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Top author Tom Palmer visits HVC

Published on 13/02/20

Tom Palmer, top children’s author, visits Hope Valley College to spend a day with Year 7 and 8 students.

After months of planning and a contorted four-hour train journey from Halifax, the long-awaited Tom Palmer, top children’s author, arrived at Hope Valley College to spend a day with Year 7 and 8 students. And it was well worth the wait. Tom got straight to work, immediately getting students hooked with tales of how he learned to enjoy reading, how he began to write, how it took him twenty years to get published and how he now has more than forty highly popular and acclaimed published titles. 


Tom involved the students throughout his talk, asking questions and getting lots of questions back, often about fame and fortune (“Are you a millionaire?” and “When you go to a cafe, do you get free drinks?”) He got them thinking, posing ethical dilemmas to get them fired up – would you go to war to avenge the death of someone close to you? – is it right to use animals in war? And he talked about his books – commercially successful sports stories, heavily researched historical stories, scary stories written after giving himself the creeps, and more recently, critically acclaimed stories which have won him awards and plaudits. His latest book, not yet published but very nearly there, and making an appearance at HVC as a well-thumbed wodge of A4 sheets, follows a group of children who survive the Holocaust and are resettled in the Lake District. 


Students were able to buy copies of his books, and did, and Tom signed them personally. Y8 Jack, who won the pre-visit Tom Palmer quiz, chose Foul Play as his prize and had it specially inscribed by the author. 


Towards the end of the morning, Tom worked with a small group of Year 8s, combining football and reading in a game which culminated in a noisy penalty shootout, goal celebrations and a trophy for the winning team. Then to a much calmer lunch in the library with a select bunch of Accelerated Reader ‘Word 

Millionaires’, a certain amount of cake, and finally a mad dash to meet another train en route to his next school visit in the Midlands. 


It was a brilliant day, much enjoyed by all, including Tom. Reluctant readers were inspired, keen readers were enthused, Tom got us all listening and thinking, and made some of us want to be writers. What more can you ask from an author visit?