Recommended children's booklists sorted by age or topic

Home > Curriculum Topic Booklists > Arts & Sport > Football

Football

icon football

Recommended Children’s Books About Football

Football books are hugely popular with young readers from the earliest years all through primary school. From soccer superstars to famous fouls, there’s no end of football facts and figures to absorb in our collection of non-fiction and fiction books about the beautiful game.

This list features characters of different shapes and sizes, genders and nationalities enjoying football. If you are looking specifically for girls’ and women’s football, we also have a girls’ football booklist.

Two very recommendable series about football players for KS2 are the Football Superstars series, which are simple and easy-to-read chapter books about individual players and great for younger or less confident readers of chapter books, and the Ultimate Football Heroes series, which are information-packed chapter book biographies of key players, best suited to children aged 9-11.

 We’ve put together a list of the best children’s books about football that are bound to kick-start your book collection and score big with young football fans.

SAVE 20% with Peters

Visit our booklists on Amazon

Support independent bookshops

Football books for EYFS (Ages 3-5)

Rob Lloyd Jones
 & Sean Longcroft
Non-fiction Picturebook
This fun-filled book celebrates the world's most popular sport played by women, men, boys and girls all over the world. Learn about the history of the game, how footballs are made, and how YOU can become a top professional player. Find out how your local club is run, visit a team's training ground, and pick up tips to sharpen your football skills.
Michelle Robinson
 & Chris Mould
Picturebook
Jackson lives and breathes football – he knows all the players, the fixtures, the scores. Then, one grey stormy day, Jackson kicks his ball, and it goes up ... and up ... and UP! All the way to the moon! Overnight, Jackson becomes an international footballing sensation, and before you know it, he's kicked ALL of the Earth's footballs into space. The moon-folk – the aliens! – don't know the rules of the game, but they become football mad all the same. It's up to Jackson to bring football home...
Jean Adamson
 & Belinda Worsley
Picturebook
Topsy and Tim are always finding fun adventures in the real world, and this story is reassuring for young children having first experiences of their own. Topsy and Tim join the local football club. Along with their friends, they practice their skills, including dribbling a ball around cones. Then they play a proper game. It's so much fun that Topsy and Tim want to play football every day! Children who are starting to be interested in football will love to read about all the details of the club.
Ben Lerwill
 & Marina Ruiz
Picturebook
This lyrical non-fiction picture book celebrates the simple joys of football, whatever your background or ability. Rather than focusing on rules, skills, superstars, big clubs and record-breaking feats, this uplifting book for young children celebrates the planet's best-loved sport and shows how the world's most accessible game - where the only equipment needed is something that rolls - has evolved into a force for unity, and a sport for absolutely everyone. Spreads cover how football can be played by all ages, genders, and abilities, whatever your racial, cultural or economic background, and whether you're in a state-of-the-art stadium or just a simple patch of scrubland.

Football books for KS1 (Ages 5-7)

Allan Ahlberg
 & Sebastien Braun
Picturebook
For anyone who can't see a ball without wanting to kick it, head it, shoot it, or boot it! 'Not eating an ice-cream Or riding a bike No - kicking a ball Is what I like.' 'What I like best, yes, most of all in my whole life is . . . kicking a ball. A wonderful rhyming story to read aloud, Kicking A Ball will not disappoint fans of Allan Ahlberg. First written as a poem, the little boy in the story has been brought to life perfectly by artist Sebastien Braun. Every parent will be able to immediately relate to the simple joy felt by a boy simply kicking a ball, and how there is nothing else quite like it. The incomparable Allan Ahlberg takes us on a journey from childhood to fatherhood full of humour, warmth, friendship . . . and football.
Judy Corbalis
 & Korky Paul
Picturebook
Tom and his gran are playing penalty shoot-out when things go wrong and the football escapes... Now, wherever it leads them, from the park to the highstreet and beyond to the depths of the ocean and way up high in the sky, Tom and Gran must "Get that ball!"
Michael Foreman
Picturebook
Like many children all over the world, a small boy dreams of winning the World Cup! But in the meantime, scoring the perfect, time-stopping goal would be just fine. And once you've done that, who knows what the future might hold?
Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara
 & Camila Rosa
Picturebook

Pelé by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara is one of the books in the best-selling series, Little People, BIG DREAMS. These books explore the lives of people who achieved great things, but focus on when they started out as children with a dream.

This book looks at one of the greatest footballers of all time, Pelé – Brazil’s all-time King of Football. It is perhaps different from other books about him as it highlights not only his incredible football skills, but his work off the pitch helping those who needed it most. The book traces his early life from growing up on the poverty-stricken streets of Rio’s suburbs, to becoming a UNESCO goodwill ambassador and scoring over 1000 goals as a professional footballer. Readers will enjoy reading about Pelé’s childhood memories of playing football with a ball made from a sock stuffed with newspapers and tied with string. They will learn how at sixteen he was selected to play for his national team in the World Cup and that his early dream of leading his country to victory was realised as that year Brazil won the World Cup for the first time ever.

