You can read my everyday news on twitter @tompalmerauthor or on my blog. But here’s where you’ll find my termly newsletter about my latest writing, published books and resources.
Sign up for my teachers and librarians termly e-newsletter with new writing and new literacy resources by emailing me here.
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Autumn 2016 News
Summer 2016 extra
Read Daniel and Alexander’s fantastic report of the Flyboy Book Launch here.
Spring 2016 extra
More awards here.
Autumn 2015 News
Read my Autumn 2015 Extra News here
Read my Autumn 2015 News here
Spring Term 2015 Literacy News
I hope the new term has started well for you and you are looking forward to a happy 2015. I’ve got an exciting year of promoting reading through rugby (and football, of course), writing about RAF planes and touring schools and libraries from Edinburgh to Plymouth, via Cardiff.
“Over the Line shows the special place of football in creating a whole regiment during the first world war” The Guardian
I hope my latest newsletter will help you to promote reading for pleasure. Please do pass this on to other teachers, librarians or organisations who may be interested.
Find out more at www.tompalmer.co.uk or via twitter @tompalmerauthor. Please email me back with any questions or for a free signed poster pack. Thank you for your continued support.
New rugby book out 14 February
I’m happy to say that my second Rugby Academy story, Surface to Air, is out on 14 February 2015. Here’s a special link to the first chapter .
Click here for more
If you haven’t been able to book an author yet for World Book Day, I am afraid I am already booked. Do get in touch if you’d like any free signed materials to offer as prizes. Here are some new resources that might be useful, especially that week.
- a website quiz about my books and writing http://tompalmer.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Website-Quiz.pdf
- a World Book Day competition – guess which famous author I am pictured with to win a class set of my new Rugby Academy book, Combat Zone http://tompalmer.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/World-Book-Day-competition-2015.pdf
- a World Book Day message poster http://tompalmer.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/World-Book-Day-Poster-2015.pdf
Click here for more resources http://tompalmer.co.uk/schools-librarians/literacy-resources/
The 2015 rugby union year is underway, including the Six Nations tournament, beginning on 6th February and the Rugby World Cup in September and October, hosted in the UK.
So now is the time for children to read more about the game that is capturing their imagination: Websites. Fiction. Non-fiction. Newspapers. Magazines. Rugby can help children enjoy reading for pleasure.
With this in mind, I’ve written a Top ten tips letter for rugby families to encourage reading http://tompalmer.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Ten-top-tips-2015-rugby.pdf
Watch out for my projects with England Rugby this year, to mark this autumn’s Rugby World Cup.
- A toolkit of ideas to use rugby to help encourage reading for pleasure.
- Fifteen classroom lesson plans about writing and reading through sport.
- A live online story during the Rugby World Cup.
- A summer tour of libraries with my Rugby Reading Game.
I am very busy this term, visiting lots of schools, libraries from Edinburgh to Plymouth, via Cardiff.
I’m also working with the Royal Air Force Museums who have made me their Children’s Writer in Residence. They are helping me to research a new children’s series with the RAF which will be out in 2016. I’ll be blogging about all that very soon at
I shall be at the RFU Rugby Store at Twickenham on 14 February if you’d like to meet me.
I am the keynote speaker at the National Literacy Trust’s conference on Closing the Literacy Gap for Boys on 4 March.
I am doing open schools events this year in Newcastle, Burnley, Leicester, Leeds, Hull and Hampshire with their school library services, so do let me know if you are in those areas.
I shall be at Shrewsbury Book Festival and Edinburgh Book Festival this year.
Click here for more http://tompalmer.co.uk/meet-me/
I am excited to say that England striker Adam Lallana from Liverpool FC has recommended Over the Line in a video for pupils for the National Literacy Trust here:
I have written a free story, “Call of Duty” about a modern footballer going to war on the Reading War website here.
Click here for more http://tompalmer.co.uk/over-the-line/
Click here for more http://tompalmer.co.uk/about-tom/awards/
News Extra December 2014
Combat Zone was launched at RAF Cosford with special guests – pupils from Albrighton Primary School.
Autumn News 2014
The first book, Combat Zone, is set at a boarding school where rugby is the big game and a welcome distraction for many of the children whose RAF parents are in serving in the Middle East conflict.
Books two and three are published next year in time for the Rugby World Cup, which England and Wales will host in autumn 2015.
