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Tom Palmer credits articles about football with getting him into reading as a child. He travels all over the UK for events, performing his immensely popular rugby and football reading games to hundreds of children every week. He is the current Writer-in-Residence for the RAF Museums. Tom is also working with the National Literacy Trust on a very high profile football and reading project during the Euro 2016 football tournament.
Interest Age 8+ Reading Age 8 | May 2021 Book of the Month | It wasn’t until 2013 that the men who served on the Arctic Convoys in the Second World War were properly honoured for their bravery. But anyone reading Tom Palmer’s typically vivid and powerful short novel will understand exactly what they went through, and what kept them going. Arctic Star features three young friends, Royal Navy recruits, and follows them on the perilous journeys they make escorting merchant vessels across the Arctic as they deliver supplies to the Russians. The sea is wild and treacherous, icy cold, and of course, they are hunted through the waters by German battleships, planes and submarines. Palmer packs not just a huge story, but a huge amount of information and atmosphere into this short book, and in Frank, Joseph and Stephen, he creates three young men readers won’t forget in a hurry. The climax of the story is the deadly battle between HMS Belfast and the Scharnhorst, and it will leave readers exhausted, but full of compassion and sympathy for all the men caught up in this terrifying field of war. Historical fiction doesn’t get much better than this.
Tom Palmer’s riveting After the War was sparked by the true story of Jewish Polish, Czech and German children who were sent to safety in the Lake District after surviving the horrors of Nazism. Addressing big questions - how does hope, humanity and friendship survive unimaginable horrors? How do we begin again? – in a highly-readable style (as is typical of Palmer and publisher Barrington Stoke), this is a thought-provoking, edifying read. Trevor Avery of the Lake District Holocaust Project sets the context in the book’s foreword: “A group of young people arrived in the Lake District in the summer of 1945 and stayed for a few months, the last of them leaving in early 1946. Although they only spent a short time in the area, it was a profoundly important experience for them, and they made a big impression on those who met them at the time.” A sense of this being a “profoundly important experience” is clear from the outset, as revealed when young Yossi first glimpses England, his imagined paradise: “This was the place where they had been told they would be safe. A place where there would be no German soldiers and no concentration camps.” But despite the peace, despite “the lush green hills under a bright blue sky” and the “huge clusters of trees, swallows flitting above them”, Yossi feels unsettled. The brick buildings remind him of concentration camps, and he’s haunted by terrible memories, disturbed by nightmares, and longs for news from his family - will his father ever be found and come for him? Details of everyday life are strikingly evoked, and springboard deeper insights into the children’s experiences – a bike ride reminds Yossi of when he had to surrender his bike to the Nazis, immediately after he and his dad witnessed a horrific attack. An opportunity to attend a Rosh Hashanah celebration triggers his recollection of the terrifying time the SS destroyed his synagogue. A storm over Lake Windermere reminds him of bomb explosions. This device works perfectly, and Yossi’s enduring trauma is palpable. Then, at his lowest, a memory of his father’s words pulls him from the depths of despair: “if we let ourselves go, the Germans will think that they were right: that we are not human.” An exceptional telling of exceptional true events.
Winner of the Books for Confident Readers and the overall Winner of the Children's Book Award 2020 | Though the title refers directly to D-Day, and much of the action takes place on or near the D-Day beaches, Tom Palmer skilfully and thoughtfully enables readers to consider war in general, what it means to those involved – soldier and civilian – and even why it still goes on. Jack is excited about his school trip to the D-Day landing beaches. His father is a reservist and the two spend happy hours together re-enacting the Allies’ landing on Jack’s PlayStation. But a number of things come together to change Jack’s view of war, and his trip to France becomes a very different experience to the one he is anticipating at the book’s opening. Palmer introduces some complex ideas and emotions while ensuring that the book is accessible to all readers (in Barrington Stoke’s Conkers series it is written with reluctant and dyslexic readers in mind). His characters are always convincing and Jack’s reactions to the things he learns entirely credible. Compelling, thought-provoking, this is a very fine short novel.
Shortlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2020 | Shortlisted for the Children's Book Awards 2019, Books for Older Readers Category | Interest Age 8-10 Reading Age 8 | World War One remains a subject of fascination for readers of all ages, but Tom Palmer finds an original way in to the topic in this poignant new story. Lily is a keen fell runner, though she’s fed up of coming in as runner up in races. A visit to her grandparents reveals a surprise: her great-grandfather ran on the fells too. His experiences are recounted vividly in his diary, both his runs in his beloved Cumbria and his experiences as a soldier, recruited to run between positions on the front line, carrying crucial information to the allies. Their shared experiences form a powerful connection, and help Lily to understand herself better, and also to help her grandma when she needs it most. Today and yesterday are seamlessly woven together in a story that will move readers in lots of different ways.
Tom Palmer’s Defenders series cleverly mixes ghost stories and football and uses past events to throw light on our world. Seth’s mum is waiting to hear if she’s clear of the cancer she’s been treated for and the two are having a weekend in Cornwall to escape the pressure. It’s a peaceful place but with his ghost sight Seth is aware of a violent incident that took place there thousands of years ago and which still resonates. That was born out of suspicion and mistrust of new arrivals, and when he meets two young Syrian refugees now living in the town, Seth realises what needs to change. The story will grip young readers from start to finish, and make them think about their own place in the world. In Barrington Stoke style, it’s accessible to all readers.
