Tom Palmer returns!


On Tuesday 14th June we are welcoming Tom Palmer back to Portway. Tom is an old friend of Portway’s and an award winning children’s author. Tom’s primary inspiration for writing is sport (football and rugby), although he has also written books set in wartime periods; all his novels are great reads! If you want to find out more about him ahead of his visit then check out his website – Tom Palmer.

We will be selling a range of Tom’s books on the day of his visit (some of which are below) and all pupils will have a chance to chat to Tom and have their books autographed. More details about this will be coming home soon but we are VERY excited to be welcoming Tom back as we know we will be enjoying an excellent visit!

For information about Tom's books and which type of reader they are suitable for, please see below.

If you would like to order any of these books then please click the link below to access the letter that was sent home. 

Tom Palmer letter 



This is Tom's 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.

‘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!’

George North, Welsh World Cup Rugby




Jatinder seems to be living his dream – he’s training for his team’s youth squad, and his host parents Steve and Esther are really great.

But something’s holding Jatinder back from being a really great footballer – himself. Steve reckons it’s OK to take risks – look at his own hero, Hardit Singh Malik.

That night Jatinder wakes up in a seriously surprising situation – flying Hardit’s WWI fighter plane into enemy airspace.

“Flyboy is a wonderful, warm tale. Stories highlighting the diversity of Britain’s troops during both world wars are rare and this one deserves a wide audience. It is a cracking read.”

Bali Rai




Foul Play 

It’s late at night. Danny Harte is investigating some burglaries near the City FC football stadium, the team he loves.
He witnesses the kidnap of his favourite player, striker, Sam Roberts. As he tries to work out who did it and why, he is dragged into the twisted world of a ruthless football chairman.

Shot at, abducted and led helpless to his execution, can he come out of it alive?


“I love Foul Play. It’s exciting and fun and it is a thrilling equal to Anthony Horowitz’s Alex Rider books." Alice.


Dead Ball

After helping to rescue Sam Roberts in Foul Play, Danny secures a Year Ten work experience placement with Anton Holt, his friend on the local newspaper.  As part of his job he has to interview a local footballer.

But, after the interview, he witnesses a staged car accident involving the player.   This is the start of a terrifying week in which a crazed Russian billionaire tries to kill three England goalkeepers.   And Danny joins Holt in Moscow, desperately trying to save the players, and the English game.


“I have young boys myself and reading to them is so important. Everyone should try to read more. We love Dead Ball by Tom Palmer. There are lots of twists and turns and it’s great fun to read – especially if you love football!” 

Yossi Benayoun


Boys United 

Book 1 in the Football Academy series.

Left-winger Jake Oldfield is the hero.

Jake plays for his village team.  He is good enough to play at a much higher level, but, whenever he has a trial at a professional club, they tell him ‘You’re good: but you’re too small.’  With his dad’s support, Jake keeps trying and one day, he gets offered a trial at Premier League United.  And what could be his last chance…


“My 10 year old son had never read a whole book from start to finish until he discovered Boys United. He rattled through that so I bought Striking Out two days ago and he’s nearly finished it already. Roll on the rest of the series!”  

Sarah Waiton 


Striking Out 

Book 2 in the Football Academy series.

Yunis Khan is the star of Striking Out.  He is a seriously good striker, who has joined United this season, along with Jake from book one, Boys United.

But Yunis has a big problem.  His dad hates football.  Or he says he does.  And he wants Yunis to spend more time doing homework then playing football.  Even if he is a United player.

Yunis wants to do well at school – and he wants to be a footballer.  So he starts getting up in the night to do his school work.  To keep his dad off his back.  But, because he’s tired all the time, things get worse. And then his dad puts his foot down.


“This story is about what it is like to be in an under 12’s football academy at a big club. The enjoyment of training and playing mixed with the pressures of going to school, finding time for homework, and home life. A good portrayal of characters makes this a realistic and enjoyable story”  

Canary Librarian


Over the Line 


A powerful historical novel about one footballer’s experience in the First World War. It’s 1914 and Jack is making his debut as a professional footballer. But the match is marred by a demonstration demanding that the players sign up to do their duty in France.  It is not long before Jack is bound for the trenches with the Footballers’ Battalion.


Over the Line is a great book – not just for kids but for anyone who is interested in football. It’s amazing to think that people like me could have been in their shoes 100 years ago – playing football and going off to such a horrific war.  It really made me think about people’s sacrifices then.” 

Exeter City FC footballer Matt Jay.