Rugby Reading Game
In 2015, I will be touring rugby-loving schools with my Rugby Reading Game. If you are interested in a visit to build on the excitement around the Rugby World Cup hosted by England and Wales in autumn 2015, please contact me.
WW1 Centenary resources
The site is designed to be accessible to a range of children, with lots of video content and short, punchy stories, diaries and other specially-created reading materials. There are activities linked to the videos, teachers’ guides, playscripts, downloadable posters.
You can see videos of my researching the story on the battlefields where the book is set and at the grave of one of my characters.
You can read my blog about a school that is using the book and the website as a class read this autumn.
“Over the Line shows the special place of football in creating a whole regiment during the first world war” The Guardian
Come and say hello
I am at Cheltenham Book Festival on 11th October at 3 p.m. I’ll be running a Rugby v Football event.
I’ll also be at Birmingham Central Library on 27th October and at the Exetreme Festival in Exeter on 28th October.
Click here for more.
Ghost Stadium has just won Leicester Libraries Our Best Book Award 2014 thanks to voting by children across the area.
Over the Line has been selected for Exeter’s City Read for 2014.
Ghost Stadium has also been selected for the new Bookbuzz reading programme from Booktrust, which supports schools to encourage reading for pleasure, independent choice and develop a whole school reading culture.
Click here for more.
Summer News 2014
Thank you if you have followed the Foul Play: Brazil World Cup episodic story.
Print off your Foul Play Brazil certificate here .
Find out more about the Foul Play series and read the story here.
Our 2014 World Cup reading activities have been downloaded over 120,000 times and used by schools around the world.
Find out about my Tour De Leeds Libraries and download your literacy pack and free story here.
NEW BOOK – Over the Line
My new book published by Barrington Stoke is out now. http://www.theguardian.com/childrens-books-site/2014/mar/31/book-doctor-quidditch-games-in-childrens-books
It has been described as a powerful historical novel about one footballer’s experience in World War I, based on the little-known history of the Flanders Cup. It’s 1914 and Jack is making his debut as a pro footballer. But his first match is marred by a demonstration demanding that the teams sign up to do their duty in France. Word of the Footballer’s Battalion and a cup in Flanders provides a glimmer of hope that Jack can keep his dream of playing for England alive. But as the war drags on, Jack is thrown into a nightmare world he will be lucky to survive. Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 10+
“Over the Line shows the special place of football in creating a whole regiment during the first world war” The Guardian
Click here for more.
World Cup (12 June – 13 July) National Literacy Trust Resources
Our 2010 World Cup reading activities were downloaded over 100,000 times and used by nearly 2,500 schools.
Use ideas from the FREE World Cup Toolkit, published on 7 May 2014, giving you plenty of time to build on pupil’s excitement.
Read aloud the FREE World Cup Episodic Story Foul Play Brazil by Tom Palmer, published on the National Literacy Trust website before 8am every weekday from Wednesday 11 June to Monday 14 July.
Register your interest to get the latest here
Check out these articles by some brilliant teachers on how they promoted literacy during their pupil’s excitement about the World Cup. Click here for more http://tompalmer.co.uk/schools-librarians/articles/
2014-2018 First World War Centenary Resources
Visit the new online resource from Barrington Stoke packed with information on World War 1. The site explores the themes of the novels Over the Line by Tom Palmer and Tilly’s Promise by Linda Newbery, covering topics including soldiers in the trenches, football and football battalions, nursing and the Home Front.
The site is designed to be accessible to a range of children, with lots of video content and short, punchy stories, diaries and other specially-created reading materials. There are activities linked to the videos, and there are teachers’ guides, playscripts, downloadable posters and other materials suitable for use in the classroom.
Click here for more www.readingwar.co.uk
Black Op won the 2013 Solihull Children’s Book Award thanks to voting by children in the borough’s schools.
Ghost Stadium is currently shortlisted for Leicester Libraries Our Best Book Award 2014.
Ghost Stadium has just been selected for the new Bookbuzz reading programme from Booktrust, which supports schools to encourage reading for pleasure, independent choice and develop a whole school reading culture.
Click here for more http://www.bookbuzz.org.uk/about-us/
Thank you for reading. Please do feel free to get in touch or pass this on to others who may be interested.