Seth isn’t like other boys: he can see ghosts. In the second of this new series he is in London staying with his friend Nadiya and her family while his mother undergoes treatment for cancer. Exploring near the hospital, Seth and Nadiya run into a huge crowd of angry ghosts, the spirits of slaves forced by the Romans to build an amphitheatre. As the children work out what’s stirred the ghosts up, disturbing similarities between past and present come to the fore. It’s a typically exciting and involving story from Tom Palmer and, in publisher Barrington Stoke’s Conkers series, is accessible to all readers, no matter their fluency.
Seth’s not like other boys, he can see people from the past wherever he goes. The installation of new floodlights at his football team Halifax Town’s ground seems to reanimate a violent episode from local history, something that threatens everyone. When his mum talks to Seth about his father, who could also see ghosts, Seth finds the courage to do what has to be done. It’s a thrilling story, one that shows how the past still informs everything we do, as well as demonstrating that there’s a superhero in each of us. Number three in a series, it can be read as a stand-alone and, in Barrington Stoke style, has been written so that all readers can enjoy it.
Interest Age 8-12 Reading Age 8+ Tom Palmer combines football with a dramatic story of the Second World War, plus a touch of the supernatural, to catch readers’ attention in this stirring short novel. Greg is at football camp but finding it hard to apply himself, in fact he wants to quit. Set to find out more about the old airfield near the camp as homework, he’s suddenly finds himself transported back in time and at the controls of a Spitfire. Shot down, he’s imprisoned in a POW camp and there discovers the grit and determination necessary to help himself and another prisoner escape. Back in the present at last, the effects of what he’s learned remain and he finds the focus to succeed. A rousing story that describes the heroism demonstrated by so many in the last war to inspire young readers. ~ Andrea Reece Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 8+ Barrington Stoke is the foremost publisher of super-readable short fiction by some of the very best children’s authors and illustrators in the UK. Each title has a host of unique accessibility features to offer cracking reads to more children including reluctant and struggling readers and those with dyslexia or visual stress. Here at Lovereading4kids we are constantly selecting the best of their new and backlist titles to recommend to you. Click here to view our current selection which is broken down by age range.
One of our Dyslexia Friendly Books of the Year 2014 - Interest Age 10+ Reading Age 8 Football never dies – even during the darkest days of the First World War. Tom Palmer tells the true story of the Footballers’ Battalion. Accused of cowardice because they are out playing football instead of fighting, Jack and his friends sign up to fight – and to play football. They have been promised the excitement of a Cup but the boys have to survive all the horror of the fighting too. Best-selling Tom Palmer’s young heroes show their courage in the midst of the conflict. This book is also available to read via the Barrington Stoke 'Tints' App. Find out more here. There is also a great website to support this title full of background information and a Teachers’ Area with invaluable discussion guides, play scripts and Q&As.
One of our Super Readable Books of the Year 2016 | April 2016 Book of the Month | Interest Age 8-12 Reading Age 8+ | Tom Palmer’s new story starts on a football pitch and then, via a clever bit of ghost story, gives readers the experience of the skill and bravery required to pilot a Sopwith Camel. Young Jatinder is at a football camp located next to an old airfield used by pilots in World War One. He’s given a book about the fighter pilot Hardit Singh Malik and that night finds himself back in time flying on a reconnaissance mission over Germany. He’s shot down and taken prisoner, then faced with the opportunity to do something very courageous, but very dangerous. Based on the true stories of three airmen - Indian, American and German – this gives readers a sense of what bravery really entails, and puts the spotlight on the extraordinary Malik, the first ever Sikh pilot to fly a plane of war. Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 8+
Interest Age 8-12 Reading Age 8 Tom Palmer really gets the drama of sport and competition and no-one writes about it better. The Borderlands team have reached the finals of the World Schools Rugby Trophy and are in New Zealand ready to play the final games but the squad are distracted: for some their RAF fathers are just returning home after fighting, while captain Jesse is behaving badly again. Owen knows just how to motivate the team though and indeed when Jesse walks out, it’s Owen who takes over. There’s a terrific climax to the series and Palmer shows just what winning is all about. Owen is inspired by reading Calon, the story of Welsh rugby and Dead Locked is just the sort of book to enthrall non-readers too. ~ Andrea Reece Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 8+ Barrington Stoke is the foremost publisher of dyslexia friendly books and those for reluctant readers. Here on Lovereading4kids we are constantly selecting new titles and refreshing our special dyslexia friendly category. Click here to view our current selection which is broken down by age range. Stop press... Tom will be appearing at the Cheltenham Festival on Saturday 10th October. Click here to find out more. Further information from the Cheltenham Festival.
Interest Age 8-12 Reading Age 8+ Good rugby stories for young readers are thin on the ground, but Tom Palmer’s Rugby Academy books are real winners! In this second book in the series, Rory and the other members of the Borderlands team are in France to play in the European Championship Tournament. Tensions are running high though and not just on the playing field: many of the boys have dads in the RAF and they are alarmed as reports come in of skirmishes in the air, while central character Rory finds it difficult to get on with team captain, Jesse. The fourteen short chapters have all the impact of a Brian O’Driscoll attack, and it’s a great story, whether you are a rugby fan or not. ~ Andrea Reece Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers of 8+ Barrington Stoke is the foremost publisher of dyslexia friendly books and those for reluctant readers. Here on Lovereading4kids we are constantly selecting new titles and refreshing our special dyslexia friendly category. Click here to view our current selection which is broken down by age range.