All posts by tompalmer

British children's author of fiction featuring sport & history. Dad. Husband. Fell runner. LUFC. Roy of the Rovers. D-Day Dog coming May 2019. 🐶 @tompalmerauthor

Welcome back!

I hope you, your pupils, colleagues and family are all well and that the partial transitions from lockdown back to school  are going ok for you all.

I’ve had a few requests for welcome back messages to share with  classroom bubbles and or something to add to an author wall.

So I’ve drafted a brief message here which may be of help in your classroom.   You can download it here .

I am also available for virtual visits more here.

And there are more posters to download here.

Or email me here if you need something more specific to support your school or fill in my contact form below with your school name and address for free poster pack with signed personalised materials.

Please be patient.  Our replies are not automated so you will get a personal reply.


PRIVACY & COOKIES POLICY                            TERMS & CONDITIONS



Ten literacy activities for children not able to get into school

The football is about to kick off again. For many children who won’t be able to get into school until September, this sudden summer of football action could be a great way to keep them reading and writing.

These ten activities offer a variety of ways to engage children with reading and writing for fun and keep them literacy fit for autumn 2020.

ONE Roy and Rocky of the Rovers Writing Kit. A set of eight activities designed to engage football fans with different aspects of writing using passion for the game as a way in.

TWO Listen to the seven-part story, The Mystery of the Stolen FA Cup Medal – read by a proper actor – and do the activities designed by the British Council.

THREE Learn to draw football star – Rocky Race – with the help of Roy of the Rovers illustrator, Lisa Henke:

FOUR Read about how football and other things in Tom Palmer’s life directly inspired the storylines in his books. And how being into football made him a reader in the first place:

FIVE Read Call of Duty,  a short story about a modern footballers volunteering for war. Linked to his First World War football novel, Over the Line.

SIX Encourage a young reader to read one of Tom’s series and receive a personalised signed certificate to congratulate them.


SEVEN Read the first chapters of 34 children’s books and read whole stories available only on Tom’s website:

EIGHT Have a go at a range of colouring sheets, many of them based around football books:

NINE Read a novel in sixteen chapters set at the last EUROs in France:

TEN Contact Tom and ask him a question about one of his books. Please do this via a teacher or a parent and ask them to pass on your questions using the contact form below.

We hope that helps. Happy reading and enjoy the football.

Families … stay up to date with what I’m doing – or simply say hello – on social media.
Twitter: @tompalmerauthor

Subscribe to Tom’s newsletter  – you can hear direct from Tom each holiday (3 per year) about new writing, preview chapters and exclusive competitions.  Please get your parent/guardian’s permission.

To sign up, please enter your email address below and click ‘Submit’.

On receipt, we will send you your first confirmation email. Please take a look at our privacy policy and terms and conditions.  In short, we will not share your details with anyone else.  If you wish to opt out at any point, please email with “unsubscribe” in the subject line or click here.   And if you change email addresses don’t forget to let us know!

PRIVACY & COOKIES POLICY                            TERMS & CONDITIONS

Virtual Visits in Lockdown

I had dozens of school author visits lined up for the spring and summer. Most were cancelled or postponed overnight. As had to happen. Three days after school changes were announced, I had a call from a headteacher I work with a lot.

We’re budgeted to pay you to work with us and we’d like to honour that, he said.

Then a couple of days after that I had another call from a school. Both wanted virtual author visits. I was thrilled. And grateful.

I’ve been doing virtual author visits in schools for a while now. One or two a month. Easy going. Normally, I’ll chat to a classroom full of children for half-an-hour. And I love it. It was a fun addition to my main jobs of writing books and visiting schools.

But now – in world suffering Covid-19 – I had to step things up to another level. I had to use more platforms and be more innovative with what I offered.

Here’s a summary of some of the things I’ve been involved with since making that decision:

Dixons Academy, Bradford. I’ve been working with year five on story modelling, showing them – in a series of twenty-minute videos – how I research, plan, start and edit a story based in their area. Children are feeding back to help direct what happens in subsequent films.

Cotmanhay Junior, Derbyshire. The headteacher and I are co-writing a story in ten parts set on the estate where most of the school’s students come from. One ten-minute read is posted weekly as text and as a short film read by one of the school’s teachers. The story is called This Book is For You and is about a boy who hates reading – at the beginning.

Tabuk School, Saudi Arabia. Tabuk set up a school writing competition with me acting as the judge. The children sent their stories to me via their teacher and I created a twenty-minute awards video announcing the winners giving back constructive criticism  on every story in the competition.

Kirkstall Valley Primary School, Leeds. Fifteen reluctant readers – but football fans – have been given signed copies of one of my books. They’ll read the book by a certain dates, then the head teacher and I will host a Zoom reading group with the children. The children will keep their book.

That’s four direct author-to-school models I’ve been involved with so far.

I’ve also done two Facebook Live sessions open to the public, but joined in by several schools. One on football stories, the other on the Second World War in fiction.

I’ve also written:

A five-part story commemorating the Battle of Britain 80th anniversary with the RAF Museums where I am Children’s Author in Residence. With reading comprehensions for each chapter.

