ISBN 9781842999448

Scrum! is my first children’s rugby novel.

One boy, two codes – how will he decide? When Steven’s mother remarries and moves down south, Steven is torn between loyalty to his dad and a relationship with his mum’s new husband. Maybe even worse, he might have to leave his beloved Rugby League behind for a new Rugby Union team.

“A dyslexia friendly … lively rugby tale” The Daily Telegraph.

Read from the first chapter of Scrum!  here.

Watch me read from Scrum! and ask quiz questions here.

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

Published by Barrington Stoke.

“I thought it was good because it showed you what life might be like if you have to move house and your Mum and Dad separate. I didn’t know much about rugby before but I do now. It was a really good story and I read it twice.” Harry, London

Visit to Hull Collegiate
Visit to Hull Collegiate

Find out more about Rugby Reading Game school visits here.

Learn more about reading and writing with literacy resources inspired by Scrum! here.

“My son has not always loved reading – he has come to the merits of reading quite late – but the combination of reading and rugby has been fantastic here. Rugby has been a passion for 3 years, and he thought this book was perfection. It’s not all scrums and pitch-talk, though, I was impressed when my son revealed the sensitive side of the story. Really good. Would recommend to all rugby-loving boys who need some encouragement to dive into a book rather than a scrum!Katya, Amazon

Rugby Writers and Readers

Scrum! has a foreword from Kenny Logan (who won three English Premierships with London Wasps), who is not only dyslexic but also the patron of Dyslexia Action.

George North

George North, currently in New Zealand with the Welsh World Cup rugby squad says

‘I wish there had been a book like Tom Palmer’s Scrum! when I was growing up. Any book that encourages kids to read, and play grass roots rugby is great by me!’

News & Awards

Ali Hewett’s Blog

Scrum! has been chosen as one of New Zealand School Librarian Ali Hewett’s “100 Great Books Before Lunch”

Scrum! was shortlisted for the 2012 Sheffield Children’s Book Award.

Research & Writing

The George Hotel

Here’s The George Hotel, Huddersfield. Birthplace of Rugby League. I used the hotel as a setting.




Read my blog about writing Scrum! here and here.

Real Readers Reviews of Scrum!


“The book Scrum! was AMAZING, probably the best book I’ve EVER read. ” Samuel Missin

“Reading age 8, interest age 9+. A passion for rugby and a dilemma about it too lies at the heart of this touching story of a boy with a big decision to make. Steven shares his passion for Rugby League with his father who cheers him on from the touch line at every match. Steven’s a good player and the scouts are watching him. But when his moves two hundred miles south to live with his mother and her new partner he has to play Rugby Union and he knows how much his father will hate it! How Steven reconciles his love of the game with the split in his life captures a dilemma sensitively.” Julia Eccleshare

“Would recommend to all rugby-loving boys who need some encouragement to dive into a book rather than a scrum!” Amazon reviewer

“Steve has a lot of hard choices to make – two dads, two homes, two codes of rugby. A talented Rugby League player, will he cope with a change to Rugby Union? He also faces family problems and split loyalties. A grippingly written story that draws the reader into the dilemmas facing Steve. Perfectly written for its target audience, who will gain genuine satisfaction from reading a ‘real’ story.” Parent’s In Touch

“Thought you would enjoy this message from a parent of a ten year old pupil who I teach privately ( Reading Age 6.5 when I first assessed him three months ago!) who loves Rugby. I spent a while talking to him about the book and looked at the blurb on the back etc and asked Jack to explain the difference between League and Union to me ( I know really but ..)Then we read the first two pages together and asked Jack if he would like to take it home, which he jumped at. His Dad collected Jack from his lesson on Friday and said his wife had tears in her eyes when Jack refused to put the book down when it was time for bed! It is the first book Jack has read from start to finish with relish!”Ruth Smith, Dyslexia Specialist Teacher, Jersey Dyslexia Association

Photo: Ann Giles

“Converted our youngest to rugby. And this in a football house. No mean achievement.” Simon Spanton

“I have just got a copy of Scrum! and it looks great. Its my son’s favourite book of the moment” Jane Walker


Tell me here what you thought about Scrum!.

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