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Winter News 2013
I am really thrilled the Black Op has won the Solihull Children’s Book of the Year Award! Thanks to all the children in the borough who enjoyed voting for their favourite books.
I hope you are well and that these latest free literacy resources – and my books – will help to support the brilliant work you are doing in your school or library, to encourage children to read for pleasure
NEW Free Literacy Resource “Football Readers Pack”
A downloadable pack of sixposters with new ideas to encourage reluctant readers to read for pleasure, featuring real reading boys from across Britain, Ireland and Australia.
“WOW! It’s brilliant. Our boys will love it “ Librarian, QEGS
Our latest article is from North Yorkshire teacher Catherine Monaghan, “Jack and Tom – From Reluctant Reader to Reading for Pleasure”. It came third in a recent ‘The Teacher’ (NUT magazine) competition. (We think it should have won!)
I am currently finishing “Over the Line”, my new children’s book about a real life footballer Jack Cock and his experiences as a soldier in the Footballers’ Battalion during the First World War, both in the trenches and playing in the Flanders Cup. It will be published in March 2014 by Barrington Stoke to coincide with the First World War Centenary.
Summer News 2013
I hope you are well and have been able to make time for reading outdoors now the weather is getting warmer.
I’ve just come back from a trip with the British Council to South Korea, which was amazing.
Don’t forget, you can find out what I’m up to on twitter …. It would be great to stay in touch.
NEW RESOURCE. Black Op, the first in my Puffin Squad series, years 6-8, has been selected for the accelerated reading scheme. You can watch the video of me reading Black Op here with a quiz to follow.
NEW CLASS WRITING COMPETITION
Win a school visit to your class from Football Academy author Tom Palmer to celebrate his new book Ghost Stadium. Have fun telling together and creating in the classroom a single piece of spooky creative writing. It could be either a story, cartoon, play script, film script or a poem, but has to incorporate 10 selected spooky words.
NEW BOOK Interchange is out now, published by Hull Libraries to celebrate the 2013 Rugby League World Cup. Interchange is a children’s story of twin brothers, Brad and Sam who grow up playing rugby and training together. They both have trials for Hull KR and Hull FC rugby league teams and are each successful. But that’s when the problems start.
NEW BOOKS The Penalty and Real Cricket published by Collins Big Cat Phonics Progress books. Specifically designed for struggling readers, giving them age-appropriate texts that they can read, building their confidence and fostering positive attitudes towards reading.
The Penalty – Lucas is the best in his football team at taking penalties. He never misses – ever. But one day that all changes and Lucas has to learn to deal with his mistake, finding a way of building up his confidence once again
Real Cricket – As he spends his days playing makeshift cricket, Adnan dreams of playing the game professionally for a team. When one of Adnan’s games ends with a damaged car, he fears his chances of practising will be over – his future all depends on what the owner of the car says to his parents …
For more information and download a free poster for your school to encourage reading “Share a story together today”.
Lucas, Irfan, and Jack mark the beginning of their summer holidays in style! With a camping cover story, the boys sneak into the old abandoned football stadium to spend the night. Are the rumours about it being haunted true?
NEW RESOURCE To celebrate the forthcoming publication of Ghost Stadium we have produced a free school’s pack to encourage reading for pleasure with a author interviews, posters, writing competition, reading comprehension and a wordsearch.
Summer 2013 Don’t forget Year 3-6 will enjoy taking part in the Summer Reading Challenge at their local library
Summer Rugby League World Cup 2013 Events and Resources
As the author of the children’s rugby story, Scrum!, I am really pleased to be working with Try Reading and events at 26 local libraries to promote literacy in the build up to the 2013 Rugby League World Cup.
Try Reading also has a huge range of materials free from your local library
August 2013 Edinburgh Festival I am really looking forward to coming back to Edinburgh Festival on with a family event at the Baillie Gifford Corner Theatre on 18 August, a school’s event on 19 August and outreach events with Inverclyde Libraries on 20 August. More information from firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Love the website and resources. You’re doing a great thing” Nessan (Y5 teacher Hackney)
Spring News 2013
I am currently on the final editing stage of my new children’s book, Ghost Stadium for Barrington Stoke, out in June. I’ll send you the first chapter with my Summer newsletter. I love the cover … http://www.amazon.co.uk/Ghost-Stadium-Tom-Palmer/dp/178112227X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1359375729&sr=8-1
In the meantime, there are some exciting international dates coming up this term linked to my children’s books and I hope our accompanying FREE literacy resources will encourage reading for pleasure in your school.
