This week best-selling author, Tom Palmer, came to Vinehall and impressed us all with his friendly, down-to-earth personality and his stories.

When I first told my form that Tom was coming, one of my Year 6 pupils nearly exploded with excitement! We have over thirty of Tom’s books in our library (he has written 57 books in total) and I knew that the children would love to hear what he has to say about reading, writing and books.

I regularly receive emails from parents worried about their children being reluctant readers or who want to know how to inspire them to get stuck into new topics. Tom writes about football, rugby and mystery/detective fiction; he also writes historical fiction so he hits a lot of areas of interest. It was fascinating to hear that he has started to develop an obsession with the Iron Age – I think we will see him going further back in time soon.

Tom spoke to pupils from Years 4-8 about his books, which include “After the War” and his latest novel, “Resist”, about a young girl who is part of the anti-Nazi resistance in German-occupied Holland during the Second World War.

Tom spoke about his struggles with reading when he was at school and explained how he grew to love reading through his passion for football. It was fascinating hearing all about how he makes a scrapbook first when he writes a book (which he showed us for “Resist”). As Hattie R (Year 5) put it, he was “very inspiring”! Tom invited pupils to ask him questions about his work and then signed books for the children, many of whom purchased one or two of his novels at the end. The children asked him thoughtful, incisive and often bold questions. Alessandra K (Year 7) asked him “How many books has your editor said no to?” which made us smile. It was fascinating to hear how hard Tom has to work to make his editor happy, sometimes even changing the title of the book because the editor doesn’t like his first choice.

At the end, the children queued up to have their chosen books signed by Tom, with an individual personalised message from him in each book.

Margot C (Year 5) declared: “I didn’t expect him to have written so many books!” Arlo K (Year 7) added: “I thought it was cool meeting him because I haven’t really met an author before”.

Dora G (Year 7) agreed, noting “he didn’t make it boring because he asked us interesting questions”.

Kingsley N (Year 7) reading one of Tom’s novels, “After the War”. When asked about Tom Palmer’s visit to Vinehall, Kingsley said: “He seemed really nice and his talk was very interesting. I bought his book ‘After the War’ and I’m already on page 100!”