From the pitch to the page: Author pens live Lionesses story

Live story to feature popular characters from the new Roy of the Rovers series

The National Literacy Trust, Rebellion and The Football Association have teamed up to launch a free live story following the journey of England’s Lionesses at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in France this summer (7 June – 7 July).

The story will be written and published, chapter-by-chapter, as the Lionesses progress through the tournament. It will use the power of football and the excitement around events as they unfold on and off the pitch at the Women’s World Cup to get children aged 8 to 14 excited about reading.

It follows new resources being launched for schools in England recently which include lesson planning tools with a women’s football focus from children’s charity the Youth Sport Trust, working in partnership with The FA. Following increased investment in the women’s game, the charity developed the Women’s World Cup School Resources to give more profile to the women’s game in schools and increase opportunities for young people to develop a love of football in line with the upcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup. The resources can be accessed via girlsfootballinschools.org.   

Rocky of the Rovers: France 2019 is written by bestselling children’s author Tom Palmer and will feature a popular trio of characters from the recently rebooted Roy of the Rovers series, published by Rebellion. Readers will follow the adventures of Rocky Race, her brother Roy and her football coach Ffion as they travel around France to cheer on the Lionesses.

This is the first Roy of the Rovers story to feature not only a female lead, in the form of Roy’s feisty younger sister Rocky, but also women’s football in general, and represents the latest step in bringing the beloved football comic into the 21st century. 2019 marks the 65th anniversary of Roy of the Rovers’ first appearance on the pitch and this World Cup story is a landmark event in the history of the comic.

The story is designed to be read aloud in the classroom or at home and will be published in three chapters a week on the National Literacy Trust’s website throughout the tournament. The first chapter is now out literacytrust.org.uk/womensworldcup.

Donna McIvor, Women’s Development Manager at The FA, said:

Excitement is building as the Lionesses head out to France for the Women’s World Cup. The tournament provides the perfect opportunity to inspire girls and boys throughout the country to get involved in football. By working with the National Literacy Trust and Rebellion, we can also use the excitement and profile of the tournament to engage students in reading and literacy too.

Tom Palmer said:

“I went to watch the Lionesses play in the Euros two years ago and loved it. This time I’m sending three of my characters from Roy of the Rovers to enjoy it, setting Rocky, Ffion and Roy a few challenges along the way. The idea is to write the story day-by-day as the events unfold, making the action as up-to-date and relevant to children in the classroom, so they enjoy reading for pleasure. And to encourage them to follow England Women all the way to the final!”

Jim Sells, Sport and Literacy Programme Manager at the National Literacy Trust, said:

“Football has the power to inspire even the most reluctant reader to pick up a book, which is why we are so thrilled to be working with Rebellion and The FA to bring the joy of reading to thousands of children and young people this summer.

“We have no doubt that the buzz around the Women’s World Cup, the popular characters from the iconic Roy of the Rovers series and Tom Palmer’s incredible writing will be the winning combination to get children up and down the country excited about reading. Come on you Lionesses!”

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