All posts by tompalmer

British children's author of fiction featuring sport & history. Dad. Husband. Fell runner. LUFC. Roy of the Rovers. After the War from Auschwitz to Ambleside . @tompalmerauthor

Arctic Star on Tour

To launch the Naval Childrens Charity’s 2022 writing competition, a copy of “Arctic Star” has been on tour.


Pictured on Britain’s biggest warship, HMS Prince of Wales, a Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier is Lt Duckworth RN.


Pictured on HMCS Sackville, a Flower-class corvette that served in the Royal Canadian Navy and Canada’s oldest warship is William Woodburn, Chair of the Canadian Naval Memorial Trust.

Thanks for sharing these photos with us and congratulations to all the entrants and the overall writing competition winners Molly and Maggie.

Find out more about the Naval Childrens Charity here

Find out more about HMCS Sackville here.




Women’s Euros in Fiction

I’m delighted to announce that I will be writing a new FREE 10 part read aloud story with the National Literacy Trust during the 2022 Women’s Euros.

It will feature characters from my Roy & Rocky of the Rovers books: Rocky, and her brother, Roy.

‘Live’ chapters will be written by me and released a chapter at a time during the tournament.

Chapters will be released online online every weekday from the 4-15 July 2022.

More from the National Literacy Trust here.

If you’d like to know more about what we’re planning for the Women’s Euros please sign up here for a reminder:


The next book in the Roy of the Rovers series, “Game Changer” is  out 23 June 2022.

The newly formed Melchester Women’s team are going from strength to strength in their first full season of professional football, lead by the tenacious Rocky Race. Can she maintain her match-winning performances? And just where does her footballing future lie?

Pre-order a signed and dedicated copy of Game Changer from my local independent children’s bookshop “The Thoughtful Spot”  here.

More Rocky Resources

Colouring.  Sharp-shooter Rocky is testing her brother Roy’s goal-keeping skills. Can you add a crowd or maybe some more players and colour them all in here?


Learn to draw Rocky with Lisa Henke here.

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.  Free download from here.

Thank you

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Refugee Week in Fiction

Refugee Week 20-26 JUNE 2022

Refugee Week is a UK-wide festival celebrating the contributions, creativity and resilience of refugees and people seeking sanctuary.

I will be writing a new FREE 5 part read aloud story with the National Literacy Trust to mark Refugee Week 2022.  If you would like a reminder of when it and other 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.

Tom on “Why I featured refugee child characters in recent books…”

“Several of my latest published books have featured child refugees who have made it to the UK to be taken in by families and communities.

I did this because I have visited many schools and communities that have children who are refugees from Syria (and other troubled places in the world) and met them and heard their stories.

That – and reading books and articles about the war – 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.

D-Day Dog (Barrington Stoke)  I wanted to think about how today’s refugees are part of our history, part of our future and that is why it is so good to welcome them to the UK.



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) 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 brutal 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. The refugees I describe could well have been some of your Iron Age ancestors, people who might have been part of Boudica’s Iceni tribe after she was killed fighting them. I wanted to think about how there are refugees now just as there always have been. People have always had to flee. Then and now.”

More resources :

Them” – is a FREE 5 part read aloud story set in 1945, from the point of view of the children in the Lake District community who received 300 child refugees from the Nazi concentration camps after the end of the Second World War.  This was written for Holocaust Memorial Day 2022 for the National Literacy Trust but can be used all year round.

  • Read “Them” here
  • A powerpoint introducing “Them” here
  • 5 short films and worksheets to support “Them” story and inspire pupils to write their own responses here
  • A teacher guide with ideas and sources to support your delivery of “Them” and children’s writing here
  • 5 short films of Tom reading out loud “Them” available from here

“The Question” is a FREE 5 part read aloud story set today, from the point of view of pupils meeting a Holocaust survivor at their school and asking them about their refugee experience.  This was written for Holocaust Memorial Day 2021 but can be used all year round for the National Literacy Trust but can be used all year round.

  •  Read “The Question” here for you to read aloud / stream / share or as a series of 5 films of Tom reading the story for you to use however suits your school here ).

You can also find out more about the Windermere children’s story in my children’s book “After the War from Auschwitz to Ambleside” here.

More resources from Holocaust Memorial Day 2021 here.

More resources from Holocaust Memorial Day 2022 here.

