grow as an individual and claim her own identity: “Before I was Samira,” she says. “Now, I am Samira the Surfer.”

By Rukhsanna Guidroz, Fahmida Azim (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Samira Surfs as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

A middle grade novel in verse about Samira, an eleven-year-old Rohingya refugee living in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, who finds strength and sisterhood in a local surf club for girls.

Samira thinks of her life as before and after: before the burning and violence in her village in Burma, when she and her best friend would play in the fields, and after, when her family was forced to flee. There's before the uncertain journey to Bangladesh by river, and after, when the river swallowed her nana and nani whole. And now, months after rebuilding a life in Bangladesh with her mama,…


Book cover of The Girl Who Threw Butterflies

Barbara Carroll Roberts Author Of Nikki on the Line

From my list on girls who love sports.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was a very active kid – the kind of kid who was constantly told to sit still and be quiet. Growing up in the 1960s, I had few opportunities to engage in athletics, other than neighborhood games of tag and kick-the-can. But when I got to high school, our school district had just begun offering competitive sports for girls. Finally, my energy and athletic ability were appreciated (at least by my coaches and teammates). So I guess it was inevitable that when I began writing books for young readers, I would start with a book about a girl who loves sports.

Barbara's book list on girls who love sports

Barbara Carroll Roberts Why did Barbara love this book?

This is one of my absolute favorite books. It’s beautifully written, telling a compelling story about Molly Williams, who shared a love of baseball and a deep connection with her father through the long hours they spent talking while he taught her to pitch a knuckleball. When he dies in a car accident, Molly’s world falls apart. Her mother descends into depression, and communication between them stops. Molly slowly puts her life back together when she earns a place on a boys’ baseball team and builds friendships with her teammates. The power of this book lies in its central metaphor: the need for communication. Between pitcher and catcher, between base coach and runner, between parent and child, between friends. 

By Mick Cochrane,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Girl Who Threw Butterflies as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

For an eighth grader, Molly Williams has more than her fair share of problems. Her father has just died in a car accident, and her mother has become a withdrawn, quiet version of herself.

Molly doesn’t want to be seen as “Miss Difficulty Overcome”; she wants to make herself known to the kids at school for something other than her father’s death. So she decides to join the baseball team. The boys’ baseball team. Her father taught her how to throw a knuckleball, and Molly hopes it’s enough to impress her coaches as well as her new teammates.

Over the…


Book cover of Let Me Play: The Story of Title IX: The Law That Changed the Future of Girls in America

Barbara Carroll Roberts Author Of Nikki on the Line

From my list on girls who love sports.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was a very active kid – the kind of kid who was constantly told to sit still and be quiet. Growing up in the 1960s, I had few opportunities to engage in athletics, other than neighborhood games of tag and kick-the-can. But when I got to high school, our school district had just begun offering competitive sports for girls. Finally, my energy and athletic ability were appreciated (at least by my coaches and teammates). So I guess it was inevitable that when I began writing books for young readers, I would start with a book about a girl who loves sports.

Barbara's book list on girls who love sports

Barbara Carroll Roberts Why did Barbara love this book?

Today’s young readers can’t believe that when I was in high school, our basketball team was only allowed in the gym when the boys weren’t using it. They can’t believe there was a time when people thought girls shouldn’t play competitive sports. But really, who could believe it? Who could believe it would take an act of Congress – the 1972 law known as Title IX – to guarantee girls and women the right to equal opportunities in every academic field and in athletics? I love this book because it tells the story of Title IX, a law that mandated academic equity for girls and women, and changed the world for girls who love sports. 

By Karen Blumenthal,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Let Me Play as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Can girls play softball? Can girls be school crossing guards? Can girls become lawyers or doctors or engineers? Of course they can... today. But just a few decades ago, opportunities for girls were far more limited, not because they weren't capable or didn't want to, but because they weren't allowed to. Ages 8-12.


Book cover of The Devil's Decade

Emily Hourican Author Of Mummy Darlings: A Glorious Guinness Girls Novel

From my list on Britain before WWII that show true daily life.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I started researching the 1930s in Britain, I realised that I had only ever considered the period from the Irish perspective, as the tail-end of the long battle for independence. I had always seen Britain in the role of oppressor: Rich, where Ireland was poor; powerful where Ireland was weak. As I read more, a new picture of Britain began to emerge. The Great Depression, the numbers of people unemployed, the children with rickets and scurvy due to malnutrition. And with those things, the rise of socialism and fascism, both expressing the same dissatisfaction with life. I wanted to know more. And so I went looking for books to teach me.

Emily's book list on Britain before WWII that show true daily life

Emily Hourican Why did Emily love this book?

This is a history of the decade that was published in 1973. What it lacks in the perspective of greater hindsight, it gains in the energy and immediacy that Cockburn brings to the subject. It feels vivid and urgent, and conveys the sense of fear and alarm of that time very well. Parts are almost an eyewitness account. In my reading of history books that deal with the time, this stood out as being accessible and lively. 

By Claud Cockburn,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Devil's Decade as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Book cover of In Command of History: Churchill Fighting and Writing the Second World War

Steven Casey Author Of The War Beat, Pacific: The American Media at War Against Japan

From my list on understand WW2.

Why am I passionate about this?

Steven Casey is Professor in International History at the LSE. A specialist in US foreign policy, he is the author of ten books, including Cautious Crusade, which explored American attitudes toward Nazi Germany during World War II; Selling the Korean War, which won both the Truman Book Award and the Neustadt Prize for best book in American Politics; and When Soldiers Fall which also won the Neustadt Prize. In 2017, he published War Beat, Europe: The American Media at War against Nazi Germany, which won the American Journalism Historians Association 2018 book of the year, the panel judging it “a landmark work.” 

Steven's book list on understand WW2

Steven Casey Why did Steven love this book?

“Another book on Churchill?” asks Reynolds on the first page. “Can there be anything new to say?” Yes, is the emphatic answer. Churchill’s magisterial memoir shaped how many readers came to understand World War II. In this equally magisterial book, Reynolds dissects how Churchill wrote his memoir, exploring how the politics of the post-war era were often as important in shaping Churchill’s judgments as the events of the war itself. Methodologically sophisticated and elegantly written.

By David Reynolds,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked In Command of History as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winston Churchill fought the World War II twice over-first as Prime Minister during the war, and then later as the war's premier historian. From 1948-54, he published six volumes of memoirs. They secured his reputation and shaped our understanding of the conflict to this day. Drawing on the drafts of Churchill's manuscript as well as his correspondence from the period, David Reynolds masterfully reveals Churchill the author. Reynolds shows how the memoirs were censored by the British government to conceal state secrets, and how Churchill himself censored them to avoid offending current world leaders. This book illuminates an unjustly neglected…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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