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

10 free resources for schools to use to mark the D-Day 75th this summer term

On 6th June this year countries across the world will be commemorating the 75th anniversary of D-Day, one of the most significant days in the history of Europe and the world, which marked the beginning of the end for Adolf Hitler and his Nazi regime.

My new book – D-Day Dog – is about a boy who goes on a school trip to Normandy to find out about D-Day and to challenge his own ideas about war. It is also about the rights and wrong about using animals in war and is based around the true story of a dog that parachuted into the conflict on 6th June 1944.

I have created a range of resources that teachers can use in schools to work with – or without – the book to help children understand this enormously significant date. You can find them all at

“An amazing exploration of war, both past and present, which answers difficult questions about why soldiers choose to fight and die. Stories from World War 2, the Falklands and the current conflict in Syria are woven together in this sensitive little book.Aidan Severs, That Boy Can Teach

I have made four short videos set at key D-Day sites in Normandy that are also settings in the book. Making the films at Omaha Beach, a statue of Dwight Eisenhower, Ranville Cemetery and in the open countryside of Normandy where many paratroopers dropped in ahead of the beach landings. Coming by 26 April.

Free posters and bookmarks that I can post out to schools for free – or that you can download.

I’ve written a guide to local and national activities that are going on to mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day during the first few days of June. It is being hosted by the excellent, also known as @MrEPrimary. Coming soon.

An activity for the D-Day 75th anniversary this June 6th. I have chosen some pages from D-Day Dog that you can download and print for free, then invite the children to create their own D-Day blackout poetry. Includes instructions for teachers, examples and a signed certificate for any children who complete the challenge.

While visiting schools I will be using a PowerPoint I have made to talk about D-Day, how animals are used in war and what inspires me to write books like this. You can download it for free here, whether I am coming into your school or not. Coming soon.

I am doing some public events during the spring/summer where I would love to meet readers, dog-lovers and history fans. In Halifax, London, Shrewsbury, Holmfirth, Edinburgh so far, but there may be more. Check out the Meet Me page on my website for full details.

I’ve made some book cover predictions sheets for the classroom, where children can work out what they think might happen in the book based on Tom Clohsey Cole’s brilliant jacket design for D-Day Dog.

Check out the D-Day Dog webpage for ideas about the rights and wrongs of using animals in war. The book features a boy whose love of war is challenged when he finds out that dogs were used and killed during the Second World War and other wars.

Download a document that includes ten questions to help children talk and think about war. Is it ever right to wage war? Should animals be used in war? This is aimed at Y5 to Y8 and should be used with teachers’ discretion.

Use D-Day Dog as a class read during the 75th anniversary commemorations in early June. It’s a short novel at 20,000 words, suitable for Y5 to Y8. The anniversary coverage on TV should tie in well with the storyline about children trying to get their heads round such a significant historical event.

Thanks for reading. All the resources above are available free from Those not published yet will be up by end of April. Please feel free to share them among your colleagues and networks.

Many thanks.

Fairtrade Fiction

The first two weeks of this half-term it is Fairtrade Fortnight: a great opportunity to get children thinking about where they spend their money and the difference that choice can make other people’s lives.

In 2009 I wrote a book about a boy called Kofi, who – as well as being a gifted footballer – was the son of cocoa bean farmers in Ghana.

The book is called Off Side.

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.

I was very lucky, when in Ghana researching my novel, that Divine took me to meet some farmers and to a school paid for by our buying Fairtrade Chocolate. I have seen the results of the decision we can make to buy Fair Trade chocolate: children being well-schooled, learning to run their own businesses and families living in decent accommodation.

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 Fair Trade products. It is free to download.
There is more information about my book, Off Side, which also looks at people trafficking, particularly the exploitation of young footballers from Africa.
Foul Play
And, if you would like to download the first chapter of the book for free, it is available here.
Fair Trade fortnight runs from 25th February to 10th March 2019.

Christmas Book Giving 2018

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. I would like to do the same for Christmas 2018.

My family’s 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. 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 Friday 30th November 2018:

  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 2018.


Thank you very much.


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10 ways schools can mark the Armistice Centenary this autumn

This coming November 11th will mark the centenary of the end of the First World War.

The Armistice.

There are several projects and events taking place nationwide and locally. Tom Palmer – whose new book Armistice Runner is set during the last days of the so-called Great War – has chosen ten that might work for you and your school.

Find out about Danny Boyle’s Pages of the Sea commission to mark the Armistice:

Watch Peter Jackson’s film about the Armistice, created and freely available for schools to use this autumn. Aimed at 11 to 14 year olds.

Visit a local war memorial with the children. Find a local historian via your library who may be able to give a short talk at the war memorial.

Search to hear interviews with men and women about their experience of the last days of the First World War.

Discover if you have one of the thought-provoking statues near your school.

Attend an Armistice Centenary in your local town or village. Many are listed here:

Look at the free resources for schools at

Go to your local archive or library to find out about First World War soldiers from your city.

