I spent a couple of hours yesterday morning having a chat with children's author Tom Palmer about books, reading, football and the North South divide. More of that later. Tom is tireless in his promotion of children's literacy and spends a vast majority of his waking hours racing up and down the country talking to schools and children about books and the joys of reading. He was nomintated for the Blue Peter Children's Fiction award. I would give him a gold badge for his dedication to national literacy, apart from writing accessable books young lads can read. He is published by Puffin. Please buy as many of his books as possible so he can continue his fantastic work. He has a young daughter to feed, and he supports Leeds United, but as we both detest Man United, we didn't come to blows. As the father of two lads myself, I know that once boys make the transition form junior to secondary school, it is so difficult to get them to read for pleasure. A combination of peer pressure, the onset of adolescence, other constraints on their time or perhaps unappealling books, means that many are lost to the wonders of reading for pleasure for years, if they are ever to return to books at all. It is up to writers and publishers to make sure that the books we are publishing are both relevant and entertaining to young teenagers otherwise we will lose them all to electronic games forever. Tom writes such books.
I could tell you a story about a Blue Peter presenter and his dissing of half the population but it would become a national scandal and I can't afford the legal fees. Needless to say, I've packed away my sticky backed plastic and The Moose will never again be watching the BBC's flagship children's programme. Shame on them. Biddy Baxter would be livid, as for Shep!