An eight-part Roy of the Rovers How to Write about Football toolkit

And a teacher training/reading group on Zoom.

The above are just some examples of what I can do. But I’d be very happy to work with schools on bespoke ideas for all, or some, of your pupils.

And I know there are many many other authors out there who would like to work with schools in whatever way would work for you.

If you want some ready-to-go resources there are loads of free activities on my website relating to reading and writing sport and history. You can find them here:

My virtual visits page is here: Feel free to get in touch to ask more questions.

Thank you for reading.

VE day 75th anniversary

The commemorations of VE Day’s 75th anniversary from 8 to 10 May have been rightfully postponed because of the Covid pandemic.

There will be no street parties but there are still lots of ways to mark the occasion at home and in the classroom.

And the good news is that this very important anniversary will – all being well – be revisited on 15th and 16th August, when organisers hope to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day and VJ Day together. You can follow their plans here:

My forthcoming book – After the War – features scenes set on VE Day, 8th May 1945. In England where communities celebrate the defeat of the Nazis and in Czechoslovakia where Jewish children are liberated from camps and ghettos by the Russians.

The publication of After the War has been postponed too. But I had already created some online VE Day resources that – even though the book is not available yet – families and schools can use.

A book cover prediction sheet. Look at the cover of After the War and answer questions about what you think the story might be about.


VE Day paper dolls. Work as a family to decorate paper dolls of the children of VE Day. Then put it up as bunting to help mark the 75th anniversary of their liberation.

VE Day comprehension. Read the section of the book where the children talk about their very different experiences of VE Day, then answer some questions.

VE Day Black Out poetry. Create your own black out poetry using a VE Day scene from After the War.


You can find all the resources above and read more about After the War and the research I did to find out about what happened to children in England and on the continent on and after VE Day by visiting

Check out our gallery of school responses to After the War here


You can pre-order the book at your local independent – or other – bookshop too. The independent bookselling hub – – is great for this.

Thanks for reading.


Free Roy of the Rovers book and online chat

On Thursday 23rd April (from 10 a.m. to midday) I will be hosting a chat on Facebook Live on here to talk about my first Roy of the Rovers book, Scouted.

You can download Scouted for free here from now until the day of the chat. There’s a free Roy of the Rovers comic book on there too.

We’ve made the book free so that children and adults can enjoy a Roy of the Rovers story now that most of you are not able to get into school. I thought it would be fun to have a morning answering questions and finding out what people think of the book.

I hope you can join us at on Thursday 23rd April (from 10 a.m. to midday)  on here.




For the past few years I have asked teachers, librarians and other adults to nominate children they think would benefit from the gift of a book for Christmas. My family and I would like to do the same for Christmas 2019.

Our idea is to work with teachers and librarians – who already do so much to engage children with the joys of reading and books – and give books to children who do not have any books at home; to children who need that one special book that could help engage them with a lifetime of reading for pleasure; or, to children who have had a difficult year at school or home and a book would be a boost for them.

Each book will be personally dedicated, signed, gift-wrapped and will come with a Christmas card from me. Those nominating can choose from any of my books for children.

If you’d like to nominate a child, please email the following information to by Saturday 30th November 2019:

  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 the books listed at
  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. I have set an upper limit of 50. But I do intend to send a personal Christmas card to each nominee and a poster pack for each school. My family and I will choose the recipients and have the books dispatched in the first week of December 2019.

Read Rugby – World cup 2019

The 2019 men’s Rugby Union World Cup is taking place – in Japan – this autumn.

If you are a sport-loving family, now is a good time to try to engage your children with reading for pleasure – through sport. Fiction. Non-fiction. Websites. Newspapers. Magazines. Whatever you choose, the Rugby World Cup can help. 

I am a children’s author who came to love reading through sport.
I now write sport fiction for a living. These are my ten top tips to encourage your sports mad children to read for pleasure.

1 Set the home page on your computer to a decent rugby website like or

2 Get your children on form for the year with one of the guides to playing the game. Know the Game: Rugby Union is a great book to start with. Ask if your local library stocks it.

3 Deliver a newspaper’s rugby supplement to your child’s room on Saturday or Sunday morning to get them used to reading previews, match reports and other articles.

4 Buy them a copy of one of the popular rugby magazines, Rugby World or The Rugby Paper.

5 Read together a child-friendly player-autobiography full of statistics, pictures and childhood stories. Check first that the content is appropriate for kids. A popular one is by Jonny Wilkinson.

6 Play one of the fantasy World Cup games running in newspapers, requiring a close eye on who is injured and who has been dropped from teams. Another reason to read the rugby pages.

7 Discover superb fiction in libraries and bookshops : Rugby Zombie by Dan Anthony, Rugby Spirit by Gerard Siggins Pride & Penalties by Chris Higgins and my Rugby Academy series.

8 Leave rugby newspaper articles and match reports in regular places like on the fridge door.

9 Check out the RFU’s free literacy resources at Check out the other home nations’ websites too:, and

10 Try reading more yourself. You’ll enjoy it and your children will want to join in too