Dates for your diary
Six Nations Rugby tournament: 2 February-16 March
New Resources : Rugby Reading and Love Rugby: Love Reading Two free packs full of ideas to help you get children into reading for pleasure through rugby
New Blog You can also read my blog about how the Six Nations can promote reading in your school.
Fairtrade Fortnight: 25 February-10 March
Free Resource : Fair Play teaching pack based on my research trip to Ghana is about Fair trade, football and literacy.
Climate Change week: 4 March-10 March
Free Resource : The Pack Ideas for thinking about ecological issues including the melting ice in the Arctic and the scramble for the oil and gas underneath the seabed of the Arctic Circle.
World Book Day: 7 March 2013
Free Resource : Award or start my Series Reading Challenge, with sticker books and progress charts and signed & personally dedicated certificates for any child reading all of my Football Academy or Foul Play series.
Autumn News 2012
New Book White Fear is my new follow up to Black Op in the Puffin Squad series… The Squad have been summoned to the deadly and frozen land of the Arctic Circle by the British Prime Minister who has heard of their growing reputation as brilliant young spies. But the beauty of the icy mountains and deep fjords hide some dangerous secrets and someone will do anything to make sure that the Squad don’t discover them…
You can read my blog on writing about the issues facing the Arctic region.
White Fear focuses on ecological issues including the melting ice in the Arctic and the scramble for the oil and gas underneath the seabed.
To accompany the publication of White Fear, we’ve produced The Pack full of extra details about the setting, writing, plot and characters with discussion topics and reading comprehensions.
I am now fully booked for Autumn Term 2012 but have some spaces in Spring & Summer 2013. Please email me back with your requirements and for more information.
September News 2011
We hope you’ve had a good summer, time to catch your breath and catch up on your reading.
New Book – Scrum!
In a change of sport, I have a children’s rugby novel coming out in October. Scrum! is published by Barrington Stoke to tie in with the autumn’s rugby union world cup (but the story is about league too!).
“I thought it was good because it showed you what life might be like if you have to move house and your Mum and Dad separate. I didn’t know much about rugby before but I do now. It was a really good story and I read it twice. It was that good!” Harry, London
I have a new FREE Rugby and Literacy Pack which includes Reading Comprehensions and Literacy Exercises.
I have also written the National Literacy Trust Love Rugby : Love Reading Rugby World Cup Toolkit. FREE download:
New & updated literacy resources including the Puffin Football Academy & Foul Play Series Reading Challenge -certificates, charts, sticker book & stickers, with simple guidelines how to use them to motivate readers.
I am offering training, resources and original stories to coincide with the Olympic Games in 2012.
I am now taking bookings for my events in schools, libraries and festival in 2012. I can present my Football Reading Game, as well as activities around rugby, the Olympics and Fair Trade to inspire young readers and writers.
Useful 2012 dates for your diary are :
Rugby Six Nations (4 February to March 17) Fair Trade Fortnight (28 February to 13 March) Euro 2012 football (8 June to 1 July) Olympic Games, London (27 July to 12 August)
I write a weekly blog for schools about being a writer for the National Literacy Trust. Each blog includes a writing exercise based on my weekly topic. See http://www.literacytrust.org.uk/blog
Summer News 2011
Boys United was on ITV Daybreak, when a boy kindly chose it as his favourite book! Thank you! http://www.itv.com/daybreak/whats-the-story/childrens-favourite-books/
Summer events I’ll be at Altrincham Waterstone’s on 13th August from 11am. Also, I am taking part in London’s Imperial War Museum’s children’s book festival with an event at 3pm on 18th August. If you’re around it would be lovely to see you at either
Writing In July and August I’m be finishing my World War One novel – Over the Line – with George Myerson. I’ll be spending several days at the Imperial War Museum using their amazing resources, from objects to soldiers’ diaries.
Squad 1 will come back to me some time in August for an edit. Black Op is its title and I am looking forward to see what Puffin think of it.
I will also be researching Squad 2, which has the working title The Scream. It is based in Norway. I need to find out about oil and minerals under the Arctic icecap and about the boats that travel through the Fjords of Norway.
