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

Autumn E-Newsletter 2020

This is a screenshot of my autumn term e-newsletter.  For the full version with all working links please sign up for my e-newsletter (which comes out just 3 times a year) here.

This terms news is all about my new resources and my new children’s book “After the War : from Auschwitz to Ambleside.”  Read Chapter 1 NOW.  

“The best children’s fiction book I’ve yet read about the Holocaust. After The War manages to be vividly engaging both as history education and as a human story – eye-opening, exciting, hugely touching. Beautifully structured and written it may be aimed at 9-14 year-olds, but no-one should miss it” CEO Anne Frank Trust UK

And I’ve been working on a range of FREE resources that schools and families can access virtually. I hope you find some of them useful.

With very best wishes


Tom Palmer is the author of 50 KS2 and KS3 books for children including three Puffin series. Foul Play was shortlisted for the 2009 Blue Peter Book Award. Armistice Runner has recently won 6 prizes including the national FCBG Children’s Book Award 2019 and was nominated for THE CILIP CARNEGIE MEDAL and 16 other UK prizes. D-Day Dog about the D-Day paratrooper Emile Corteil and his dog Glen, has been listed for 13 UK prizes and has won the Portsmouth Year 5 Book of the Year Award, the James Reckitt Hull Children’s Book Award and the Warwickshire Junior Book of the Year Award.

Tom is the recipient of the 2019 Ruth Rendell Award for Services to Literacy by the National Literacy Trust.

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

Email me here for more information or use my contact form here.

Thank youTom Palmer author

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2019 Christmas book giving

For the past few years I have asked teachers and librarians 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 2020.

Our idea is to work with teachers and librarians to help us gift 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. Sadly, there will many such children this year.

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.

The Christmas card will have this year’s illustration by the wonderful James Innerdale.

If you’d like to nominate a child, please email the following information to by Friday 27th November 2020:

  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, we cannot promise to send a book to every child nominated. I have set an upper limit of 50. But I will 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 to schools in the first week of December 2020.

(For more information about special offer schools book packs, FREE signed bookplates and signed books to purchase as gifts see here. )


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Remembrance Day 2020

This year’s Remembrance Sunday will be marked on 8th November, with Remembrance Day following on Wednesday 11th November.

To help schools mark the occasion and link it to developing literacy in the classroom, I am offering a range of FREE resources for schools to use throughout the week, based around my books Over the LineD-Day DogArmistice Runner and the Wings RAF series.

There will be a pre-recorded twenty-minute assembly aimed at KS2 and KS3 for use in the hall or for schools to stream throughout classrooms, where I will talk about the real  First and Second World War soldiers, airmen and women and sailors that have inspired the characters in my books. Available from Friday 6th November on my YouTube channel:  with a link to be posted here.

There will be also be a live online FACEBOOK Q&A session on the afternoon of 11th November 1.30-2.30 p.m. from here : can submit questions for me to answer by emailing up until 10th  November or on the day.

All my other FREE WW1 and WW2 literacy resources are available from here:
or here:
and they include :

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • And much much more.

You can find our more about each of my books here:
Over the Line 
Armistice Runner
Wings Series
D-Day Dog
as well as more about what I am currently writing about the Arctic Convoys here.

Rosemary Hill Books is offering a special rate for  schools to  purchase multiples of these books:

  • 15 copies £83 (20%+)
  • 30 copies at £157 (25%+)
  • 100 copies at £489 (35%+)

You can contact Rosemary direct at

For additional information and for reminder emails with links to the free online events please contact

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Reading Leeds United

I wish my mum was alive to see this.

Monday will be my first day as Leeds United Children’s Writer in Residence. I’ve been taken on by the Premier League club to work with their education department and Leeds schools to promote reading for pleasure through football.

I write books and promote literacy because of my mum, but, as a kid, I struggled with reading. My mum, who was a teacher, used the only thing I was properly interested in to engage me with reading.

Leeds United.

She had me reading matchday programmes in the South Stand, the Yorkshire Evening Post every day and magazines like Shoot and Match each week.

VLUU L100, M100 / Samsung L100, M100

Sadly, she died when I was in my early twenties. But she left a great legacy. I am a reader because of her. I am a writer because of her. I am Leeds United Children’s Writer in Residence because of her.

