All posts by tompalmer

Six Nations 2018 literacy resources

The Six Nations rugby starts on February 3rd. A great chance to use children’s passion for rugby to engage them with reading and writing for pleasure.

I have loads of resources available on my website that you can use in schools and libraries and homes. All free.

In brief, this is what I can offer.

One. A new video where I talk about rugby reading for the 2018 Six Nations tournament.

Two. Several free downloadable rugby and reading posters in English and Welsh.


ThreeFour books set in the world of rugby union. My Rugby Academy series, about a school rugby team. And Scrum.

Four. Certificates – signed and dated by me – for any children who read my Rugby Academy series.

Five. A reading comprehension exercise for each of the four books above.

top trumps

Six. A Top Trumps game using characters from my Rugby Academy series.

Seven. A free Rugby World Cup story, commissioned by England Rugby in 2015.

Eight. Lesson plans written in conjunction with England Rugby. Half about reading. Half about writing.

Nine. Reviews of the major rugby union books, magazines, websites and newspapers.

Ten. Two school activity toolkits of ideas to promote reading through rugby union.

Please get in touch if you would like more information about author visits I do that link reading for pleasure with rugby, football and cross country running.


Announcing Armistice Runner

I am delighted to be able to  say that I have a new book coming out in autumn 2018.

It’s called Armistice Runner and is about a  thirteen-year-old cross country/fell runner called Lily. And her great great granddad, who was a champion fell runner as well as a trench runner during the last weeks of the First World War.

The story is based very loosely on my daughter’s love of cross country and fell running and the champion fell runner of 100 years ago, Ernest Dalziel (above).

You can read Barrington Stoke’s Press release about the book here.


Win a Skype with Tom – this week!

To celebrate the launch of my Iron Age ghost story, Pitch Invasion, I am offering three free thirty-minute Skype sessions with schools, to take place this coming week on Thursday 16th November.

Pitch Invasion is about Seth and Nadiya, two children who discover that an ancient hillfort near where Seth is staying is haunted by the Iron Age people who lived there 2000 years ago.

While I was writing Pitch Invasion I found out all I could about hillforts and Iron Age people by visiting Iron Age sites and reading as much as I could find about the era. I hope the book shows what an Iron Age settlement might have looked like and how its people lived.

Pitch Invasion is the last book of three in my Defenders series in which Seth and Nadiya solve hauntings from history. Killing Ground features the Anglo Saxons and Vikings. Dark Arena is set in an excavated British Roman amphitheatre. All three books have been painstakingly researched and tie in very much with the KS2 historical subjects.

I regularly visit classrooms via Skype. In the half an hour session I’ll talk to the children about what I found out about the Iron Age while I was researching the subject. I’ll read a short section from Pitch Invasion. And I’ll answer questions about the book and my life as a writer.

If you would like to be one of the three schools involved, please email me at All schools who email me before 9 p.m. on Monday 13th November will be entered into a draw and three will be chosen at random. I will contact everyone who has applied by Tuesday lunchtime to let you know if you’re one of the successful schools.

Pitch Invasion will be published by Barrington Stoke on Wednesday 15th November 2017.

You can find out about all three books in the Defenders books and their links to KS2 history topics here.



Free Remembrance Day resources for schools

Over the last four years I have written five books set during the First and Second World Wars. Over the Line, The Last Try, Flyboy, Spitfire and a new book due out in 2018.

I have developed a range of school resources linked to these books. Here’s a short summary of what is available. All are free.

First World War fiction posters.

A guided reading pack based on Flyboy, the story of an Indian pilot who fought in RAF during WW1. 

Playscripts for the classroom taken from my children’s book, Over the Line.

Toolkit for schools including several First World war ideas.

Seven short videos of me talking about how I researched Over the Line in France, including one film at the grave of one of my characters.

Certificates for children who have finished reading Over the Line as part of a class read or individually.

Classroom history and literacy pack about The Last Try, the story of rugby league’s only winner of the Victoria Cross.

Free story about a footballer signing up to fight in a modern war.

Free story about a Russian prince and England rugby legend who flew for the RAF during WW2.

During the 2018 Armistice Centenary commemorations I will be offering schools resources and events. If you would like a reminder about these, please contact me via this website.

World Cup 2018 literacy resources

In June and July 2018 I will be writing a live thriller adventure set at the World Cup finals in Russia. It will be published on the National Literacy Trust website.

Each weekday morning a new chapter will be available for free for schools and families to read. Each chapter will be a ten-minute read. It will be written so that it can be read with Y4 to Y8 and will feature dramatic cliffhangers.

The story will be influenced by the events of the tournament on and off the field. I will be writing the chapters each evening before publication the next morning, meaning they will be as relevant as possible.


Also, the action will be influenced by the votes of children in schools up and down the UK.

The story will probably start roughly 11th June and end around 16th July.  But that is to be confirmed.

If you would like a reminder email about this please email and we’ll email you in the spring.

If you know of any other classes and schools who would be interested in this, please pass it on.

Many thanks – Tom

Life, Death and Black Pudding

I went up to Wigtown Book Festival last week. It’s a great festival – and ultra-friendly.

Defenders books for children

I was interviewed by Samey Books before I headed to Scotland. It’s a fab interview with some out of the ordinary questions that touch on life, death and black pudding. I thought I’d stick it on the blog, as it was so good.

(When I say good, I mean the questions, not that it’s with me.)

Thanks Samey Books and thanks Wigtown Book Festival.