Use Tom Palmer’s Armistice Runner – and his free literacy resources – as a class read this autumn.

Ring bells on 11th November, joining millions of others worldwide as they mark one hundred years since the First World War ended.

I hope these ideas are useful. There are many more projects happening locally and nationally, so keep an eye out for more.

10 Free School Resources for the Armistice Centenary

Tom Palmer’s new book – Armistice Runner – is about a modern day runner who finds out from her grandmother, who is suffering from dementia, that her great-great-grandad was a trench runner during the last few days of the First World War.

Tom has created a range of resources for schools to use to help children understand the significance of this November’s centenary of the end of the First World War.

All the resources are free.


One. Videos of Tom talking about the Armistice centenary in significant First World War settings in France.

Two. Poster packs and signed Armistice Runner bookmarks for all your pupils, delivered to your school for free. Please email me via this website.

Three. ‘Be a Trench Runner’ game for the school hall, where children are challenged to memorise information and run, to imagine what it was like to be a trench runner.

Four. List of ten national and local opportunities that schools in the UK can take to mark the Armistice centenary this November. 

Five. A short non-fiction text explaining the Armistice in its First World War context. With a quiz based on the text.

Six. SPAG and comprehension worksheets based around the Armistice centenary.

Seven. Read Tom’s Books for Topics article about ten things to read about the Armistice this autumn. 

Eight. A look at how Armistice Runner developed from ideas in Tom Palmer’s notebook to the finished book. How a book is researched, planned, written, edited and published. 

Nine. News about public events where your pupils can meet Tom and hear about Armistice Runner this autumn.

Ten. Reviews of Armistice Runner from:

Book for Topics

That Boy Can Teach

Good Reads



You can find all the resources above at Some of the resources are not quite ready, but will be up there by the beginning of September. Feel free to contact Tom via this website if you need more information.


Advice on developing school resources around the Armistice centenary

I’d like to ask for some advice from teachers, please. My plan is to use that advice to help me develop some resources that will work for schools this autumn. Thank you in advance.

This September I have a book out called Armistice Runner. It is aimed at children aged 8 to 13.

It’s about a modern-day girl called Lily who is a cross country runner. Through reading his diaries, she finds out that her great- great-granddad was a champion cross country/fell runner in 1918 and that he went on to become a trench runner in the last days of the First World War, performing a dangerous mission during the last minutes of the conflict right up to 11 a.m.

The Armistice is a central theme of the book. It is published on 6th September, ten weeks before the centenary this November.

I am already working on materials that schools can use as they mark the centenary of the Armistice. There are videos of me talking from key Armistice sites in France already up. You can see them here:

I will be creating more resources that I hope will be useful in schools, based on some of the materials you can see on my Over the Line webpage: There you will find posters, stories, scripts, discussion questions and quizzes.

But is this what schools want?

I’d be very interested to hear what schools would like to help them work on the Armistice with their students. Your own ideas, but also things you have used in the past, particularly that are based around a novel to help children get their heads round a moment in history. I’ll be spending a lot of time working resources up over the summer, so your advice would be useful.

All the resources I create will be free to all schools – and anyone else – by the way.

One idea I have is that, if a schools uses Armistice Runner as a class read around the autumn, then I could offer a free half-hour Skype to that school.

What do you think?

Please email me any thoughts at And please, also, pass this on to any colleagues you know who might be able to help.

Many thanks.


During the World Cup I’ll be tweeting and blogging about ways that you can use the tournament to try to encourage children to want to read and write for pleasure. I’ve already created stories, resources and competitions that might work for you in schools, libraries and at home.

Please follow the #WorldCupReading hashtag and let me know what you’re up to, so that I can on to others too.

1  A free daily adventure story set in Russia, written as the events of the tournament play out. Available weekdays during the tournament from the National Literacy Trust website.

Writing Competition. Visit the Kickaround magazine’s website to enter a World Cup writing competition, with some tips from me.

3  A five-minute video from my YouTube channel – titled HOW TO BECOME A WORLD CUP EXPERT –  where I talk direct to children about how reading about the World Cup can up their game. [nearly ready]

4  Ten free World Cup writing exercises for the classroom:

SPAG worksheets based around my book Dead Ball, which is set during a major football tournament in Moscow.

Ideas from other schools and libraries about great World Cup reading displays, hosted on Pinterest:

7  A letter that your school can send home to parents, suggesting ideas about how they can support their child’s literacy through the World Cup:

8  I’ll be touring my World Cup Reading Game to 35 schools, libraries and book festivals during the tournament. Most of my events are in schools, but some for the public. You can find out when and where here:

Toolkit of many more ideas about how to use the World Cup to inspire reading in the classroom, school hall, playground and beyond.

10  Follow the #WorldCupReading hashtag where I’ll be blogging, writing and tweeting highlighting what other people are up to.

For more information about the above – and for even more resources – please visit  And please pass this on to anyone you think would like to read it.

Enjoy the World Cup.

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Top Ten books with World Cup Potential

Read the full blog here