WFPL 5k: Books About Running

Did you know that our 5th annual 5k is in just a little over a month?! Whether you’ve joined us every year or this will be your first—and whether you run marathons or stroll down the block—our 5k is a wonderful way to join with your community and support your local library! For more information on this family-friendly event, including how to register, check out our website.


In honor of our 5k, here are a handful of books for kiddos, teens, and grown-ups that feature runners or running!

Kids & Tweens

Auma’s Long Run by Eucabeth Odhiambo

“When AIDS devastates thirteen-year-old Auma’s village in Kenya during the 1980s, Auma must choose between staying to help her family and working toward a track scholarship that will take her away from home.”

Cheetah Can’t Lose by Bob Shea

“An overly confident cheetah challenges a pack of clever kittens to a race.”

The Girl Who Ran: Bobbi Gibb, the First Woman to Run the Boston Marathon by Frances Poletti and Kristina Yee, illustrated by Susanna Chapman

“In 1966, the world believed it was impossible for a woman to run the Boston Marathon. Bobbi Gibb was determined to prove them wrong. She said she would do it, she wasn’t a liar; she’d show them by running like the wind in the fire.”

Queen of the Track: Alice Coachman, Olympic High-Jump Champion by Heather Lang, illustrated by Floyd Cooper

“Tells the story of Alice Coachman, an athlete from rural Georgia who made history as the first African-American woman to win a n Olympic gold medal in 1948.”

The Quickest Kid in Clarksville by Pat Zietlow Miller, illustrated by Frank Morrison

“Growing up in the segregated town of Clarksville, Tennessee, in the 1960s, Alta’s family cannot afford to buy her new sneakers—but she still plans to attend the parade celebrating her hero Wilma Rudolph’s three Olympic gold medals.”

The Tortoise & the Hare by Jerry Pinkney

“Illustrations and minimal text relate the familiar fable of the race between a slow tortoise and a quick but foolish hare, who nonetheless exhibits good sportsmanship by the end of the race.”

Track series (Ghost, Patina, and Sunny are out now) by Jason Reynolds

“Ghost. Lu. Patina. Sunny. Four kids from wildly different backgrounds with personalities that are explosive when they clash. But they are also four kids chosen for an elite middle school track team—a team that could qualify them for the Junior Olympics if they can get their acts together. They have a lot to lose, but also a lot to prove, not only to each other, but to themselves.”

You Should Meet: Jesse Owens by Laurie Calkhoven, illustrated by Elizabet Vukovic

“Meet Jesse Owens, an African American runner who won four gold medals at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin! What made his achievement even more memorable was that Adolph Hitler expected the Olympic Games to be a German showcase. In fact, he criticized the United States for even including black athletes on its Olympic roster. . . In 1936 Jesse Owens took a stand against racism and made history.”

The Wildest Race Ever: The Story of the 1904 Olympic Marathon by Megan McCarthy

“The exciting and bizarre true story of the 1904 Olympic marathon, which took place at the St. Louis World’s Fair.”

Teens & Adults

Ask Me How I Got Here  by Christine Heppermann

“Addie’s future is laid out in front of her—become the best runner in the state and go to college on a scholarship—but after getting pregnant with her boyfriend her decision to have an abortion affects her life greatly.”

Run Fast Eat Slow: Nourishing Recipes for Athletes by Shalane Flanagan and Elyse Kopecky

“From world-class marathoner and 4-time Olympian Shalane Flanagan and chef Elyse Kopecky comes a whole foods, flavor-forward cookbook that proves food can be indulgent and nourishing at the same time.”

The Terrible Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances by Matthew Inman

“From the New York Times best-selling author Matthew Inman, aka “The Oatmeal,” comes this collection of comics and stories about running, eating, napping, and one cartoonist’s reasons for running across mountains until his toenails fall off.”

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running: A Memoir by Haruki Murakami

“In 1982, having sold his jazz bar to devote himself to writing, Murakami began running to keep fit. A year later, he’d completed a solo course from Athens to Marathon, and now, after dozens of such races, not to mention triathlons and a dozen critically acclaimed books, he reflects upon the influence the sport has had on his life and—even more important—on his writing.”

-Kazia, Children’s Librarian












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