My books are often suggested by teachers and librarians for reluctant readers, particularly boys who like football, for which I am truly grateful. As a reluctant reader myself at this age, those mentions are particularly welcome.
But as a father of a daughter – and as a result of meeting so many diverse pupils in the schools I visit – I always try to ensure my books have strong female characters too. Not only because I want my books to appeal to girls, but because I want boys to read about girls doing sport .
To celebrate the forthcoming Women’s World Cup, this blog highlights all the great girls I’ve enjoyed writing about in my books.
First Football Game joins a girl called Samantha, who is going to her first live football match with her dad. (4+)
Gus the Fantastic Football Cat is the story of Yusra, a Syrian refugee girl, whose cat appears to be able to predict England’s football results correctly. (5+)
Secret FC stars Lily, who leads her friends to create a secret football team after their head teacher bans the game in the playground. (6+)
Typhoon features two sisters, Maddie and Jess, who – whilst attending a football summer school – have to work together to fly the RAF’s Typhoon fighter plane to save a country from disaster. (7+)
Roy of the Rovers is about a boy called Roy. But it is also very much about Ffion and Rocky, his girlfriend and sister, both of whom play for an emerging football team. Their storylines – and team – take an increasingly large part of the Roy of the Rovers story in forthcoming books. (8+)
The Squad is a two-book series about five young spies – two girls and three boys – who cover their secret missions under the guise of being a touring football team. (9+)
Armistice Runner is Lily’s story. She is a committed fell runner, not a footballer, but she’d be good at that too, given the chance. (9+)
It seems fitting to me that I should write this blog now that we are about to enjoy the women’s World Cup and that I am working with the Football Association and the National Literacy Trust not just to promote reading through football, but to encourage people to watch the games and get behind the England team.
You can find out more about Rocky of the Rovers: France 2019 – a story about two girls and a boy who travel to France to watch the Lionesses compete in this summer’s FIFA Women’s World Cup. The story starts on 7th June 2019 but you can read the first chapter here.