Holy Mackinaw, It's the Playoffs! Books for Kids with Hockey Fever
Get ready, Toronto, because it's that time of year! The Leafs are in the playoffs and our dreams of the Stanley Cup are alive once again.
Kids are lucky because they don't have as many memories of the Leafs' playoffs history as we do. But let's not spoil it for them because it's fun to beLEAF! And you never know, this could be the year…
To help get them (and us!) in the playoffs spirit, here are some fun books about the Leafs, hockey, and the Stanley Cup.
S is for the Stanley Cup: A Hockey Championship Alphabet by Mike Ulmer, illustrated by Chris Lyons
Fun fact: in 1924, several members of the Montreal Canadiens took a road trip with Stanley and left it on the side of the road. (The Leafs would never have done that!) Read about this, plus other strange and interesting facts in Stanley Cup history.
Auston Matthews: Hockey Superstar by Ryan Williamson
With the season he's had, I imagine Auston Matthews is most kids' favourite player. But don't worry if your child prefers Mitch Marner or John Tavares, because there are books about them, too.
1,2,3 Cheers for the Toronto Maple Leafs! by Matt Napier, illustrated by Melanie Rose
Published in 2016, this is a bit outdated in places. Still, families will enjoy filling in the missing facts themselves. (Remind me again, how many Leafs have scored 50 goals in a season? Say it louder for those in the back!)
- Diehard fans should also check out M is for Maple Leafs.
I Spy with My Little Eye: Hockey by David Milne, text by Matt Napier
Kids love to search and find books! This one challenges the reader to spot small differences between photos, with fun rhymes to help them along.
The Night Before Playoffs by Stella Partheniou Grasso, illustrated by Paula Becker
Kids will love this fun twist on the holiday classic. Read it before bed, and they will have visions of hockey pucks dancing in their heads.
Breaking the Ice: The True Story of the First Woman to Play in the National Hockey League by Angie Bullaro, illustrated by C.F. Payne
Many fans are hoping and waiting for a professional women's league in North America. This story of the amazing Manon Rhéaume shows that women hockey players are just as fun to watch as men.
- Read this alongside Meet Willie O'Ree, a biography of another hockey trailblazer, the first Black player in the NHL.
The Ice Chips and the Magical Rink by Roy and Kerry MacGregor, illustrated by Kim Smith
Emerging readers appreciate books about things they care about. This first in a series of Early Readers about time-traveling hockey players is sure to satisfy kids transitioning to chapter books.
- For beginning readers, look for the I Can Read Hockey Stories.
Hockey Night in Kenya by Danson Mutinda & Eric Walters; Illustrated by Claudia Dávila
Possibly inspired by Kenya's real life men's ice hockey team, this hopeful story is about two orphans discovering the sport for the first time. It is currently a nominee for the Silver Birch Express Award, which recognizes books for kids in Grades 3-4.
Hockey Super Six: The Puck Drops Here by Kevin Sylvester
This is the first in a series of hockey themed chapter books with illustrations. It's goofy and full of hockey action, so should be very appealing. Look for the series in either print or eBook.
- This series is also available in French.
Kate's Really Good at Hockey by Christina Frey and Howard Shapiro, illustrated by Jade Gonzalez
Graphic novels are one of the best ways to get reluctant readers into books. This one tells a great story with appealing illustrations while delivering a powerful message about girls and women in sport.
- Another fun graphic novel is Planet Hockey: First Star of the Game by J. Torres.
So, do you think this will be the year the Leafs bring the cup home? Leave your predictions in the comments. Go Leafs, Go!
Also, if your kids love the Raptors, check out this post.