I’ve been writing a weekly blog about the writing of the novel for the National Literacy Trust. It is aimed at teachers for them to use in schools and includes an exercise to do in class after reading it. The blogs can be found at http://www.literacytrust.org.uk/blog/3458. They will carry on into the autumn term.
Running In August I will start to run again. I have been off the hills round where I live because of a stress fracture in my leg. But it’s nearly better. I can’t wait to get up there again. Because I love it and because when I am up there I have ideas for a teenage novel to do with fell running and other things that have happened on the moors near where I live.
Autumn Events I have finalised my rugby tour to mark the publication of my Barrington Stoke book, Scrum!, which is out in the autumn. I am taking my new Rugby Reading Game to 25 schools and libraries in ten of the UK’s twelve regions. Also, I’ll be at Bath, Ilkley, Beverley and Manchester Book festivals.
The National Literacy Trust are re-launching their spectacular Premier League Reading Stars scheme – and now you can run it in schools as well as libraries. To find out more you can visit http://www.literacytrust.org.uk/premier_league_reading_stars. It is a great way to engage football fans with reading. I have written the tactics book and a series of challenges that Premier League footballers will be setting the children.
New Research In the autumn I am planning to do some research around boys and reading in other European countries. If you have any good contacts abroad or know any information, it would be a massive help. Thank you.
June News 2011
The Summer Reading Challenge starts in libraries soon. I am delighted to be one of the featured authors on the official website. You can see a film my daughter made of me at http://www.circus-stars.org.uk/author-spotlight.aspx?tom-palmer. I am also doing events in Nottingham (30th June) and Barnsley (26th June) to help launch the scheme. Have a go at the challenge and read six books over the summer.
It’s the Women’s Football European Championships this summer. It kicks off on 26 June. I will be doing some events with Girls FC author, Helena Pielichaty to celebrate. Come on England! More info at http://www.fifa.com/womensworldcup/index.html .
I am going to do some work in Basildon in the middle of June at Ghyllgrove Junior School. I have been working with a class of children called the Football Writers all year as their adopted author. We produced this film together: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJmgBfbdwlY. It is going to be hard on the last day. I will miss them. Their teacher is writing an article about making the film. It’ll be on the website later this month.
I am up for the Calderdale Book Award on 29th June. I have been shortlisted for a few prizes in the past, including the Blue Peter Book Award. I would like to win this one A LOT because I live in Calderdale. Sadly, I am up against some great books, including Paul Dowswell’s Auslander, which is outstanding.
I am doing lots of school and library events in June and am doing a few public events before the summer. Great Yarmouth Library at 2pm on 3 June. The Grove Bookshop in Ilkley at 4.15pm on 23 June. Hebden Bridge Festival on 2nd July at 3pm. Please come and say hello if you can.
I’ll also be at the Imperial War Museum in London’s Children’s Book festival along with Michael Morpurgo and many others. Check out http://www.iwm.org.uk/server/show/conEvent.3624 for more info.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationadvice/8552590/Education-advice-How-to-encourage-your-children-to-read.html Thanks to the Telegraph for the great mention of my 2 Puffin football series! And thanks very much and a warm welcome to any of its readers who are discovering my books!
May News 2011
I hope you are well and enjoying the Summer sunshine – great for reading and playing football. I hope you find this of interest. Please pass it on . Thank you.
The Book – My new children’s book Own Goal is out now! It takes Danny from the stands at his local club to the glamorous terraces of Italy’s Lake Como. Read the first chapter by following the link here http://www.tompalmer.co.uk/index.php?page_id=46.
The Film – School children from Ghyllgrove Junior School in Basildon have created a trailer for Own Goal. They did a fantastic job – they wrote it, filmed it and edited it. You can view it on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJmgBfbdwlY. Can you spot my cameo appearance?
The Training – Diane Baker & I have developed a training course around using the Olympics to promote literacy using our specialisms in teaching and writing.If you’d like to know more, please get in touch.
The Kit – Now I have finished writing a children’s story for rugby fans Scrum!, the National Literacy Trust have asked me to develop a 2011 Rugby Union World Cup toolkit to promote reading. It is full of ideas about activities, events, displays and book groups that could be used in rugby-loving schools and libraries. It will be available from late June for use in September, email email@example.com for more details.