The book goes on to show that Pelé was an inspirational hero off the pitch too, working to unite people through the game and to give his voice to the underprivileged. The stylish illustrations will appeal to children through their use of bold lines and strong colours. At the back of the book there is a photographic timeline and a detailed biography of the man who has been described as the greatest footballer who has ever lived. Inherent in the book is the inspiring message about dreaming big and using given talents and skills for the benefit of others.

 

Phil Earle
 & Steve May
Chapter book
Ridiculous injuries ... strange illnesses ... cancelled games ... Everything's going wrong for the Saints this season, and Stanley's team-mates believe they finally know why. Their football kit is cursed! But the team's attempts to break the curse take things from bad to worse. Soon, they're ready to call it quits. Stanley's still got some tricks up his sleeve ... but will his curse-cracking ideas save the team in time for the last game of the season?

Football books for Lower KS2 (Ages 7-9)

Alex Bellos & Ben Lyttleton
 & Spike Gerrell
Non-fiction
A groundbreaking new series from two bestselling writers that teaches you about the world through football. The first book is packed with awesome true stories, real science and fascinating facts and will make you laugh loads. When do footballers poo? Can you play football on Mars? What is a magic sponge? You will find the answers to these questions and more in chapters on subjects such as history, geography, biology and maths. Illustrated throughout with hilarious cartoons and filled with laugh-out-loud gags this is the perfect book for any boy or girl who loves football. Your coaches at Football School, Alex Bellos and Ben Lyttleton, are journalists, broadcasters and award-winning science and sports writers. Their knowledge, enthusiasm and engaging writing make them the perfect team to teach you how to score with your head.
Matt & Tom Oldfield
Non-fiction
Norwegian international Erling Haaland is the rising star of Europe. Having already smashed Messi, Ronaldo and Harry Kane's record of quickest player to twenty Champions League goals, 'The Terminator' is proving to be a ruthless, efficient, goalscoring machine. At such a young age, the world is his playground. Discover how he's caught the eye of the footballing world and whether he'll pip Mbappe to a Ballon d'Or!Ultimate Football Heroes is a series of biographies telling the life stories of the biggest and best footballers in the world and their incredible journeys from childhood fan to superstar professional player. Written in fast-paced, action-packed style these books are perfect for all the family to collect and share.
Simon Mugford
 & Dan Green
Non-fiction
Filled with quizzes, stats and little-known facts, plus illustrated and told with all the fun of a Tom Gates novel, the Football Superstars series is perfect for young readers five and up.Is Lucy Bronze your ultimate football heroine? The current England lionesses vice-captain is a three-time Women's Champions League champion with superclub Lyon. She is a two-time French League winner and also earned third place for England at the Women's World Cup in 2015.Playing in her best position as a roving right-back, Bronze loves to get forward on the pitch and has scored some sensational volleys in huge matches for club and country! Her story is one of defying the odds: she overcame career-threatening knee injuries and was told she would never again play for England to become one of the finest and most-decorated English players in women's football. An inspiration to young girls and boys alike.The Football Superstars series is aimed at building a love of reading from a young age, with fun cartoons, inspirational stories, a simple narrative style and a cast of characters chipping in with quotes, jokes and comments.
Phil Earle
 & Elisa Paganelli
Chapter book Dyslexia-friendly

The Dog That Saved the World (Cup) is a thoroughly enjoyable story of a dog and his family. Inspired by events of 1966, Phil Earle brings the legend of the Jules Rimet trophy theft up to date by placing his tale in a contemporary setting with contemporary problems. Being narrated by Pickles the dog, difficult – but real – issues of unemployment, single-parenting, poverty and homelessness are explored with an innocent honesty that makes them accessible and appropriate for younger readers. Despite the underlying struggles and heartaches, this is not a story of sadness, but it is a quick, positive read that is fun and uplifting.

After the ending of the story, there is an author’s note explaining the real-life inspiration behind the book. Fara Williams, England’s most capped women’s footballer, has shown that dreams can come true as she herself was homeless but never without hope because she had football in her life. Elsie is a reflection of Fara – full of hope, determination and undefeated by life’s challenges.

Printed on a dyslexia-friendly font on cream paper, the story is delightfully illustrated by Elisa Paganelli. The drawings are predominantly joyful. showing happy faces and the bond between a family who have lots of love even when they have little else.

 

A fun, super-readable story of football with much, much more besides.

Paul Stewart
 & Michael Broad
Chapter book
2-1 with minutes to go: Dale Juniors are about to win the schools' cup final - until Scott foots the ball into his own team's goal. But letting down the team is the least of Scott's problems. After the match, someone leaves him a nasty message on the wall - and the suspect? His best mate Danny. It's all going downhill from here. The drama of football and friendship take to the pitch in this action-packed sporting novel from top-selling author Paul Stewart. Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant or dyslexic readers aged 8+.

