15 Books Celebrating London & the Olympic Games

The Olympic Games are now only a few weeks away, so we're getting ready to celebrate this great sporting event with an Olympic themed Week. We're kicking off our week with this great selection of books exploring the Olympics, & it's host City for 2012 London.

"Panda Goes To The Olympics" tells the story of a Giant Panda who loves watching athletics & sport on Television. She is desperate to take part in the Olympic Games & starts training to be a runner, but sadly soon discovers that pandas don't really make great runners! She may not make it as an athlete but soon finds a unique way to make it to the Olympic Games .

"The Champion Hare" by Gwen Christie & Paul Wrangles is a beautiful book to share with young children. When a young hare decides to take part in a sports contest he finds himself competing against the fastest & strongest animals around. He soon discovers that if you want to be the best you have to have courage & perseverance. With its descriptive, rhyming narrative & colourful illustrations this book is a joy to read, & an ideal way to explore issues around self-confidence & self -belief

This "Sports Sticker Book" by Usborne has proved a big hit with my little sports fan! Although there is no narrative to read, there are plenty of opportunities to create stories & scenarios using the stickers & the scenes on each page of this book. Great for introducing activities such as track & field, gymnastics, snowboarding, sailing, etc, & exploring the different locations, & equipment needed for each sport.
"Spot Loves Sports" by Eric Hill is a perfect book to introduce a range of sports to 0-3yrs. Spot & his Dad head off to the park & enjoy a number of different sports with his friends. Bold, colourful illustrations accompany a simple text which is easy to follow. An ideal book for encouraging children to get active & try out new sports!

"The Dinosaur Games" by David Bedford & Dankerleroux is one of those books you'll read again & again. Full of fun, humour & rhyming text. Titus the T-rex thinks he is the toughest dino there is & is sure he'll win everything at the dinosaur games! But after slipping on his go-faster socks, & having his foot stood on by Ankylosaur, he soon realises that he won't be number one! Suddenly a meteor is heading their way, will Titus be a winner & save the day? 

Ready, Steady, Go, Mr. Croc

"Ready, Steady, Go, Mr Croc" by Jo Lodge is packed with bright, bold colourful illustrations. The book explores a number of sports with Mr Croc & his friends going running, cycling, canoeing, & swimming as they take part in their own Olympics. The text is simple & short making it ideal for little ones to follow, & the clever lift-the-flap sections offer lots to discover throughout the book.

"Topsy & Tim Go for Gold" by Jean & Gareth Adamson is from the Topsy & Tim series. It follows a set of twins as they explore familiar situations & every day experiences, all of which young children can easily relate to. This book is set around School Sports Day, & the pair soon find themselves competing against each other. A great book for exploring emotions, arguing etc, & how teamwork allows everyone to be a winner.

Meet Wenlock and Mandeville (London 2012 Story)

"Meet Wenlock and Madeville" is adapted from a story by Michael Morpurgo (author of War Horse) & introduces the 2012 Olympic mascots. It tells the story of how they were created from fragments of a girder that will be used to build the Olympic Stadium & how they come to life through beams of a rainbow. A magical story & a great way to introduce this years Olympics.

Let's Get Moving with Wenlock and Mandeville! (London 2012)

"Let's Get Moving with Wenlock and Mandeville!" is another book featuring the mascots. This time they're exploring simple movements that athletes use as part of their performance, & they're encouraging children to try the moves at home. Great for exploring different sports, gross motor moves, & encouraging confidence.

As this years Games are being held in London we're sharing six of our favourite books each exploring the City.

We love the Katie books by James Mayhew & this book has been a particular favourite over the past few months. "Katie in London" is a magical tale that takes the reader on a journey through London, past all the famous landmarks; Buckingham Palace, London Bridge, the London Eye, & the Houses of Parliament plus many more. Katie & her brother are given an amazing tour by one of the lions from Trafalgar Square & see London from every angle. Great for getting a real taste of the City, & exploring the many landmarks of the Capital. Packed with beautiful illustrations, imagination & wonder, this is a great story to share with children 3yrs+.
"My First London Bus" by Marion Billet is a perfect board book for under 2's to explore the famous sites of  London. Full of bright bold images with something new to discover on every page, it also has four moving wheels at the bottom to enable children to push the book along the floor taking the bus on a tour of their own! Another great transport book for little ones is "London Taxi" which is part of the Whizzy Wheels series.

"Muddle London" by Jannie Ho is a magnetic activity book for 3yrs+. It comes with a set of 17 magnets that can be used throughout the book to complete scenes of London, explore maps, take different journeys across the city, & make postcards. The rhyming text invites children to choose where & what they'd like to discover, & the bright bold illustrations are perfect for preschoolers to explore. 

"A Walk in London" by Salvatore Rubbino takes you on another trip through London, this time a mother & her young daughter take in the sights, including the whispering gallery of St Paul's Cathedral, the Changing of the Guard, the pelicans in St James' Park, & the colour of Convent Garden. Wonderful illustrations capture the streets of the capital, & a range of landmarks which other books fail to include. A great book for discovering all London has to offer.

The "London Sticker Activity Book" by Roger Priddy offers preschoolers numerous activities to explore with puzzles, colouring sheets, pictures, stickers & more. A great book to take on a journey, or to have with you when exploring London!

Our last book features the fabulous Charlie & Lola created by Lauren Child. "We Completely Must Go to London" follows them as they & their friends discover all London has to offer. Join them on the Thames, in the Natural History Museum & more, as they explore the rest of the city's landmarks in their own magical way!