15 Rugby Reads for Kids

Embedded image permalink

February and March are going to be marvellous months for rugby fans. They can also be a fantastic few weeks for rugby readers.

I’ve selected 15 different things that kids – and adults – can read about rugby to enhance their experience of the Six Nations internationals – and beyond.

1   Non-fiction books full of facts and potted history. Easy to read. Available in library as well as bookshops. In the sport section.

2   The internet. There are some excellent rugby websites out there, including all the newspapers, Sky, the BBC and more.

3   Official Magazine of the Six Nations. Available in the newsagents now.

4   Newspapers. Either on paper or online. Previews. match reports. Interviews. Speculation. Usually written by passionate rugby journalists who really care.

5   A variety of children’s fiction by authors Gerard Siggins. Chris Higgins, Tom Palmer, Dan Anthony and Andrew Smith. Again, in bookshops and libraries.

6   England Rugby magazine. The magazine is only available to online England Supporters’ Club members. But it’s good. It includes exclusive embedded videos and audio.

7   Biographies and autobiographies of rugby players. Past and present.

8   The ultimate rugby book is the IRB’s yearbook, full of stats and information about the last 12 months.

9   Match day programmes from international and domestic matches.

10   The England Rugby Annual, full of interviews and quizzes and other treats for kids. And some adults.

11   Rugby World. The best selling rugby magazine in the world. Monthly glossy. Available in white, red, blue and green. Well written.

12   Calon by Owen Sheers. Fantastic book about rugby union in Wales. Universal too.

13   Combat Zone. The first book in the new Rugby Academy series by Tom Palmer (me).  Books two and three out in the spring.

14   How to play rugby books. Several levels, starting with this Know the Game book.

15   The Rugby Paper. Weekly newspaper, out on Sundays. £1.50. Match reports, politics, lots of talk about the international game. Excellent.

With just months to go up to the Rugby World Cup there is a lot to read about the game of rugby. That’s good news. No doubt there’ll be much more coming our way soon, with the tournament being hosted by England – and with games taking place in Wales too.

Happy reading, everyone.  And…

To find out more about my Rugby Academy series, have a look here. Please.







Miss, I can read this!

I had my best day as an author in Bridgend, south Wales, two years ago.

I had just delivered an event to a group of so-called reluctant readers in a sports centre.  A quiz. A talk about sports reading. Afterwards, twenty lads were letting off steam hammering a ball at a librarian who had volunteered to go in goal.

And I was talking to their teacher.

She turned a copy of my book, Scrum, over and saw the Dyslexia Friendly sticker on the back.

‘What does that mean?’ she asked.

I told her. Barrington Stoke publish books that have been designed with special font, layout and page-colour (along with editing) that helps readers overcome many of the problems that dyslexia presents.

The teacher pointed across at a boy. Rhys, she told me, was dyslexic He wanted to read. But it was very hard for him. It affected his self esteem, she said. A lot.

She called Rhys over, putting the book in his hands.

‘What’s this?’ he asked her. Then glanced at me, looking uneasy.

‘Look at it,’ she insisted.

Rhys opened the book, eyes glazed over already. But then something changed. He focused on the page in front of him. Then stared at his teacher.

‘Miss,’ he said, his mouth open, ‘I can read this.’

I’ll never forget that moment.

This week is Dyslexia Awareness Week. It runs from November 3rd to 9th. Brought to us by the British Dyslexia Association.


Rugby Academy 1

This is my new book. It’s called Combat Zone. It’s out this week. combat zone cover

Combat Zone is about a school rugby team that takes part in the UK schools’ championship at the same time that most of the players’ parents are involved in a conflict in the Middle East with the RAF.

There is a lot going this autumn to help Combat Zone take off. The highlights are:

* an event at Cheltenham Literature Festival this Saturday 11th October at 3 p.m. – the event is called Football v Rugby, which means I have to bring both my football and rugby posts down from Leeds.

* a launch event at the RAF Museum in Cosford on November 20th, where we will be joined by some of the RAF rugby team. The RAF is a large part of the content of the book – and they and their children helped enormously with the research. You can read about that here.

* a day of events at my Patron of Reading school in Edinburgh, Stewarts Melville.

* a pilot set of events in East Grinstead, working with two schools the public library and the local rugby club, to see if we can reach a whole community through four different venues.

* dozens of school and  library events in rugby strongholds like Leicester, Exeter and more.

In addition, I am working up five projects to do with rugby union and literacy. For the RFU . To be delivered in 2015, Rugby World Cup year. There’s more about that on a previous blog, here.

Thanks for reading.