Football Tips and Tricks with Scotland Stars F.C.

Learn some new skills for the World Cup with the help of Calum and his friends.

Football tips and tricks with CalumDiscover the Scotland Stars F.C. books by author and football fanatic Danny Scott. Chartering 10-year-old Calum Ferguson’s journey, the struggles and the victories as he both settles into a new town and fights for his place on the school football team. Packed with excitement on and off the field, there are loads of extras like character cards to collect and football tips, puzzles and games.

Activity Sheets

Brush up on your knowledge of the rules and step-up your game with our step-over challenge. Get footballing tips, tricks and activities with our summer sport sheet here – Calum’s Summer Sport Sheet.

Author Visits

Danny Scott is experienced in leading engaging sessions for primary school children. He can speak confidently about the inspiration behind his footbal book series and his sessions are fun and interactive. He recently appeared at Hampden Park as part of the TESCO Bank Summer Reading Challenge Scotland.

Football tips and tricks with Danny Scott at Hampden Park

Having a ball at Hampden Park!
Tesco Bank Football Challenge National Festival


For more on arranging an author visit, go to our Author Events page.

For more on how we work with schools and teachers, visit our Schools and Teachers page.






A Very Kelpie Christmas


It’s almost Christmas morning, and all over the world children will soon be rushing to open their presents. But have you ever wondered what your favourite Kelpies characters might be getting up to on Christmas day? Read on to find out!

Thorfinn the Nicest Viking by David MacPhail

In most places they decorate trees for Christmas, but in Thorfinn’s village it’s traditional to decorate the Christmas goat. Thorfinn festoons the creature with pretty baubles and shiny glass. The other Vikings use dead rats and severed ears. It’s also traditional to catapult the goat into the fjord after they’ve finished, but, as usual, Thorfinn volunteers to take its place. He dons his swimming trunks and plonks himself on top of the catapult. “Merry Christmas, my dear friends,” he says, as the catapult is released. Thorfinn finds his yuletide dip most invigorating.

bottom-trumps-slugboy-full-colour-v1Slugboy aka Murdo McLeod
from Slugboy Saves the World by Mark A Smith

It’s 5.09am on Christmas morning and Murdo’s just getting home. He’s been up half the night foiling a festive foe called Randolph the Red-Nosed Robber. Well, maybe “foiling” is too strong a word. That sort of suggests he was in some way successful (he wasn’t). Still, Murdo isn’t about to let another failed adventure spoil his Christmas. All he needs to do now is get to bed without waking his mum…



from The Beginner’s Guide to Curses by Lari Don

Molly’s paws make tiny dents on the crust of last night’s snow. She had wished for a white Christmas, hoping to test her hare-speed on a new surface. She hadn’t wished for the beast behind her. The creature she’d found chewing her stocking this morning.

Now Molly hears heavy breathing and heavier feet. It’s catching up. She feels hot breath on her neck; snow melts to water under her paws…

(Want to find out what happens next? Head on over to Lari’s blog to read the rest!)


granny-emily-harry-dogWee Granny
from Wee Granny’s Magic Bag by Elizabeth McKay

Harry and Emily are showing Wee Granny their presents.

‘Oh no,’ Mum calls from the kitchen, ‘we’ve got a power cut. I can’t cook Christmas dinner.’

‘Och, don’t worry,’ says Wee Granny, reaching into her tartan bag and bringing out a table laden with turkey and all the trimmings, trifle, mince pies and bottles of ginger wine.

‘Cheers,’ says Wee Granny, raising her glass, ‘and Happy Christmas, my bonnie darlings.’

4th-bonniest-babyThe Fourth Bonniest Baby in Dundee by Michelle Sloan

“It’s Christmas Day!” the bairns all shriek.
Our Bonnie Baby takes a peek
To see his stocking filled with sweets and toys.

A teddy, a train, some coins, a cracker,
A Santa in a shiny wrapper –
He’s chocolate! Bonnie Baby has a lick.

He rips and bites, grips Santa tight.
The chocolate melts – we thought it might!
Och no! Our bonnie baby’s in a state!

He’s sticky, claggie, clarty too,
Head to toe in chocolatey goo!
The tastiest Christmas baby in Dundee.


Calum FergusonCalum Ferguson
from Scotland Stars F.C. by Danny Scott

It’s Christmas morning, 6.30 am. Calum braves the cold of his bedroom to shuffle across to the window in his pyjamas. Above him, his breath hangs in the air like footballers doing bicycle kicks. “Yes,” Calum whispers, gazing out at the snow, “a white Christmas!” A few seconds later, Calum’s dad emerges from the back door. Did he get up early to build a snowman? Calum thinks before he spots three white poles, a net and a set of instructions.











