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 Dalzell (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 2017 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

I have written several historical fiction books for children in wartime …

I have tried to explore a variety of roles across the Armed Forces:

NavyArctic Star
Army Over the LineArmistice Runner and The Last Try
the RAFFlyboy, Spitfire, Typhoon and Rugby Academy
Reserves and the paratroopersD-Day Dog 

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

Assemblies – I have recorded several Remembrance Day films more here … 

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 :
From Over the Line

From Resist

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.


More WW1 Literacy Resources are available from here:

  • Be a Trench Runner memory challenge game for the school hall.
  • Black out poetry sheets with instructions and certificates.
  • 10 discussion points about war for Y5 to Y9.
  • Book cover prediction sheets with questions encouraging the children to think about what a book might be about.

More WW2 Literacy Resources are available from here:

  • Downloadable posters.
  • First chapters of all my historical fiction books.
  • Videos about the settings of my books, filmed at the Somme and on the D-Day beaches.


If you would like a reminder of when future Remembrance resources will be available please use the contact form below.  Please be patient.  Our replies are not automated so you will get a personal reply.  See T&Cs. 

Please keep me informed about

Thank you

Buy Books

Signed and dedicated copies of all my books are available personalised to order from my local independent children’s bookshop “The Thoughtful Spot”  here.


Overseas : FREE Delivery worldwide from The Book Depository.
Australia: Boomerang   

Canada: Amazon Canada
New Zealand: Wheelers       

USA :  Indigo books

Visit my Amazon bookshop  or support your local bookshop HIVE


Schools bumper 35 book pack offer here

35 books
£190 saving £60 – over 20% discount

Please email


Schools class set offer here.

15 copies 20%+ discount
30 copies 25%+ discount
100 copies 30% + discount


Please email for a quote

PRIVACY & COOKIES POLICY                            TERMS & CONDITIONS


World Cup 2018 literacy resources

THANK YOU to the teachers, tutors, librarians, pupils and families who supported Defenders:Russia – a live thriller set at the men’s football World Cup finals in Russia, from 14th June-13 July 2018.

Defenders:Russia Dyslexia friendly BIND UP of  all 1-22 chapters available here.

Defenders:Russia CERTIFICATE for followers here.

Defenders:Russia QUIZ, thanks to the fantastic team @Ellis_Guilford here   (They will not be storing or using the response email address for marketing/communication or any other use).

Defenders:Russia Tom Palmer’s Guide To How Books Are Made WORKSHEET & answers here

  • based on my new history series, Defenders more here
  • FREE ten-minute read chapters for schools (Y4 – Y8) and families
  • written each night, influenced by the fixtures on and off the field
  • print it, read out loud, put on whiteboards, share on devices …
  • featuring dramatic cliffhangers, voting to change the storyline
  • “word of the day” extra activity

DOWNLOADSChapters 1-22 are now live.    I am grateful to the National Literacy Trust for hosting the story here.  Simply follow an easy and FREE registration process:

  • click on Join us
  • choose the Free Option
  • start Membership
  • enter Name, Email and Preferences
  • verify by email

“The best time I remember from my primary school was when our teacher read the Foul Play World Cup Mystery out to us. I’ll never forget us all listening together every morning and worrying about what would happen if England won!” Kylie

If you are one of 1000’s of teachers, librarians, pupils and families all over the world who followed the Defenders:Russsia live story, we’d like to thank you all in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Cayman Islands, Channel Islands, Czech Republic, Eire, England, Ethiopia, Hong Kong, India, Isle of Wight, Isle of Man, Italy, Malawi, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Qatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Scotland, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, USA and Wales – you have made this truly World Cup reading revolution!

My Other World Cup Resources:

  • Use this Live World Cup Read poster in your school or library.  Add when and where you will be reading it!
  • SPAG worksheet here with powerpoint here
    based on  Dead Ball – my Russian children’s thriller – and linking to the 2018 men’s football World Cup
  • Video – researching and writing Dead Ball in Moscow here
  • Book Covers for making bunting etc. here 
  • Football Readers pack – posters about real readers and template to make your own here 
  • World Cup display ideas here
  • Secret FC colouring here
  • Football Academy colouring here

  • Gus the Famous Football world cup predicting Cat colouring  download here 


  • World Cup schools toolkit here
  • World Cup Football Writing Exercises here
  • Letter to send home to encourage reading here 
  • Euro 2016/Somme toolkit here 


  • Mae Cwpan y Byd yn dod yn nes, felly dyma linc i siart wal y gallwch chi ei lawrlwytho ac argraffu adre! Welsh World Cup wallchart here

Thank you!

I’ve been using the World Cup to help promote literacy  since 2006 (see here ) with spin offs like the Rugby World Cup, Euros, and last year’s Anne Frank Diary for the Women’s Football European Championships.  Thanks to all the pupils and teachers for your amazing support!