The Visits – This month I will be taking my Football Reading Game to schools from Devon to Aberdeenshire. If you’d like to book me, I’m free from mid-October. I have been asked to do some free public events in bookshops in Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire for Independent Booksellers Week (June 18 to 25th). More details in my June newsletter.
And finally … What good children’s books have I read recently? Agent 21 by Chris Ryan. The Medusa Project by Sophie McKenzie. The Rugby Zombies by Dan Anthony. And Tripwire by Steve Cole. Have you any reading tips for me?
April News 2011
School kids’ film to premier at major cinema
A book trailer film – written, starring and shot entirely by children from Ghyllgrove Junior School, Basildon – will Premier at a major cinema complex this week.
The trailer for the author, Tom Palmer’s Puffin book, Own Goal, will be screened at the Empire Cinema, Festival Leisure Park, Basildon, at 9.45am on Wednesday 6th April 2011.
The children and their teachers will be joined by the author to celebrate their achievements.
Ghyllgrove teacher, Diane Baker, said ‘The children are thrilled that their film will be shown for the first time at their local cinema. We have worked with Tom for 3 years to improve their literacy and they have all enjoyed making this short film that delivers a strong persuasive message.’
Tom Palmer agreed. ‘I am really excited to see how the children’s hard work will come out. I helped a little with the planning and filming, but it is the teachers and children at Ghyllgrove who have created this.’
The children involved in the film will be available for interview on the day.
The film was recorded in Basildon and at Charlton Athletic FC.
Own Goal will be published in May 2011 and is about an Italian football club owner who is using subliminal images on TV to make everyone support his team.
Tom Palmer has been working with the school for three years and is their official adopted author, paid for by a scheme funded by the Basildon Excellent Cluster.
March News 2011
I WILL finally start writing my new Puffin series, The Squad,
in March. I have four months to do it. As things stand it’s about spies, football, the Euro 2012 tournament in Poland and Ukraine. I am going to both countries later in March to find settings for the story, such as football stadia, city centres and mountain ranges.
I love travelling to foreign countries to research books. I’ve had the pleasure of singing Leeds songs to a school in rural Ghana (poor kids!) and having my room searched by the Russian secret service in a Moscow hotel. Last month I went to some of the battle scenes of WWI in France to research my football/war book, Over the Line. It was amazing to go to some of the places where the characters I was writing about had fought and died.
Foul Play book five – Own Goal – is out in May. I am really looking forward to talking about it in schools and libraries. The story? Suddenly everyone is supporting one team in Europe, Forza FC of Italy. But why? Danny has to find out in what could very easily be his last football detective case…
I’ve got a new book coming out in October too. But this one is about rugby. It’s called Scrum and is about a rugby league playing boy who has to move south and can only play rugby union. I’ve really enjoyed writing it, especially because it is published by Barrington Stoke, who publish some really great books. I’m thrilled to say that Kenny Logan is writing an introduction for it. Do you like the cover?
March sees the beginning of the end… of the football season. This is the time that teams crumble, or emerge from nowhere to win something. Who do you think will get the big prizes? This is my March 1st prediction list:
Premier League: Man U
FA Cup: Man U
Champions League: Barcelona
Championship promotion: QPR, Swansea (and Leeds in the play offs)
What do you think? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org
February News 2011
I’m going to France with my family later this month to find out more about the trenches in France. I am writing a book – called Over the Line – with another author and thought it would be useful to see the museums and reconstructed trenches and cemeteries. But the main thing I want to see is the towns and scenery my characters were in. I like to see what I am writing about. I expect it’ll be upsetting seeing all there is to see.
I hope to have the second draft of the book completed by the end of the month. Then we’ll see what it’s like.
From March to June I will be working on the first book of my new Puffin series. The series is called The Squad. The first book: Defenders. February is about research. I need to know more about spies, gas pipelines, oil fields, Ukraine, Poland and Norway. And more about football.
I am really excited about this series. I have been thinking about it for months and it feels like most of it is written in my head. Which, of course, it isn’t.
I have a rugby novel out this Autumn, at the start of the rugby union world cup, called Scrum!, published by Barrington Stoke. But first we have the Six Nations to enjoy this month.
I’ll be watching the first six nations game in a hotel in Norwich City’s Carrow Road football stadium. You can actually see the pitch from your bedroom, which I like. Last time I stayed there I woke up at dawn and saw hundreds of birds pecking the pitch. They weren’t canaries, though.