Creating Characters in Illustrated Children’s Books – #FlorisDesign

illus 1With wacky expressions, silly quirks and heartfelt encounters, we know that characterisation brings personality to the page. At Floris, we think that it is one of the most important features in any illustrated book. We want to share a few examples of how illustrators can make characters’ personality shine.

Illustrators use facial expressions, fashion, body language, and actions to create vibrant and memorable characters. This is equally important for chapter novels in our Young Kelpies range and picture books. We’ve picked some of our favourite examples from our latest Young Kelpies series, Scotland Stars F.C. to demonstrate some great illustrations of big personalities!

Danny Scott’s protagonist, Calum Ferguson, dreams of being a star footballer and the illustrator, Alice A. Morentorn, shows off Calum’s big dreams of being a star striker for Scotland in the very first illustration:

In his dreams, Calum scores the winning goal for SCOTLAND!

In his dreams, Calum scores the winning goal for SCOTLAND!


Calum might only be day-dreaming in his back garden but Alice introduces the main character with real impact; it’s clear that he’s enthusiastic and football mad! Look at these other moments from Scotland Stars, what can you tell from the actions and behaviour of these characters?

illus 2.1 and 2.2 combined

The illustration on the left clearly shows characters who are confident. When the child reader sees the boy leaning back with his collar popped up and fist-bumping his friend – they know instantly that this is definitely one of the popular kids in class. Meanwhile in the illustration on the right, Alice makes sure the reader knows how excited Calum and his best friend, Leo, are as they celebrate some great football!

But that’s not all, there are many different, individual techniques that illustrators use to make characters’ personality stand out. We’d love for you to share your favourite characters and their big personalities! Tweet using #FlorisDesign and share with us!

MS Sign off

Scotland Stars F.C.

Calum's New Team jacket coverCalum's New Boots jacket coverCalum's Big Break jacket cover


Guest Blog: Reading makes you better at football!

Danny Scott, author of the Scotland Stars F.C. series and goalie for Scotland Writers F.C. tells us why reading is important for football and other sports.

5 ways that reading books will make you a better footballer

Cover1img-webDo you have a young reluctant reader in your life? Are they also keen on football by any chance?

They might not be but often, to sport-mad kids, reading can be a chore. What’s sitting down and quietly leafing through a book compared to twisting and turning on the turf, scoring goals and sliding on your knees to celebrate. Who wants to read when the roar of 65,000 fans is belting out the TV’s speakers?

Against playing or watching sport, reading can seem a little less glamorous. Growing up, I would have played sport or watched it all day if I could. My dad, however, was an English teacher so I had no choice but to read books, too.

I would go on to play for district teams at football and rugby, and captain my school’s basketball team. Asked back then whether I thought being a keen reader had helped me get better at sport, I would have laughed. But now, thinking back, I firmly believe that it did.

So try this line out on your sport-mad reluctant reader: reading books will make you better at football (or any sport). If they laugh, then float these arguments their way.

1. Reading gives your brain a good workout

Reading actively increases your brain power. Just like jogging will improve your ability to run for longer in matches, reading will give your brain a good workout. The brain is a muscle. It needs exercise too! If you want to make better decisions on the pitch, and digest your coach’s instructions, then do regular brain workouts with books. As the late, great Johan Cruyff said: “You play football with your head, and your legs are just there to help you.”

2. Reading makes you a better problem solver

Why can’t we get past our opponent’s defence? What’s stopping us from scoring? Individual and team sports involve a constant stream of problem solving. It’s been proven that reading books helps our brain to make associations that we might have otherwise never seen – like the other team playing a right footer at left back.

Andy_Murray_at_the_2009_French_Open_63. It helps you to concentrate harder than anyone else

Watch Andy Murray’s face when he’s waiting for his opponent to serve and you’ll see how hard he is concentrating. Sports stars work hard to develop the ability to block everything else out and focus on the ball in front of them. The easiest way to practice this at home is to switch off your TV or console, and read a book.

4. It will help you to understand your teammates

Empathy is a tricky one to explain to youngsters but your ability to understand others is vital to team sports. In my Scotland Stars books, Calum and his friend Leo are constantly faced with challenging behaviour from teammates and opponents. Often, their success or failure relies on figuring out what they need to do to overcome those challenges. And, of course, one of the best ways to develop your ability to know what it’s like to stand in another person’s shoes is reading.