Berkhamsted School’s World Cup bunting

Our previous Live Read activities were downloaded nearly 500,000 times and used by tens of thousands of schools… “I have been downloading Tom’s fantastic episodic story from the Literacy Trust website. I just wanted to drop him a line to tell him how brilliantly his story is going down at our school. Every morning I have children, particularly the boys, running up to me to check that I have downloaded and printed out the latest chapter of the story. The feedback from all the teachers is really positive, they tell me that it has really captured the boys imaginations and is encouraging them to read too!”    Lucy Bakewell, SLA School Librarian of the Year

And if you like these you might like …

A NEW World Cup story 

 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? More here 

Gus the Famous Football Cat colouring sheet download here 

More FREE literacy resources here

More about all my other books for children here

Background to the Defenders trilogy

Seth and Nadiya specialise in solving ghostly hauntings at football venues, which take them to settings including:


Each book ties into a KS2 history theme:

Killing Ground (Vikings & Anglo Saxons) 
Dark Arena  (Roman Britain) 
Pitch Invasion  (Iron Age Celts)

More here


PRIVACY & COOKIES POLICY                            TERMS & CONDITIONS


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.


London schools competition to launch my Roman Britain thriller “Dark Arena”

Win one of my historical fiction author visits to your London school by answering the following question:

What Roman building – which features in my new book Defenders: Dark Arena – is hidden underneath the Guildhall in London?

Dark Arena children's book set in London

Email with your answer by 30 November 2017. Draw to take place on 1 December and winners will be announced by Twitter.  10 x runner up schools to receive 100 signed bookmarks.

Date of visit to be arranged according to joint availability.

My Defenders series are spine-tingling, spooky football adventures – the past is closer than Nadiya and Seth think. Published by Barrington Stoke.

Read the first chapter of Dark Arena here.

More on my Defenders series here.

More about my historical fiction author visits here.

A Christmas Offer

Last autumn I asked teachers, librarians and other adults to nominate children they thought would benefit from the gift of a book for Christmas. I received over 100 nominations and sent out Christmas presents to over 50 children. This year I am doing the same.

I’d like to give books to children who do not have books at home. Or to children who need that one special book that could help engage them with a lifetime of reading for pleasure. Also, to children who have had a difficult year and a book could be a boost for them.  The books will be personally dedicated, signed, gift-wrapped and will come with a Christmas card.

Books by Tom Palmer

Last year I found this a moving experience, hearing direct from their teachers of children who were very ill themselves or were coping with poorly parents and siblings. Some nominations were for children who had showed extraordinary courage that year or for refugees who had lost pretty much everything in their lives.  Others were children who had only just discovered an interest in reading at school and their teachers wanted to encourage them with a book to take home.

If you’d like to nominate a child, please email the following information to by Thursday 30th November 2017:

  1. the child’s name (this will not be published and will be kept in full confidence)
  2. a short paragraph explaining why you are nominating that child
  3. your choice of book for them from one of my 35 books listed on this page on my website: . I have written books for children aged 5 to 15, covering history, spies, sport, detectives, ghosts and more.
  4. your name and school address (where I will send the book)

I am sorry, I cannot promise to send a book to every child nominated, but I intend to send a personal Christmas card to each nominee and a poster pack for each school.  My family and I will chose the recipients and have the books dispatched in the first week of December 2017.

With thanks to the artist James Innerdale, who will be designing the image that goes on the Christmas card.

Five library events coming up in the north west

Next week (on August 23rd and 24th) I will be hosting author talks in five public libraries across the north west of England.

Part of my summer #LoveLibraries tour.

I’ll  talk about reading and writing, then I’ll host a quiz and a penalty shoot out and…

… I’m also very excited that I’ll be able to introduce my new book, Dark Arena, which is set in a Roman Amphitheatre and a new-build 21st century football stadium.

I will bring my new shield. See below!

Tom Palmer

These are the dates.

Wednesday 23rd August, 10 a.m.
Widnes Library                
Contact number: 0151 907 8383

Wednesday 23rd August, 1 p.m.
Haydock Library, St Helens

Wednesday 23rd August, 4 p.m.
Penketh Library, Warrington

Tom Palmer author visit


Thursday 24th August, 11 a.m.                    

Eccles Library, Salford

Thursday 24th August, 2 p.m.     
Swinton Library, Salford


If one of those libraries is local to you, it’d be good to see you.

Three places that inspired my new book, Dark Arena

Dark Arena is a story about a boy and a girl who set themselves the task of working out why the building of a new football stadium in London is being dogged by problems and tragic accidents. 

I was reading about Spurs’ new stadium, which is being built in north London. Looking at the construction images made me think the building site looked just like an archaeological dig at an ancient Roman stadium. An amphitheatre.

That was when I had the thought: What if I could blend the two? What if I wrote a story about how the excavations for the foundations of a twenty-first century football stadium unearth a first- or second-century amphitheatre? Here, in London.

I needed to visit the Roman amphitheatre beneath the Guildhall in London. We can only view part of the amphitheatre now, as most of it is underground. But what we can see, the interpretation panels and the book about the site were really useful in helping me plan Dark Arena. What was it for? Who built it? How was it built?

I needed to know so much. I needed to understand better how Roman London worked. So, my next stop was the Museum of London, a fabulous place that traces the history of the city (and the UK) through artefacts found and reconstructions of how life would have been.

I found out that slaves were the most likely people to have done the hard work of building London’s amphitheatre. So that’s where Dark Arena begins. The ghosts of the slaves killed while building the ancient stadium haunt the building of the new stadium in London.

I hope the mix of modern spectator sports with the ancient works as a story that will appeal to children.

You can find out more about Dark Arena here.

Feel free to email me to ask questions, in particular about school workshops I am developing for schools about Roman Britain.