I am thrilled to be an ambassador for the first Reading Together Day – because family reading means everything to me.
I am a children’s author because my mum read football stories and newspaper match reports to me, engaging me with reading through the game I love. That helped me at school. That gave me my career. But there was something more important about us reading together than me doing better at school and becoming an author.
It was that I felt loved. During the first few years of my life, there was a bit of family disruption. Fostering. Adoption. Divorce. A step-dad. But my mum was always there and always reading with me about football. Reading together as a family was one of the things we did, one of the things that held us together in challenging times. It also gave me confidence and helped me become more interested in the world.
I believe that families should read together if they can. For me and my mum it was newspapers and magazines to start with. But it can be anything. Fiction. Non-fiction. Comic books. Websites. Whatever it takes.
As a dad I read with my daughter from baby to teenage years. I look back at that and see those times as some of the best. Intimate. Interesting. Inspiring. Finding out about the world together, like I had with my mum. I know that one of the reasons I feel so close to my daughter is that we did that.
I make sure in my books that my characters read together and visit the library and bookshops. In my Foul Play books, Danny and his dad read detective novels together, leading to Danny becoming a football detective. In my Football Academy books, parents take children to the library and talk about books together. This is my mum’s legacy. It doesn’t go away.
This Reading Together Day, I want to encourage more families to discover the joy of reading together as I first did – through the beautiful game. So I’ve teamed up with the National Literacy Trust, the Premier League and Rebellion Publishing to provide families with free football-themed books, activities and videos to explore [embed link to Author of the week series].
- Favourite read with mum: the football pages
- Favourite read with daughter: Ginger + Ollie series by Ed Vere