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.






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!

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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