Thank you


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World Book Day 2022

To help you celebrate World Book Day, Thursday 3 March 2022, I’ve recorded a free virtual film for assembly/class for schools to show on the day.  Filmed from Anne Frank’s Haus, Amsterdam, I’ll be sharing why her diary is one of my all-time favourite books.

Watch below or in YouTube…

More World Book Day dress up ideas and free resources here.


Buy Books

Signed and dedicated copies available from my local independent bookshop, Book Corner Halifax here

Schools bumper book pack and class set offers here.

Visit my Amazon bookshop  or support your local bookshop HIVE

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

Canada: Amazon Canada
New Zealand: Wheelers       

USA :  Indigo books

Email me here for more information or use my contact form here to ask me a question.

Thank you.


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Fairtrade Fortnight 2022 : fiction

21 February to 6 March 2022

Fairtrade Fortnight is a great opportunity to get children thinking about where they spend their money and the difference that choice can make other people’s lives.


For Fairtrade Fortnight 2023 plans please sign up on the contact form here.

Playing football with Akomaden pupils

The hero of my children’s book Offside, is a boy called Kofi, who – as well as being a gifted footballer – is the son of cocoa bean farmers in Ghana.



At the beginning of the Off Side, Kofi’s family were being cheated and not paid a fair amount for their beans.

By the end they had become part of the Kuapa Kokoo co-operative which supplies chocolate manufacturers Divine.


Visiting Akomaden school

I was very lucky, when in Ghana researching my novel Offside, that Divine took me to meet some farmers and to Akomaden School which is directly paid for by our buying Fairtrade Chocolate.


I have seen how the choice we make to buy Fairtrade chocolate improves lives: children being well-schooled, families learning to run their own businesses and  improved homes and healthcare.



Fairtrade Fortnight Resources

Thanks to the lovely folk at Divine Chocolate, you can WIN 6 months supply of Divine Chocolate and a signed copy of Offside on my twitter page  @tompalmerauthor.  Simply RT the pinned post and follow @divinechocolate before 6 March 2022 to enter.


Free Fairtrade schools’ pack
When I came home I worked with Divine Chocolate to produce a schools’ pack that should encourage children to think about the impact of buying Fairtrade products.
It is free to download here.
Read Chapter One here.  
Find out more about  Off Side here

Virtual Fairtrade visits
My KS2 reading group love Off Side by @tompalmerauthor. I found the mix of football politics and issue of fair trade brilliantI offer virtual and in-person school visits to talk about fair trade, reading, writing and football, linked to my book – Off Side – about a sixteen year old son of a cocoa farmer who is trafficked from Ghana to England, thinking he is going to be a famous footballer.  Having seen at first hand the difference it makes, I try to choose Fair Trade where I can.
Find out more about my Fairtrade visits here .

Poster packs

If you would like a special Fairtrade signed poster pack  please fill in the order form below:


Football Trafficking

Bismark Boateng
Bismark Boateng

Off Side also looks at people trafficking, particularly the exploitation of young footballers from Africa.

Bismark Boateng, the player who I met and based my character Kofi Danquah on, is now on the books of Manchester City and is currently on loan in Finland ! More here.

“Anton Holt” interviews Tom Palmer about writing Offside

Why did you write about an African footballer?

Research trip to GhanaI’d read a lot about how young players from Ghana and the Ivory Coast get cheated when they come to play in France and Belgium. I wondered what would happen if the same thing went on in the UK.

So you went to Ghana?
I did. It was amazing. I saw football games, watched a youth academy team and spent time with Man U’s scout for Africa. It was awesome. I also saw some cocoa farms. Chocolate is a big part of the book.

And does it tie in to the 2010 World Cup, in Africa for the first time?It does. I wanted to celebrate that too. It is great that Africa has the tournament at last. The continent’s teams have been wonderful to watch over the last few years. Cameroon. Senegal. And I think, in 2010, Ghana will be good to watch.

What age is it suitable for?  Off Side is perfect for Y5.  The Foul Play books are all 9+.

