Fairtrade Fortnight September 2024

Monday 9 September – Sunday 24 September 2024.

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.  My children’s book “Off Side” is about fairtrade, trafficking and football.


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Fairtrade Fiction : Off Side

Playing football with Akomaden pupils

“Off Side” is about fairtrade, trafficking and football.

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

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 .

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 .” http://winstonsdad.wordpress.com/2010/05/06/off-side-by-tom-palmer/ 

“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 www.lovereading4kids.co.uk/book/5378/Foul-Play-Off-Side-by-Tom-Palmer.html

“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. ” http://www.hearditintheplayground.com/readingzone-reviews-5610/

2023 Fairtrade Activities

Virtual Event with Fairtrade Foundation

Join me on 7 March for a virtual event with the Fairtrade Foundation.

Book here 


Win 6 Months Supply of Divine Chocolate

Follow me on twitter @tompalmerauthor for a chance coming up to win 6 months supply of Fairtrade Divine chocolate, just retweet my post of 26 February by Sunday 5 March 2023.


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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