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The 24 best football books for children

14:49 GMT+4 19/01/2022
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Start your kid off on a lifetime reading habit with these excellent books about the beautiful game

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With so much technology out there like games consoles and TV shows, it can be hard to get kids into reading.

Reading is so important, it’s where children can learn empathy and about different cultures, it’s where dreams can be lived out between the pages and where they can learn how the top footballers become the best. 

These books have been proven to appeal to even the most reluctant of readers and are guaranteed to entertain any girl or boy who’s football crazy. From galactic football matches to inspiring refugee teams, there’s sure to be something kids, teens and grown-ups of all ages will enjoy.

1. Striking Out by Ian Wright and Musa Okwonga

Recommended reading age: Older children and teenagers

This recently published debut novel from the super striker Ian Wright was inspired by his own story. This uplifting follows 13-year-old Jerome Jackson who dreams of being a world-class footballer but struggles with his difficult home life.

Get it from Amazon for £9.99


2. Look Inside Football by Rob Lloyd Jones

Recommended reading age: 5-7 years

This beautifully illustrated board book teaches little ones lots about football including history and how to run a local club.

Get it from Amazon for £7.99


3. Outcasts United by Warren St. John

Recommended reading age: 12-15 years

Based on the adult bestseller, this true story has been specially adapted for young readers. It tells the story of the Fugees, a football team brought together by a young Jordanian immigrant who created a programme for kids from war-torn countries which inspired a community.

Get it from Amazon for £7.73


4. You Are a Champion by Marcus Rashford and Carl Anka

Recommended reading age: 10-14 years

Rashford’s charitable influence has helped feed hungry children up and down the country, and his goals have inspired many. He wrote this motivational book to help kids reach their full potential, use their voice for change and feel comfortable in their skin.

Get it from Amazon for £4.99


5. Girls FC series by Helena Pielichaty

Recommended reading age: 7-12 years

Girls FC is a 12 book series about 12 friends who start an all-girls football team aka “the best football team in the world” after struggling to get the attention of the school coach. Each humorous book follows a different teammate’s unique story for a rollercoaster journey of friendship and football.

Get them from Amazon for £5.25


6. Booked by Kwame Alexander

Recommended reading age: 12-17 years

Author Kwame Alexander is a poet who has written this novel about a football-obsessed 13-year-old boy entirely in verse. The story unfolds through an attention-grabbing medium that kids and especially reluctant readers love.

Get it from Amazon for £8.99


7. Paul Faustino series by Mal Peet

Recommended reading age: 12-16 years

Fictional South American journalist Paul Faustino sits down with three interesting characters during this series and takes the reader on a journey full of mystery and intrigue. They tackle subjects such as slavery and Amazonian environmentalism whilst doubling as a football-themed thriller for kids.

Get them from Amazon for £6.29


8. The Dream Team: Jaz Santos vs The World by Priscilla Mante

Recommended reading age: 8-12 years

Jaz Santos vs The World is the first in a new book series about a young girl’s self-made football team for fans of Jacqueline Wilson. It’s an awesome story of self-empowerment and belief that will get kids to dream bigger. The second book doesn’t come out until next year, so there’s still plenty of time to get reading.

Get it from Amazon for £5.94


9. Football School Epic Heroes by Alex Bellos and Ben Lyttleton

Recommended reading age: 7+ years

Perfect for any young football fan to discover some of the larger-than-life truths found in the history of the game, this collection of half-a-century of superb stories spills the beans on some of the biggest moments the game has ever seen.

Get it from Amazon for £5.75


10. Football Jokes by Macmillan Children’s Books

Recommended reading age: 7-9 years

Does what it says on the tin, this is a book full of absolutely cheesy jokes that kids will love reading out loud. A highlight? “Q: Who's in goal when the ghost team plays football? A: The ghoulie, of course.”

Get it from Amazon for £4.99


11. Billy the Kid by Michael Morpurgo

Recommended reading age: 9-11 years

Veteran children's author Morpurgo has often featured football among his stories but this tale - of a Chelsea boy wonder whose career is cut short by the advent of WWII - bleeds together the joys of the game with the ups and downs of life in gripping, ultimately heart-warming fashion.

Get the boxset from Amazon for £5.94


12. Hey Duggee: The Football Badge by Hey Duggee

Recommended reading age: 2-6 years

Short and simple, this board book featuring the popular children's television character serves as a neat introduction to the beautiful game for infants, mixing up their favourites as they attempt to learn how to score a goal - that is, if they can remember to play the right way!