Real Reader Reviews

“This sporting crime thriller is the third in Tom Palmer’s football series.  With a plot involving a foreign buy-out of City FC and a corrupt agent, this is a cracking read for lads who love their football. “Sunday Express

“Danny and his friends Paul and Charlotte live in an unnamed British City and are all enthusiastic followers of their football club, City F.C. Kofi grows up thousands of miles away in the Ghanaian city of Kumasi. When Kofi, a promising footballer, is brought to City F.C. under false pretences by a cheating football agent, the lives of the four youngsters intertwine. Will Danny, Paul and Charlotte be able to save their much-loved football club from a hostile takeover? And will Kofi be accepted by City F.C. and manage to fulfil the burning hopes his family have for him? This is more than just a fast-paced novel about football. It is a novel which touches on many important subjects – injustice and poverty, friendship and dreams, relationships between different countries, corporate business and people power. This novel is so good all children should read it, not just young football fans!”Sebastian Westwood, Redhouse Book kids reviewer

“I was asked to review this by Sarah at book rabbit ,she knows i love football so said yes have also been looking for a young adult to read and this was perfect i sat and read it in a few hours ,what tom has done is wonderfully summed up major concerns in world football for kids with out talking down to them ,this book should be given to any young boy that likes football but not reading it is vibrant and gives people a view in to the darker side of football .there is also the undercurrent of fairtrade to get kids think about where things come from .a lovely book this is out this month from puffin .” 

“Full of drama, this is a fast moving crime thriller of football, corruption and clever detective work. Danny Harte is a passionate City FC football fan. He is also a very keen detective. With rumours flying around that City FC is up for sale, Danny sets about trying to find out what is going on. His sleuthing leads him to find Kofi, a young player from Ghana who has been duped by a crooked agent. Helped by a local journalist, Danny sets about setting things right but, in doing so, he finds himself in the greatest danger!” Julia Eccleshare

“This is the third book in the Off Side series by Tom Palmer, who knows just what’s needed to get children, especially boys, reading. A combination of footballer’s passion, detective work and the game itself make this a winner. ”

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.

Schools bumper book pack and class set offers here.

Visit my Amazon bookshop  or support your local bookshop HIVE

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

Canada: Amazon Canada
New Zealand: Wheelers       

USA :  Indigo books

Email me here for more information or use my contact form here to ask me a question.

Thank you.

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Christmas in fiction : Arctic Star

Use these resources this Christmas time based on Chapter 19 of Arctic Star.   

Find out how the young Royal Navy sailors celebrate Christmas Day 1943 aboard HMS Belfast in the Arctic Circle with dinner, carols and listening to the King’s Speech.


Christmas Resources:

Read chapter 19, Christmas Day on the Arctic Ocean, 1943 as a pdf here to share with the young people you work with or use the flip book below :


Please wait while flipbook is loading. For more related info, FAQs and issues please refer to DearFlip WordPress Flipbook Plugin Help documentation.

Christmas Blackout Poem Challenge here

Includes a how to guide, suggested extracts featuring the King’s speech on Christmas Day,  examples and a signed certificate.



Film of Tom reading Chapter 19 on board HMS Belfast this Christmas

Book Trailer


For more Arctic Star resources and to find about how Tom researched and wrote it click here 

Signed and dedicated copies are  available to order from my local bookshop here. 

Buy the Book : WHSmith , Amazon or support local bookshops through  Available worldwide free delivery from Book Depository



Email me here for more information or use my contact form here to ask me a question.

Thank you.


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Cop 26 in fiction : White Fear

My children’s book White Fear tackles environmental fiction and activism through fiction.

Lily, Lesh, Hatty, Adnan and Kester are the Squad.  They 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.  An unknown criminal is trying to hijack a world conference about the precious and much fought-over fuels that lie below the arctic ice.   To prevent an international war breaking out, Lily, Lesh, Hatty, Adnan and Kester go undercover to find out who it is and stop them.

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 . . .

Read the first chapter for free here.

Learn more about reading and writing The Squad with Literacy Resources here.

Watch the fantastic Squad : White Fear book film trailer, made by Cameron McTeare here.

Available from your local library, bookshops and Amazon and Kindle.

Published by Puffin Books.

Themes in White Fear – 1 Protecting the Environment

international declaration on the future of the arcticI am proud to be a signatory to the International Declaration on the Future of the Arctic.

White Fear was inspired by reports I read in newspapers about how quickly the Arctic ice is melting – and the numerous predicted catastrophes :


  •     the seas will rise

    Source:International Boundaries Research Unit, Durham University
  •     rare wildlife will die out
  •     communities that live in the Arctic will lose their way of life
  •     without the ice in place, the seabed is accessible and some countries will begin to drill for oil, gas and other valuable resources – AND that they will start to jostle for who owns which part of the sea bed.


