Praise for children’s author who is helping to raise literacy levels
A RELUCTANT reader turned children’s author has won this year’s Ruth Rendell Award in recognition of his outstanding contribution to raising literacy levels in the UK.
At school, Leeds-born Tom Palmer rarely picked up a book until his mother encouraged him to read stories inspired by his love of sport. The devoted Leeds United fan has since carved his own career writing books designed to engage other reluctant readers, as well as those with dyslexia.
In the last 12 months, he has also undertaken 150 school visits, delivering literacy workshops to more than 30,000 children. Added to that, during the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, Mr Palmer also worked with the National Literacy Trust on a new Roy of the Rovers story – the first to feature a female lead in the comic’s 65-year history.
He said: “This is so exciting for
my family, as much as me. I found books intimidating as a child and feared I’d fail to finish them. But short sport articles in newspapers and magazines – including Roy of the Rovers – and sport books from the library were a great way into reading for me.
“Anyone can enjoy and strengthen their reading if they find the right thing for them, and that’s what I really try and get across to all the young readers I meet. I’m also very proud that many of my books are published by Barrington Stoke, whose books are written, edited and designed with reluctant readers and those with dyslexia and visual stress.”
Mr Palmer has also been the children’s writer in residence at the RAF Museum and his latest book, Armistice Runner, has been shortlisted for more than a dozen awards, including the CILIP Carnegie Medal.
Stella Binnoy, the head of academy at Hackwood Primary Academy, who nominated Mr Palmer for the award, which is supported by the trust, said: “As well as being a great children’s writer, his passion for education and for supporting children shines through both on his website and when you meet him in person.”
TOM PALMER: ‘Anyone can enjoy and strengthen their reading if they find the right thing for them.’