Get it from Amazon for £4.49


13. The Football Shirt by Catherine McPhail

Recommended reading age: 10-11 years (Year 6)

This football book is from the Pearl band range of the Collins Big Cat scheme. This is a mystery story where a little boy sees the football shirt he’s been saving up for pinned to a tree. The only problem is, it’s commemorating the death of a young boy. Ross takes it home with him anyway. The story teaches citizenship and plays with the idea of morality. 

Get it from Amazon for £7.75


14. The Stars Are Playing Football by Chris Rebel

Recommended reading age: 3-8 years

This picture storybook tells the story of an all-night galactic game of football with players from all over the galaxy. It teaches children the importance of inclusivity and acceptance when things don’t always go to plan. It’s the perfect imaginative bedtime story to send your little ones off into dreamland.

Get it from Amazon for £7.99


15. The Dog That Saved the World (Cup) by Phil Earle

Recommended reading age: 8-12 years

This quirky, heartfelt and humorous book is told from the perspective of Pickles the dog who loves playing football with his two-legged best friend, Elsie. It’s inspired by two real stories and through the football fanatics, there is the story of a Dad trying his best to provide for his little family.

Get it from Amazon for £5.75


16. Own Goal by Paul Stewart

Recommended reading age: 8-12 years

Minutes before winning the schools’ cup final, protagonist Scott scores an own goal. After the match, a nasty message is written on the wall about him. It’s a funny story about friendship and acceptance and owning up to your mistakes. This book has a dyslexia-friendly layout.

Get it from Amazon for £5.94


17. The Big Book of Football by Mundial

Recommended reading age: 6-12 years

From the creators of quarterly football magazine Mundial comes this whopper of a book that is cool, charming and full of quirky information. Serving as a guide to all things football, kids and adults alike will have hours of fun poring over all the fun details and colourful illustrations.

Get it from Amazon for £12.55


18. The Ultimate Football Maths Book by Langston Publications

Recommended reading age: 6-10 years

This book aims to get disinterested kids interested in maths by using football imaging and ideas instead of regular numbers. This workbook covers addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, but also has fun little non-math activities scattered throughout to keep the child’s attention.

Get it from Amazon for £6.99


19. The Football Trials: Kick Off by John Hickman

Recommended reading age: 12+ years

This book is part of the Bloomsbury High/Low reading scheme which aims to create exciting and age-appropriate stories for readers of 12+ with dyslexia, with English as a second language or who struggle to read. This coming-of-age story follows a boy from a tower block as he joins a Premier League academy.

Get it from Amazon for £5.99


20. Unbelievable Football 2: How Football Can Change the World by Matt Oldfield

Recommended reading age: 8-12 years

Football can so often be a force for good across the globe, outside of what its stars manage to achieve on the pitch - and this gem of a book dives into some of those unsung stories, and how they have improved the lives of others around them.

Get it from Amazon for £6.99


21. Roy of the Rovers: Scouted by Tom Palmer

Recommended reading age: 8+

Adults may remember Roy of the Rovers from back in the day, but he’s had a makeover and is repackaged and revived for today’s kids. Roy Race is 16 years old with dreams of playing for Melchester Rovers, and he’s finally about to get his chance. Scouted is the first in a series of six illustrated novels.

Get the first book from Amazon for £5.94


22. Football Superstars by Simon Mugford

Recommended reading age: 5+

There are many books in the Football Superstars collection, with even more on the way, each totaling 128 pages. They’re designed for fans of Tom Gates books and are jam-packed with information about specific players including the story of how they got to become a superstar.

Get them from Amazon for £5.25


23. The Charlie Fry Series by Martin Smith

Recommended reading age: 7-13 years

The Charlie Fry series is an epic saga about achieving your footballing dreams and overcoming adversity. 11-year-old protagonist Charlie Fry has Cystic Fibrosis but that doesn’t stop him from playing football. There are 7 books in this series including The Football Girl Wonder.

Get them from Amazon for £3.33


24. Classic Football Heroes by Matt Oldfield and Tom Oldfield

Recommended reading age: 8-12 years

These books are uber-popular, with over a million copies being sold. What they are is simple (unofficial) biographies aimed at children, so they read like a story that will entertain. There are so many of these out there with all the best football players of all time getting a feature.

Get the boxset from Amazon for £27.99


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