The local youth club are putting an under-elevens squad together – and Dal, Chris, Abs and Jason are determined to be picked.They know they’re the best players in their school – but what if that isn’t good enough and they don’t make the team? Dal knows he’d be gutted if his mates made it and he didn’t . . . Then once the team is picked, they have to do the business on the pitch – go out and win! And their coach has a couple of surprise new players to help the team . . .

Join Maya and all her friends as they get together at the dojo for their Saturday karate class! There are moves to remember, blocks to practise, and punches to perfect! Maya is a white belt, which means she’s still a beginner, but with focus, balance and determination – and a little helping hand from her friends – can she show Sensei what she’s got? Written and illustrated by Holly Sterling, a karate champion and teacher, this is a joyful and uplifting celebration of the sport, and a must-have primer for any child hoping to be a karate kid one day, too!

AJ’s grandfather has always been the one to keep his unusual family together, so when he dies things start to unravel at the edges. AJ is worried about his parents but they don t really seem to notice. In order to deal with his grief and to keep his anxiety at bay, AJ does what he and his grandfather did best: running. Round and round the Olympic Park, aiming for the cross country trials, running to escape, AJ only seems to be heading ever closer to disaster. Running On Empty is a beautiful book about false starts and emotional journeys, with hope as the ultimate finishing line. From the author of Little Bits of Sky.

Seth has a special ability: to see things from the past. He’s at a football match when flickering flames and a screaming, wild-haired man appear on the pitch. A storm hits from nowhere and the crowd panics. No-one’s hurt, but more odd things happen over the following days and Seth learns he’s seeing a 1000-year-old, brutal Viking massacre. Except the past is starting to affect the present. Seth must find a way to stop it – before the Vikings have his head too.

Defenders is a fast-paced story with a little something for everyone: football, history, friendship, mystery and danger, and even a hint of the supernatural. As a relatively short story in a dyslexia friendly font, it’s also ideal for reluctant or struggling readers. Seth and his best friend Nadiya are brilliantly engaging characters, drawing you straight into the story from page one.

A fictionalised account of the life of Walter ‘Tully’ Tull, a hero – on the football field and on the battlefield.  His grandparents had been slaves and after his parents died, Walter and his brother Eddie were brought up in a children’s home.

 

Read about how Walter, or Tully as he was known, became popular and famous because he was brave and fair and because he could play football better than almost anyone.

A lovely story showing us a bit of what life was like before World War One broke out and what it was like to be black and living in England back then.

 

Make a list of the characters you have met so far in the book:

Jack, Huddersfield Town, Striker

Fred Bullock, Huddersfield Town, Captain

Frank Mann, Huddersfield Town (a half back, although this information is not given in the novel)

Sid Wheelhouse, Grimsby, Defender

Percy Summers, Grimsby, goalkeeper

Arthur Fairclough (name not given in the novel) Huddersfield Town ‘gaffer’

Chris Buckley, Arsenal, Captain

Henry Norris, Arsenal

 

Make notes on what the book tells us about each of these characters and use the internet to find out more. Make footballer collectors’ cards featuring each of these, following these examples.

My ‘Secret Self’

The idea for First Flight: Dragon Racer Book 1 came about because I was asked who my secret self was.

“I race dragons,” I told everyone. “Every night I slip out of my house, go to the dragon caves under Lambeth Town Hall in South London and find my dragon and we go racing.”

So let me ask you.

‘Who is your secret self? Are you a spy or a time traveller? Do you have any special powers like invisibility, telepathy or shape shifting? Can you fly or talk to animals? Do you like having this ability? Who else knows about it?

Introduce your secret self. Perhaps you might like to write about how you discovered your ‘secret self’. Were you bitten by a strange insect, zapped by lightning or did you receive a mysterious present or invitation?

Or perhaps you might prefer to tell the tale of one of your adventures (or mishaps).

When I wrote ‘Tall Story’, I wove several legends into the story. In my native Philippines, a lot of our storytelling has to do with legends that explain the origins of things. I made this video soon after ‘Tall Story’ was published to explain how to write a legend. I hope you have a go, because it’s a lot of fun!

 

On and off the pitch, Jatinder always plays it safe. He lines everything up for glory. Then he fluffs it. The football summer school is meant to change all that. But next to the school, a long-abandoned airfield hums with mystery… When Jatinder opens an old book about ace fighter pilot, Hardit Singh Malik, he’s propelled into an adventure more thrilling than any football match!

While Baljit shovels chips in is dad’s chippy, he dreams of football stardom. Then the chance of a lifetime comes along – a trial for the Premier League.

But Baljit is sure his parents will disapprove, and so the lies begin. Will Baljit’s parents cost him his dream – or will his own lies trip him up?