American Shaolin: Flying Kicks, Buddhist Monks, and the Legend of Iron Crotch, by Matthew Polly, 2007. Tormented by bullies in the schoolyards of Kansas, Matthew dreamed of journeying to the Shaolin Temple in China. With humor & cultural insight, this is the story of one man’s journey into the ancient art of kungfu.
A Passion For Victory: The Story of the Olympics in Ancient and Early Modern Times, by Benson Bobrick, 2012. Chronicles Olympics history from the 8th century B.C. to the competitions of the 20th century, with historical profiles of athletes and insights into how the games were shaped by international events.
A Pearl in the Storm: How I Found My Heart in the Middle of the Ocean, by Tori Murden McClure, 2009. In 1998, Tori McClure began rowing solo across the Atlantic. Tori describes her battles against storms that nearly killed her. She was hired by Muhammad Ali, who told her she did not want to be known as the woman who “almost” rowed across the Atlantic.
Between a Rock and a Hard Place, by Aron Ralston, 2004. A mountaineer who survived a near-fatal accident by amputating his arm when it became trapped behind a boulder in Utah describes how he endured five days of hypothermia, dehydration, and hallucinations before managing his own rescue.
Born to Run : A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen, by Christopher McDougall, 2009. McDougall reveals the secrets of the world’s greatest distance runners–the Tarahumara Indians of Copper Canyon, Mexico–& how he trained for a 50 mile race.
The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, by Daniel James Brown, 2013. Describes how a group of working class youths from the University of Washington rowing team emerged from obscurity to defeat a field of elite international rivals at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Set against stark Depression-era realities.
Friday Night Lights: a Town, a Team, and a Dream, by H.G. Bissinger, 2004. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Bissinger spent a year in Odessa, Texas, a town obsessed with its champion high-school football team, the Permian Panthers. (1260L)
One Shot at Forever: a Small Town, an Unlikely Coach, and a Magical Baseball Season, by Chris Ballard, 2012. In 1971, a high school baseball team from rural Illinois playing with hand-me-down uniforms and peace signs on their hats, led by an English teacher with no coaching experience, emerged from a field of 370 teams to become the smallest school in Illinois history to make the state final, a distinction that still stands.
“21”: The Story of Roberto Clemente, by Wilfred Santiago, 2011. In graphic format the life of baseball star Roberto Clemente includes coverage of a wide range of topics from the ways in which prejudice challenged his career and his personal responsibilities to his achievements with the Pittsburgh Pirates and his triumphant 3,000th hit before his tragic fatal plane crash.
Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back on the Board, by Bethany Hamilton, 2006. The teenage surfer who lost her arm in a shark attack in 2003 describes how she has coped with this life-altering event with the help of her faith, the changes in her life, and her return to the sport she loves.