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Why I put Syrian children in my last two books

My last two books published have featured Syrian child refugees who have made it to the UK to be taken in by families and communities.

I did this because I have been in several schools and communities that have children who are refugees from Syria (and other troubled places in the world) and heard their stories in the staff room at lunch time.

That – and reading books and articles about Syria today – motivated me to develop Yusra, Galip and Aylan as characters in my children’s books.

I did it, also, because I want children who are in all schools to be able to read about how we – in our relatively safe and stable country – can help people whose lives have been smashed to pieces and how we need to remember this country has a history of taking in and accepting refugees.

Image result for gus palmer cat

Gus the Fantastic Football Cat (Egmont, KS1) is about a Syrian girl and her dad who look after a rescue cat when they arrive in the UK from Syria. The parallel of the girl taken in by a UK community and her, in turn, taking a rescue cat in is the only thing about the story that relates to her background. The rest of the story is hopefully a lot lighter, as the cat reveals it can predict World Cup football results.

Pitch Invasion (Barrington Stoke, KS2) is a bit more direct. The story is about a haunted hillfort in Cornwall and a ghostbusting duo – Seth and Nadiya – who realise there is a parallel between the ghost of Iron Age refugees escaping the Romans by heading west and two Syrian boys – Galip and Aylan – who have recently been taken in by a Cornish family, after tragedy in Syria.

Image result for pitch invasion palmer

Both books would have worked well enough without introducing Yusra and Galip and Aylan. But, because they are being published last year and this, I think it works better that I did include them.

Gus the Famous Football Cat

ISBN 9781405290944

A funny and heartwarming story about a girl and her pet cat, who becomes a World Cup celebrity! 

There’s a football challenge at Yusra’s school and everyone wants to win. Which class can find the best way to predict England’s World Cup results? Yusra has an idea – her pet cat Gus could help! As Gus keeps guessing the scores right, the word spreads and soon everyone wants a piece of the famous football cat. But is the life of a celebrity as purrfect as it seems?

Illustrated by: Alex Paterson
Published by : Egmont
Publication Date: May 03, 2018
Age Range: From 5 years
Book Band: Lime

The Reading Ladder series helps children to enjoy learning to read. It features well-loved authors, classic characters and favourite topics, so that children will find something to excite and engage them in every title they pick up. It’s the first step towards a lasting love of reading.

Level 3 Reading Ladder titles are perfect for fluent readers who are beginning to read exciting, challenging stories independently.

  • Varied sentences
  • Detailed illustrations to enjoy
  • Chapters
  • Interesting characters and themes
  • A rich range of vocabulary
  • More complex storylines to stretch confident readers

All Reading Ladder titles are developed with a leading literacy consultant, making them perfect for use in schools and for parents keen to support their children’s reading.

For more information about the series and advice on supporting children’s reading, see our reading ladder page here

RESERVE YOUR COPY HERE 

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.