Cover3img-web5. Books make you believe in yourself

When you spend time reading interviews with sports stars it quickly becomes clear that they share one trait, incredible self-belief. Confidence isn’t a trait readily associated with kids from these isles and yet young hopefuls will need it to rise to the top of any game. Luckily, we have books and reading to help us develop our self-esteem and confidence. How does it do this? Well, for all the reasons above, when you feel smarter and make good decisions you feel more confident. You feel better able to overcome the challenges sport, and life, throw at you.

Suggested activities for the classroom or rainy day at home

Invent your own sport

Muggle QuidditchJ.K. Rowling famously invented Quidditch for her Harry Potter books. It became so popular that people now play a version of it in city parks around the world.

Getting your kids or pupils to create their own sport is a fantastic opportunity for literacy. They can write out their own rules, create a match report, teams and stadiums, or make a presentation to the class to recruit players. You could even go one further and ask your kids to play the sport for you, or practice it in PE.

Questions to work on:

  • Is it a team sport or will it be played individually?
  • What are the rules?
  • Is it athletic or a game, like darts or snooker?
  • Is there a time limit?
  • How do you decide the winner?
  • What equipment do you need?
  • What do the outfits look like?

Dice football

Practice basic numeracy or just give your kids something to do on a rainy day with a tournament schedule (from a newspaper or downloaded online) and some dice.

For each match, roll a number of dice for each team and add up the values to determine the winner. You can use more dice for children who are more confident with numeracy skills.

Keep rolling through the “tournament” until you get to the final!

You can add a layer by creating a sudden death penalty shoot out in the event of a draw. Roll the dice until you get a clear winner, or roll each dice five timeswith the winner of each roll scoring one penalty (best of five).

Scotland Stars F.C.

Calum's New Team jacket cover Calum's New Boots jacket cover Calum's Big Break jacket cover  








Wrestling with a reluctant reader?

ThorfinnGGpic2I’m Suzanne, I work at Floris Books, and I have a reluctant reader. There. Now you know. I’ve said it. Until recently my 7 year old would read . . .  if pushed, and harrangued and nagged. It was exhausting and upsetting for both of us. He stubbornly remained a classic ‘reluctant reader’ until one day I came home with Thorfinn and the Awful Invasion and flicked through the pages under his nose. He couldn’t resist. Thorfinn and the Awful Invasion jacket cover

Of course it’s obvious that funny books, books with illustrations, books with stories he wants to immerse himself in and join the fun, series where he can relate to the main character (‘What’s going to happen to me next?’) make it easier but what about a sense of place? That’s immeasurably important too. Those pesky vikings invading ‘Scotland’ (‘That’s where I live’).

Life before Thorfinn

Life before Thorfinn

Early readers, 6 to 8 year olds and reluctant readers need stories that speak to them, rooted in places they recognise as belonging to them as well as tales that excite them, humour they recognise and heroes and heroines they want to be. The Floris Young Kelpies list may have come from an earnest desire to fill this gap for parents but the books themselves are truly for the children. Many of the staff here at Floris Books have 6-8 year olds so these books are robustly test driven and we are well aware that children can sniff earnest and teacherly 10 paces from a book cover!

Each of the new Young Kelpies series comprises six books, with Scotland at their heart, encouraging children to really get to know the worlds they are exploring. Vikings, football, mystery-solving . . . and a tartan cat encompass the first four in the list.

And now . . . it’s a doddle. Almost.

Our inaugural series Thorfinn the Nicest Viking by David MacPhail is the Bloodaxe Challenge book for the 2016 Jorvik Viking Festival and is already gaining young fans far and wide.

The second series (May 2016) by Danny Scott is for the football mad youngsters in your life. Calum Ferguson, the hero of Scotland Stars F.C. has to find his place as the new boy at school and battle to gain a place in the football team. Scottish triumph over adversity, resilience and sporting prowess, what’s not to love?Calum

So I’ve got him going with the right books but there’s another problem now. He keeps sneakily switching the light back on . . . ‘Just one more page then I’ll turn it off, I promise!’

At Floris we promise we’ll keep on adding to our new Young Kelpies list so check back for more news, or sign up to our mailing list, and we’ll keep you informed with all our latest updates.

If you are a teacher and you think your students would be interested to see our authors in action please get in touch! All our authors run inspirational, high energy events and enjoy sharing their writing with their readers.