In mid-February I am doing some work with the National Literacy Trust at Basildon’s Ghyllgrove Junior School. They are filming me and the teacher, Diane Baker, for a DVD they are doing to help teachers find out even more ways of encouraging boys’ reading. Apparently I will be speaking in an Italian accent and going in goal.
On 19th February I am running in a 10K race in Wigan, called the Standish Hall Trial. I did it last year with the Bookseller’s fleet-footed Tom Holman. We’re hoping to blast 10 minutes of last year’s time. Let see if we can…
This, however, is not the end for me. My plan is to be fit enough for my first ever fell race on 8 May. I have only run races on tracks and roads before. Fell races are harder. I may come last, but I’ll finish.
January News 2011
I’m really looking forward this year now it’s started. I have two books coming out this year and three to write. So it’s a busy time.
The books coming out are the fifth – and last – Foul Play book. It’s called Own Goal and sets Danny his hardest challenge yet – to find out why thousands of people are suddenly supporting Italian football team, Forza FC, instead of their local team.
The other book is called Scrum and is not about football at all, but rugby. That is out in October in time for the Rugby Union World Cup, published by Barrington Stoke.
As well as this I will be travelling to lots of countries to research books that will be coming out in 2012. I’ll be going to look at the WW1 trenches in France, gas pipelines in Poland and Ukraine and, in the autumn, into the Arctic Circle. I love travelling, especially when I am writing a book. It helps me think up more exciting stories. Well, that’s the plan.
Look out for the new competition to win one of my books, signed, on this website. The challenge is to work out which Premier League club is going to part company with their manager this month.
I’m going to be doing lots of school visits in 2011. Several visits a week up to the summer holidays. In September and October I am hoping to do lots of events linking rugby and reading. I love meeting readers, to hear what they like to read, but mostly to chat about football!
December News 2010
War I am still working flat out on the WWI children’s novel, Over the Line, at the moment. It is set in 1914 Huddersfield and London, then the trenches in France. It is a lot harder to write than books set today. Even my books set in places like Ghana and Moscow are easier: at least I can go to those places. How do I visit 1914 London? The best answer I have found is to look at pictures of the time and to read books set in that period, like soldiers’ diaries. It’s hard: but worth it. I’m learning a lot.
New Blog I am writing a new blog with some other children’s authors, including Helena Pielichaty and Dan Tunstall. We are all football fans and the blog focuses on our thoughts on (and books about) football. So, if you know any football fans, please encourage them to have a look and contribute a few comments. The URL is www.goallinesblogspot.com.
Reading I am reading a lot about WWI at the moment. And it is fascinating. I did not study history at school, so it is mostly new to me. Today, I learnt that men were sent over the top of the trenches just to mend the barbed wire defences. It must have been terrifying if a flare went up, especially with the Germans sometimes only 50 feet away.
As a bit of light relief, I have been working my way through the Wimpy Kid books by Jeff Kinney. They’re great. Have you tried them?
The Ashes Celebrate the forthcoming Ashes 25 November 2010 – 7 January 2011. The Case of the Missing Trophy. Schools could ask pupils who they think stole the Ashes Trophy and how they did it as a literacy exercise.
New Year Resolutions
What are your New Year resolutions? Mine are:
• to take up fell running and enter a race by the summer
• to eat more blueberries and broccoli and less cake
• to not work for 30 Saturdays in this year, like I have for the past eight years (no more than 5 this year!)
Christmas It feels like Christmas already here in Todmorden. If you look up Todmorden on Google Maps and view it as a satellite view, you will see it is very hilly here. We have had lots of snow and it all looks like a Christmas card (but then everyone has had snow!).
Happy Christmas to you, anyway! And thanks for being interested in my books.
National Literacy Trust writing competition results November 2010
Many thanks to everyone for entering. In the end, there were 874 entries from Hull to Madrid. The stories included spaceships, invisibility, underground caverns, laser guns, happy endings, tragic endings and romance.
