Read Rugby – 49 days to go

Tom Palmer offers rugby reading tips to parents in the run up to the Rugby World Cup.

31st July 2015

There are four series of rugby stories for children aged 7+. But not a lot for younger children. Until today.

Today Mr Men: The Rugby Match is out.

But I won’t give the plot away.

Just imagine your favourite Mr Men and what their flaws and strengths might bring to the rugby pitch. That’s the general idea. Mr Forgetful plays an unforgettable role in the story. He got the biggest laugh in my house.

Classic illustrations and a quirky story. It’s a good read.

And, once you’ve read the book, why not play the Mr Men game, linking your favourite rugby player to a Mr Man?

To find out about  other rugby reading resources, books, events and more please look here.


Read Rugby – 50 days to go

Tom Palmer offers a rugby reading tips to parents in the run up to the Rugby World Cup. Books, magazines, newspapers, websites and more.

30th July 2015

50 days to go to the Rugby World Cup. The nations have not even chosen their squads and warm up matches have yet to be played. But – with the summer holidays in full swing – this Rugby World Cup Activity Book is a great way to whet future rugby readers’ appetites for rugby reading.

Stickers, drawing, puzzles, maps and more, it’s a good start. Available in bookshops and online for £7.99 or less. Published by Carlton Kids.

I am working through it with my daughter. A nice parent-child thing to do?

To find out about  other rugby reading resources, books, events and more please look here.



Letter about girls in football fiction


Just to say your book Secret FC has been the first book my daughter has read for fun, so thank you.

She is 7 and mad about playing football. Do any of your other books have girl footballers in?



*   *   *



Thanks for the email – and for your daughter liking the book. Please say hi to her for me.

My Squad series has two girl footballers in, but they are spy thrillers aimed more at 9+ (content-wise). Also the book I am writing now does too, but that won’t be out until next year.

Can I recommend the Girls FC books by Helena Pielichaty? 12 books with all girls in. Though some are harder to get hold of than others.

She has also done a non-fiction book – about the right age – about the history of women’s football, called, I think, Here Come the Girls.

Also the Angels FC series by Michael Coleman has boys and girls as players.

There’s an older series called The Beautiful Game by Narinder Dhami, but they are more for 11+.

Dhami also did the book of the Bend It Like Beckham film.

One of Frank Lampard’s series of football fiction has a girl character in it, I am told. I am sorry I don’t know which one.

Finally, one of the Rainbow Fairy books is about a footballers. I think she’s called Francesca. Author, as you might know, is Daisy Meadows.

Good luck.  And thanks for the lovely email. If I can send your daughter a card to say well done for reading the book, I’d be very happy to.


Library rugby reading tour

This summer I am doing a public library tour, taking in 13 libraries in 11 towns and cities. It is being entirely funded by the Rugby Football Union ahead of this autumn’s Rugby World Cup.

The tournament takes place from 18th September to 30th October 2015 in England and Wales.


I came to reading – then writing – through borrowing sports books from public libraries. That’s how I became a reader and that’s how I became a writer.

These are the facts.


The Rugby Reading Game. A quiz about the sports reading material available in the library, followed by a rugby penalty kicking competition – in the library.


Tom Palmer, children’s author. Author of the Rugby Academy series, published by Barrington Stoke in 2015.


10th to 27th August 2015


The public libraries nearest to the 13 Rugby World Cup venue stadiums, being Twickenham (10th), Stratford (11th), Wembley (12th), Brighton (13th), Milton Keynes (14th), Leicester (17th), Birmingham (18th), Gloucester (19th), Cardiff (20th), Exeter (21st), Newcastle (25th), Leeds (26th) and Manchester (27th).


To use the buzz around the world’s third biggest sports tournament being hosted in the UK to promote reading for pleasure and the use of public libraries.


Fees and expenses paid for entirely by the RFU.

There is more information about the tour and the other literacy project I am doing around the Rugby World Cup here:



Summer 2015 reading list for kids who watch sport

This summer there will be loads of sport on the TV and radio. F1, athletics, rugby, football, cricket and other major sports tournaments that children will be watching during the summer holidays.

This list is for parents and teachers who want to keep kids reading during the summer break, using all that live sport as a stimulus.

One   The Rugby World Cup Activity Book includes lots to read and several activities – many word-based – that will get the school holidays off to a fun start. It is accompanied by an official tournament guide.

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Two   Know the Game publish a range of basic books about how to play various sports, from rugby and football to handball and netball. They are extremely well-written and concise. They’ll encourage focused reading and sporting activity too. Great for summer.

Three   Newspapers. Before, during and after major sporting events this summer, get hold of sport sections and special pull outs in the newspaper of your choice.

Four   Follow the men’s and women’s Ashes cricket series on the BBC website. Updated every minute and full of banter from some great writers and former players.

Five   Read some quality fiction by revered children’s authors. Michael Morpurgo’s Cool or Billy the Kid.  Chris Higgins’ Pride and Penalties. Mal Peet’s Penalty. Lauren St John’s One Dollar Horse series.

Six   Read fiction by real sports stars. Footballer Frank Lampard has a series of 5+ fiction out. Horse rider, Pippa Funnell, has an equestrian series out. Even Izzy Folau has a rugby fiction series out on Kindle.

Seven   The football season starts on August 8th. Try one of the many football magazines around that time, featuring season’s previews. Magazines include Match, Match of the Day, FourFourTwo and World Soccer.

Eight   The World Athletics Championships begins on 22 August. Both Jessica Ennis and the Brownlee brothers have written autobiographies that are accessible to children. Check them and others out.

Nine   There a several biographies of sport stars that are short and readable. Theo Walcott. Amir Khan. Sachin Tendulkar. Lewis Hamilton. All published by dyslexia-friendly publisher, Barrington Stoke.

Rugby Academy

Ten   With the Rugby World Cup taking place in the UK in September and October, I have written a three-book series about a kids’ rugby team  playing in a schools’ World Cup called Rugby Academy. (More info here.) There are also great rugby series by Gerard Siggins, Dan Anthony and Andrew Smith.


You can get your hands on most of the above reading material at your public library, as well as in bookshops and newsagents. This year the public library Summer Reading Challenge has a theme of Record Breakers. Take your kids to the public library to sign up. There is more information about that here.

Find out more about several projects I am involved with to do with this autumn’s Rugby World Cup here.

And let me know if you have read any decent sports writing for kids, then I can add it to the blog.

Thanks for reading. Have a happy summer.

Read Rugby

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2015 is a massive year for rugby union in England as the Rugby World Cup comes to our shores. It is an opportunity for us all to watch the world’s greatest players and different teams’ styles of play.

The World Cup gives rugby union the chance to encourage the children and adults in your schools and libraries to try the game – either on the pitch or from the stands.

But the it can do more. Much more.

For one, the Rugby World Cup can get children – and their families – reading for pleasure. In Read Rugby you will find dozens of ideas about how to use rugby to encourage children to read. It is divided into the places in your library, school or rugby club and features ideas for displays, book groups, activities, visits and things that families can do at home.

It includes links to free online resources that will hopefully do a lot of the work for you, meaning you can spend more time talking about reading with the children. It also offers advice as to when are the best times to use rugby to encourage reading, focussing on the RBS Six Nations and the Rugby World Cup.

Please get it into the hands of teachers, librarians, rugby coaches and parents.

Here it is. You need to sign up online, but it is quick and easy. And I hope you’ll think it is worth it.