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4 Picture Books about Sportsmanship for Elementary Teachers in 2023

Reading aloud children’s books to your elementary students is a great way to introduce and teach sportsmanship. Below is a list of our favorite picture books to teach this social emotional learning topic. They all lend themselves well to facilitating rich classroom discussions around sportsmanship. Bat’s Big Game, Pig the Winner, The Golden Acorn and The Legend of Rock, Paper, Scissors are part of our sportsmanship SEL Unit, which includes interactive read aloud lesson plans among tons of other resources for teaching sportsmanship. Learn all about these picture books about sportsmanship below and how you can use them to teach sportsmanship!

4 Picture Books about Sportsmanship

Below are 4 quality sportsmanship children’s picture books for elementary teachers. Your kids will love these read alouds! They are great for teaching sportsmanship, as well as many other concepts and skills.

1. Bat’s Big Game by Margaret Read MacDonald

The first book on this list of picture books about sportsmanship is Bat’s Big Game. The Animals and Birds are ready to play ball! Bat chooses to be on the Animal team, since they look strong and fast. All of a sudden, the Birds pull ahead and Bat switches to their team! Readers will be able to discuss sportsmanship and help Bat know wrong from right when it comes to being a good player. My Sportsmanship SEL bundle includes an SEL lesson based on this picture book!

Bat's Big Game book and activityPig the Winner book cover

2.  Pig the Winner by Aaron Blabey

Pig the Pug always has to win and will cheat to make sure he wins. When Pig loses, he has temper tantrums and cries so much that everyone just lets him think that he wins. One day, after mistakenly eating his food bowl in a race, Pig learns that it is okay to not win all the time and that it is important to play games fairly. Students will laugh along as they learn the importance of safety in regards to sportsmanship! My Sportsmanship SEL bundle includes an SEL lesson based on this picture book!

3. The Golden Acorn by Katy Hudson

WHOOSH! There goes Squirrel, running fast through the treetops. She is training for the Golden Acorn Hunt, a prized race she has won before- eight times in fact. But, this year is different. This year, she must be part of a team to enter. Join Squirrel and her animal friends on this adventure in teamwork and sportsmanship! My Sportsmanship SEL bundle includes an SEL lesson based on this picture book!

The Golden Acorn book coverThe Legend of Rock Paper Scissors book cover

4. The Legend of Rock, Paper, Scissors by Drew Daywalt

The last book on this list of picture books about sportsmanship is The Legend of Rock, Paper, Scissors. This book tells the story of how the game Rock, Paper, Scissors came to be. Each warrior (Rock, Paper, Scissors) was frustrated because they could not find someone able to beat them in battle. Each set off on a journey outside their home to find an equal match. In the end, the three warriors become friends because they each met a match and loved battling one another. This story lends itself to teaching about sportsmanship because they found competitors that provided a fair fight. My Sportsmanship SEL bundle includes an SEL lesson based on this picture book!

Integrated SEL and Literacy Activities

Below are some integrated SEL and literacy resources for elementary teachers.

SEL Unit

Our Sportsmanship Unit, which is available individually or as part of a year-long SEL bundle, includes lessons for the first four books on this list. This unit is packed with lesson plans, teaching resources, games, and activities. Learn more about it!

Sportsmanship SEL Unit
Social Emotional Learning Units Bundle

SEL Book Companions

As I mentioned earlier, I love teaching SEL skills using picture books. That’s why I created the Starts With a Story Collection. High quality children’s literature supports elementary teachers in delivering meaningful and accessible SEL lessons. All of the read alouds on this list are part of this book companion collection. Check out the book companions below!

Bats Big GamePig the WinnerThe Golden AcornThe Legend of the Rock Paper Scissors

In closing, we hope you found this list of sportsmanship picture books helpful! If you did, then you may also be interested in these posts:

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