Encourage your children enjoying Euro 2020 to read books with these football stories featuring Marcus Rashford, Kevin De Bruyne and Pele
Bishop's Stortford College Prep School librarian Lizzie Hall writes about the magic of storytelling...
Dear Reader. With the European Football Championships having just kicked off, you may have a football-obsessed child at home (I certainly do).
And there's no better way to encourage them to read than introducing them to books about the sport they love.
Here's a list of top-of-the-league books to share with your children.
Home Ground by Alan Gibbons
Sam's team are edging closer to the bottom of the league this season and team captain Jordan's bad attitude isn't helping anyone.
When Sam spots Hasan playing on the refugee team, he can see that Hasan's got talent and invites him along to practice.
Hasan and his friend Faisal prove to be exactly what the team needs - but Jordan's not going to accept his new team-mates so easily. Can Sam get the boys to pull together and win?
Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant or dyslexic readers aged 8+.
Kick by Mitch Johnson
Budi's plan is simple. He's going to be a star. He's going to play for the greatest team on Earth, instead of sweating over each stitch he sews and each football boot he makes.
But one unlucky kick brings Budi's world crashing down. Now he owes the Dragon, the most dangerous man in Jakarta. Soon it isn't only Budi's dreams at stake, but his life.
A story about dreaming big, hope, heroes and never letting anything stand in your way. Suitable for readers aged 9-12.
Unbelievable Football by Matt Oldfield
Do you think you know everything there is to know about football?
Well, have you heard of the psychic octopus who could predict the winner or the Lancashire lasses who became football's best kept secret?
What about the dog detective who saved the World Cup trophy or the superstar footballer who never actually played football?
In bestselling author Matt Oldfield's Unbelievable Football, you'll discover the most incredible and sometimes ridiculous true stories you never knew from the world's favourite game where there's everything to play for and anything can happen.
Suitable for readers aged 6-12.
De Bruyne – Ultimate Football Hero by Matt and Tom Oldfield
Kevin De Bruyne is arguably Manchester City's best player. This is the story of how the young Belgian rose through the ranks, worked hard despite the difficulties he faced along the way and showed courage and determination to prove his skill in the world's toughest league.
His versatility, technique and goal-scoring ability have allowed him to become a midfielder like no other.
Suitable for readers aged 8-12.
Lily and the Rockets by Rebecca Stevens
It's 1918. Lily spends her days working in a munitions factory, her nights picking metal out of her hair and her lunchtimes kicking a ball with her work-mates.
Together they form a football team, the Rockets, and a league soon follows.
But when the war ends, the girls lose both their jobs and their football. Not Lily. If her only chance of being a goalie is to play with the men, then that's what she'll do.
Suitable for readers aged 9-12.
Pele by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara and Camila Rosa
With a sock full of rags for a ball, Pelé honed his skills in a poor neighbourhood in Brazil. He believed that one day he would lead his country to World Cup victory – and he was right!
With Pelé and his super skills on the team, Brazil lifted the trophy three times. Today, he is widely regarded as the greatest footballer who ever lived.
And he's a hero off the pitch too, using his voice to help the people who need it most.
This inspiring book features stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, including a biographical timeline with historical photos and a detailed profile of The King's life.
Suitable for readers aged 4-7.
You Are a Champion by Marcus Rashford and Carl Anka
Marcus Rashford is famous worldwide for his skills both on and off the pitch.
But before he was a Manchester United and England footballer, and long before he started his inspiring campaign to end child food poverty, he was just an average kid from Wythenshawe, south Manchester.
Now, Marcus Rashford MBE wants to show you how to achieve your dreams in this positive and inspiring guide for life.
No matter who you are and no matter where you come from, every single person in the world has the potential to be a champion. In You Are a Champion, the nation's favourite footballer gives you the tools you need to reach your full potential, showing you how to be the very best version of yourself you can be.
Written with journalist Carl Anka, this empowering guide is packed full of stories from Marcus' own life, brilliant advice and top tips from performance psychologist Katie Warriner.
Perfect for readers, aged 8-12, who need to hear that they are already champions – they just might not know it yet.
Do Goalkeepers Wear Tiaras? by Helena Pielichaty
"My name is Megan Fawcett and this is the story of how I set up the best football team in the world. Get ready for kick-off!"
Nine-year-old Megan Fawcett loves football and is desperate to be on her school team. She tries everything to get the coach to notice her - even wearing a tiara! - but nothing seems to do the trick.
Then Megan has her big brainwave - she could start her own team. An all-girls team! Now she just needs a pitch, a coach – oh, and 10 other players…
This is the first in a series of fun, topical early readers, so join the Girls FC as they take the world by storm! Suitable for readers aged 7-10.
Booked by Kwame Alexander
Twelve-year-old Nick is a football-mad boy who absolutely hates books.
In this follow-up to the Newbery-winning novel The Crossover, football, family, love and friendship take centre stage as Nick tries to figure out how to navigate his parents' break-up, stand up to bullies and impress the girl of his dreams.
These challenges – which seem even harder than scoring a match-winning goal – change his life, as well as his best friend's.
This energetic novel-in-verse by poet Kwame Alexander captures all the thrills, setbacks and emotion of a World Cup match.
Suitable for readers 12+.