Polar bear caught reading White Fear

White Fear draws mostly on the last two threats.

It is set at a fictional conference of the Arctic Powers (Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and USA) in Tromso, Norway. These countries are trying, in a last chance to avoid war, to decide who owns which part of the seabed. But evil forces are at large. Forces that profit from war and oil exploitation. Forces that don’t want peace.

The only way to avert war is for The Squad – five British child spies – to infiltrate the conference and stop the evil-doers. It involves mountain-top anxiety, abseiling, chases on ocean liners and even a submarine.

squad logo
The Squad

It also involves an ecological protest group made up of Inuit people – called White Fear – that is trying to make the Arctic Powers see sense and help reverse the ice melt.

Sadly, recent events have re-highlighted the problems the Arctic faces.


The Arctic ice is now at its smallest and thinnest since records began. The melt is accelerating year on year, meaning that some Arctic Powers are already exploring, looking for oil and gas and minerals. Not so long ago the Russians placed a Russian flag on the seabed, appearing to claim it for themselves.

Only very recently Greenpeace has been trying to prevent Russian drilling ships from searching for oil beneath that newly-exposed seabed, facing a very aggressive response from the Russians.

tom on board
On board the Hertigruten

When I researched White Fear, I was on board a Norwegian ship, looking at the waters and land that the Arctic Powers are fighting over.

I hope this book does something to raise awareness in children about something that is vital to the future of our planet.

Daily update on the Arctic ice visit

News from Greenpeace’s Save the Arctic campaign visit

Read my blogs about Climate Change week here and here.

Learn about my research trips here

Check out how I used my research to write Black Op and White Fear on my blog writing about Norway.


Themes in White Fear – 2  a character in a wheelchair

“Children’s fiction has a huge lack of disabled characters, which means many children find they do not have characters that they can relate to in the books they read.” Phoebe Kirk

It was really important to me to make a spy series believable and to stress the extreme risks the members of a child spy team would take.  Sadly, this meant from the outset – in Chapter 1 of Black Op – a character is killed in the field.  And in the sequel, White Fear, a character called Lesh has a terrible fall, but survives to stay on the Squad.  It was really important to me to demonstrate what an important contribution he continues to add to the team as a boy in a wheelchair. My dad spent a long time in a wheelchair, so it is something I’ve spent time thinking about.

Discover other children’s books with characters who have a disability suggested by Scope here  and here  and here .


Real Reader Reviews

‘Hi Tom your book called The Squad White Fear is great I love the way you made Lily like jump off the cliff to get to a cable car, when you made Frank Hawk hunt Kester and Lily it was cool and when Frank tricks them into thinking the detonator that was a scary part of the book. Is Tromso a real place? My name is Scott and… I LOVE YOUR BOOKS! ‘ Scott, Ysgol Esgob Morgan

“Tom Palmer books are usually extremely popular with my pupils at school, and this one will be no exception. It is the second book in the series ‘The Squad’, following the adventures of a group of teenage spies. They manage to stay undercover by being part of an elite youth football team that travel the world playing in matches and tournaments.

The book has sets off at a great pace and wastes little time in getting to the action. It is extremely current, as the group are involved in an adventure based around drilling for oil in the Arctic ocean. The characters of the children are varied enough to be interesting, and the main adult in the story is an archetypal evil genius (of sorts)…

Highly recommended. I have found Tom’s previous books to be a perfect way in to reading for some of my more disengaged pupils, due to the links with sport and simple-to-read, fast paced style of the books. White Fear will continue that trend.” Jonnybid

“What a great book! I am looking forward to White Fear and can’t wait.” Saad Siddiqui

Tell me here what you thought about White Fear.

Buy the books

The Squad 1 : Black Op Amazon
The Squad 2 : White Fear Amazon

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The Barnbow Lasses

Tom has written a FREE new 3 part Classroom Read, set in First World War Leeds. Suitable for years 5-8. Thanks to Leeds SLS.

  • 3 x 15 minute read chapters to read aloud released 8, 9, 10 November
  • 3 x films of Tom reading the story
  • 3 x films about how and why Tom wrote the story
  • Additional support materials for teachers
  • Live Virtual Event-11 November 2021

All free to use and download from my Leeds SLS webpage here