So, when I got the call from Mat at Leeds United Education to tell me the name of the first school that we’re going into I didn’t see it coming.

‘Where shall I meet you?’ I asked him.

‘Seacroft Grange Primary School,’ he told me.

I went quiet.

‘Is that okay?’ Mat asked.

‘Yeah,’ I said. ‘That’s where my mum was a teacher.’

How Cumbria helped me write After the War

When I was researching my new book – After the War – I went to Kendal Library to read the Westmorland Gazette microfilms for 1945. It was there that I read about a group of Jewish children who were arriving from Europe to stay at the Calgarth Estate on Windermere.

This was part of my research into a story that many Cumbrians know very well. The Windermere Boys.

On 14th August 1945 ten stripped-out Stirling Bombers touched down at Crosby-on-Eden airfield. Thirty children emerged from each plane. They were given something to eat and drink, then driven – in buses and army trucks – to the shores of Windermere. To the Calgarth Estate where, during the war, the workers at the White Cross Bay flying boat factory had lived.

But the war was won and most of the workers had gone, although a community continued to live on the estate until the late 1950s.

The 300 children were Jewish refugees. Aged from infants to teenagers, mostly orphaned, they had come directly from the concentration camps of central Europe to Cumbria.

View image on Twitter

It was dark when they arrived, so they had little idea of this place that they had come to: Windermere.

What they saw in the morning astonished them. They have said since it was like coming from hell to heaven. Some refer to it as Wondermere.

You might have seen the BBC film – The Windermere Children – earlier this year.

Before the film was released, I heard the story on Radio 4’s Open Country and was immediately struck by how the Boys enthused about their relationship with the local people. That was something that the film – with so much to cover in only 90 minutes – didn’t explore.

But I was keen to explore it. For three reasons.

One. The director of the Lake District Holocaust Project, Trevor Avery, told me how the families of Calgarth welcomed the children. The book would not have been possible without his support and the work he has done at the Windermere Library exhibition, From Auschwitz to Ambleside.

Two. The Boys talking about the welcome they had on Open Country and on the audio files you can listen to on the Lake District Holocaust Project website (

Three. When I visited the exhibition at Windermere Library, I met Joyce and her niece, Marion. We got talking. Their openness and friendliness reminded me of how some of the Boys talked about their welcome from locals.

I have written a book about the Windermere Boys. For children. It is called After the War. It is a story that must be told again and again and through different media; and a story that Cumbria must be very proud of. First for taking the children in in 1945. Second, for devoting a whole floor of a library to ensure this story reaches future generations.

The children had suffered ghettos, concentration camps, death marches and seen family members murdered. But they were given refuge at Windermere. Lessons in English. Exercise to rebuild their strength. And they were fed as well as they could be in rationing Britain.

There is a story about how the locals gathered hundreds of tomatoes to give the children each a bowl of tomato soup one evening. That story is in the book. As are many examples of Cumbrian compassion.

Research in a book like this is vital. Talking to people who were there when the events happened. And reading the Westmorland Gazette was just as vital. I had this idea for a scene where one of the Boys would teach himself English by reading the local newspaper. A headline stuck with me and I had my character read it out to his friends:



It was exciting to be reading the exact issue of the newspaper that no doubt some of Boys would have read.

Over several months, I visited the settings of the story. The Lakes School is on the site of Calgarth now. The school kindly allowed me to watch one of the Boys – Arek Hersh – speaking with the students.

But it was another school in the area where I realised I was writing something important for the children of Cumbria and beyond.

I have a good relationship with Grasmere Primary School. They helped me when I published Armistice Runner, a story of fell running, set in Cumbria in 1918 and 2018, featuring a character based loosely on Skelwith Bridge fell runner, Ernest Dalzell.

The children read After the War before publication and their reaction and advice had a profound impression on me and the book. As did their compassion. The way they took to the story and empathised with the Jewish refugee children who arrived here 75 years ago was one of the most moving part so of writing After the War. If I wrote After the War for anyone, I wrote it for the children of Grasmere Primary School.


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.


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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!

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