As the father of two young children (they’re 4 and 7), I rarely get a moment alone. While I’m brushing my teeth before school, the kids appear—like ninjas—asking for seconds on breakfast or why I forgot to pack a cherished toy in their backpack.
I do my best to juggle it all, but honestly, between work, family and household chores, it’s easy to drop the ball or, in some cases, miss my morning run. And here’s the kicker—that run is literally the only time I have to myself. It’s my sanity on days when I feel like I am losing my mind. Unfortunately, my kids aren’t always understanding why I want them to join me in a kids mud run in Massachusetts. Like most working dads, I wanted to find ways to get my kids excited about doing a mud run, so i figured I could read the books during bath or story time.
So I went on Amazon to uncover the best children’s books about running to see if there was a perspective I was missing to get my kids motivated to run in our upcoming mud run in MA. Finally, the solution to my predicament—a way to help them understand they need to get off the couch and join me for a run. In fact, there are plenty of books that show kids why we run—parents and children alike—and drive home the point that running makes us all better people.
Books to Help Kids Train for a Mud Run In MA
For the Younger Sibling: Izzy Barr Running Star, by Claudia Mills
Izzy Barr is a star athlete at school, but can’t seem to step out of her older brother’s shadow at home. The third-grader vies for her father’s attention in this chapter book, but her busy Dad doesn’t realize how badly she wants him to cheer her on at softball games and big races until Izzy—one of the fastest runners in her class—participates in a citywide 10K run against her rival, Skipper Tipton.
Buy it: $15, amazon.com
For the Persistent Preschooler: Marathon Mouse, by Amy Dixon
This adorable picture book is the ideal introduction to running for preschoolers. Preston, a mouse who lives under a bridge in New York City, dreams of racing in the New York City Marathon. Despite his family’s discouragement, Preston trains hard, dodging sneakers and successfully crossing the finish line on race day.
Buy it: $17, amazon.com
For the Independent Spirit: Running Is Totally for Me, by Cassie Celestain
Help your kids embrace running with this activity book about Madi, a little girl who tries several different sports before discovering her long-distance dreams. The author, a longtime runner herself, also includes several activity pages in the back of the book to keep little minds stimulated long after the story is done.
Buy it: $10, amazon.com
For the Easily Distracted: My Favorite Run, by Katherine Karagiannis Richards
Parents everywhere will relate to this heartwarming picture book about a girl’s first time joining her mom on a morning run. At first, Anna can’t avoid distractions like stopping to smell the flowers. She stops to talk to a neighbor and even trips on the sidewalk. But, eventually, she learns that running is a great way to bond with her mom and can’t wait to wake up and run all over again.
Buy it: $17, amazon.com
For the Animal Lover: Last One Home Is a Green Pig, by Edith Thacher Hurd
This classic story about a little girl who races a monkey home is a lighthearted way to introduce your kids the joy of running. First, they try to catch a duck on a bus. Then a horse tells the monkey, “I can’t run that fast. Take a taxi!” Although it was released in the ’60s, this laugh-out-loud early reader book stands the test of time.
Buy it: $35, amazon.com