First (prize = 60 books, 11 books and name to be used in Tom’s next football series) Marcella from Devon
Second (prize = 30 books and 11 books) Lucy from Huddersfield
Third (prize = 30 books and 11 books) Miles from Preston
Fourth (prize = one signed book of their choice) Catherine from Huddersfield
Fifth (prize = one signed book of their choice) Toby Barnes
Well done everyone! I came up with some useful tips, which I collated from the best writers. Here are the tips:
* write a clear and quick story that tells the reader what is happening – and to who – without spending too much time describing things
* surprise the reader with something they would never see coming (for instance, maybe the detectives DON’T solve the mystery and it all goes wrong)
* use the kind of words you would speak, rather than words you think a writer should use – it can sound more natural
* try and come up with a big idea, something new and exciting – such as a girl’s lipstick that can also be used as a laser to cut through walls
* read lots of different authors – it was clear that the winners had read books by lots of authors and it gave them the edge because they had learn how great writers put a story together
I loved judging the competition. There were so many good ideas and so much excellent writing. I learnt a lot about writing myself from reading the 874 writers who took part. For me the best part was seeing what children did with my characters Danny and Charlotte. Especially Charlotte. I think I’ll have to do a spin off series about her! Thank you to all the children and teachers who took part.
November News 2010
I’m having a great writing time at the moment. I am researching my new Puffin series, The Squad. I need to find out about countries like Ukraine, Poland and Norway, which are likely settings for the books. I will need to travel to all three, which I will love.
I am really lucky that my job has taken me to countries like Russia (for Dead Ball), Ghana (for Off Side) and Italy (Own Goal). It is really important to me that I know at least a bit about the countries where I set my books. I read a lot about the places I go to too.
As I research the new series, I am working on a book with another author. It might be called Over the Line. It is about football and war and a man caught between the two. It is really exciting writing about something that really happened in history. Very different to making pretty much everything up.
I am in training for my next run. The Hot Toddy is a hilly road race in Todmorden on 27 December. My training has taken me off-road. I was scared of running on hills and uneven ground, because my left knee was badly ruined during a football match in 1992. But I strengthened my knee and I am now loving running up and down sodden moors. It is wonderful, either in heavy fog or on bright day, where you can see as far as Blackpool Tower, from Yorkshire. I’m lucky to live here.
Leeds United have been taking me (and other Leeds fans) on a bit of a rollercoaster this season. We were 4-1 up against Preston in October and ended up losing 6-4. I was there. I’ve seen a 1-2, 4-6, 1-2, 1-2 and 4-0 this season. I’ve missed a 3-1 and a 1-0. Maybe I’m the reason for all these defeats?
I’ve read some good books recently Dark Matter by Michelle Paver, about a doomed Arctic expedition, is the best. It is subtitled ‘a ghost story’ which it is. Michelle Paver is the author of the Ancient Darkness series that wins loads of prizes.
Tom Palmer by Kevin Reynolds
October News 2010
Foul Play book 4 – Killer Pass – is published on 7th October. It’s a book I loved writing. Danny has to work out who is burgling footballer’s houses only to find that his best friend, Charlotte, is involved deeply and dangerously in the case. Crashed cars. City centre chases. Moral fibre. It’s got it all.
The cover is another football shirt. With the number 4 on it. Can you guess what’s in the player’s hands?
I am thrilled to announce that I have just signed a two-book contract with Puffin for a new series which will launch in May 2012. The first book is going to be set in the Arctic Circle. But there’ll still be football involved.
I am often asked if I write books that aren’t about football. And I do. I’ve done books about Formula 1, rugby, fatherhood and even wool. But if you like action and excitement, I’d steer clear of the wool one. I have just finished a book about children at the seaside. Sort of a Famous Five meets Scooby Do story. I did it last month to try something new. I’m showing it to a few friends to see what they think.
I am running in a 10K race in Wigan later this month – at Standish Hall. I did the same route with a friend (also called Tom) in April. It was so wet and muddy that I really struggled. It took me sixty minutes and twenty seconds. This time I have been training on the Pennine Way and hope to knock 10 minutes off my time. I’ve a chance if… IF it is a bit drier.
I’ve been reading the Spook’s Apprentice series by Joseph Delaney. I love it. I don’t normally go for witches and magic in books, but this I love. It is all based around Pendle Hill which I can see when I run on the Pennine Way. Try it. It’s very good.
Don’t miss the deadline is coming up for the writing competition – it closes end of Oct 2010! The National Literacy Trust are running a national writing competition to do with my books this autumn. You can do it yourself or through school. http://www.literacytrust.org.uk/reading_the_game/resources/tom_palmer_competition .
Thanks for reading!