Tony Bradman
 & Michael Broad
Chapter book
Danny and his mates Jamil and Lewis are over the moon when football legend Jock Ramsey agrees to coach their team. For the first time ever the Rovers might have a chance of winning something! But Ramsey's a tough coach. They train every night, and Saturdays too. It's a lot of pressure for lads who just like a kickabout in the park. Can Danny, Lewis and Jamil survive the pressure and stay football crazy - in a good way? A brand-new 4u2read edition of a fun and light-hearted football story from reluctant-reader favourite Tony Bradman. Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant or dyslexic readers aged 7+.
Tom Palmer
Chapter book
Boys United: the first book in the Football Academy series by Tom PalmerJake loves football and dreams of becoming a professional footballer. He's worried about his height though - what if he's too small for football? But on the day of his trial Jake is quick on the ball and scores - he's made it! Jake can't wait to pull on his shirt and join the team. But someone at the club wants to make his life difficult. Can Jake face up to the bullies and become man of the match again?Stay on the ball this season with the first four stories following the boys in United's under-twelves.
Catriona Clarke
 & Sarah Long
Non-fiction
With a foreword by England captain Steph Houghton, She Shoots, She Scores!tells the incredible story of the BEST sport in the world, women's football - from the men who tried to ban it to the superstars of today's game, including Lucy Bronze, Sam Kerr and Alex Morgan. Young footie fans can find out about . . .- The girl who had to play football in secret but grew up into a goal scoring legend - The thirteen-year-old who shot to international fame but didn't get a mention in school assembly - The greatest women's footballer ever, who scored in FIVE World CupsWritten by acclaimed YA novelist Catriona Clarke, the book is packed with facts and stats about the FIFA Women's World Cup and the Olympics, plus pocket profiles of the world's top players - from Marta to Megan Rapinoe - and record-breaking teams, including the US national women's team and Olympique Lyonnais. What's more, discover the key skills you'll need to become a great goalkeeper, a tough-tackling defender or the world's next superstar striker!
Simon Mugford
 & Dan Green
Non-fiction

The perfect book for any football fan! Simon Mugford’s informative text set alongside Dan Green’s fun and realistic illustrations makes for an engaging read that will leave children knowing a lot more about Mo Salah.

The text is formatted in a highly visual and easy-to-read way so that it can engage a range of children, including readers embarking on their first chapter books as well as older reluctant readers. Small chunks of text are interspersed with key stats and tables throughout that will engage football fans.

There is also a free-to-download pack of Teachers’ Notes and Activities to accompany the series. Interspersed throughout the book are a range of jokes that children will enjoy. The text is displayed in a range of interesting ways, including speech bubbles, fact boxes and comic style sequences. The variety on layout keeps readers engaged, while the narrative is simple to follow.

This book is a member of a growing series of ‘Football Superstars’ books, showcasing the best modern-day footballers around. We highly recommended this series to newly independent readers or reluctant readers in KS2.  The books in the series lend themselves well to being collected, swapped and shared like football cards. Many children know snippets about these players but these books provide a detailed insight into every aspect of the footballer’s life.


Football books for Upper KS2 (Ages 9-11)

MUNDIAL
 & Damien Weighill
Non-fiction
Dive into the world of football with this mega book of everything to do with the beautiful game. Learn all the lingo; meet the greatest players, managers and teams from both the men's and women's games; take masterclasses with the pros; wander through the haircut hall of fame; learn the most iconic goal celebrations and more. Written by the team at MUNDIAL, the celebrated football lifestyle magazine, and filled with fun, colourful illustrations, The Big Book of Football by Mundial covers it all: The basics and the lingo that will have you talking like a football expert in no time. History of football , including how we got from playing with a ball made of feathers to using high-tech footballs, the greatest teams of all time and the evolution of football boots. The great players , including Paolo Maldini, Lev Yashin, Joy Fawcett, Franz Beckenbauer, Johan Cruyff, Michelle Akers, Sir Stanley Matthews and Marta Vieira da Silva. Legendary managers and how they did it - learn the favourite killer formations of greats like Rinus Michels and Sir Alex Ferguson. The big cups , with their histories and greatest players. The world's most amazing stadiums , including Wembley, Melbourne Cricket Ground and San Siro. Kits hall of fame , from the USSR's (now Russia) classic red sweatshirt with 'CCCP' written across the front to Mexico's green home shirt with Aztec patterns and the giant face of the Aztec god of death. How to take the perfect shot like Ji So-yun, take the perfect set piece like David Beckham, take penalties like Matt Le Tissier, beat the offside trap like Fernando Torres, do the perfect attacking header like Didier Drogba and more. Weird and wonderful , from the way we describe things that happen in the game (a fox in the box) to the way we celebrate a goal (by pretending to be a robot) or do our hair (shaving it all off except for a triangle at the front). The culture and people surrounding the game, from traditional pre-game food to the referee, commentator and all-important crowd. This great big book is your essential guide to the wonderful world of football.
Brian Bilston
Poetry
A funny collection of football poems by Brian Bilston, the unofficial Poet Laureate of Twitter. Perfect for football fans of all ages - from the young footie fanatic to a been-to-every-game-grandma, and every 'I could've been a pro' in between.Full of poems that will make you giggle about all things football, including being left out of the World Cup squad, mum's opinion on Messi vs Ronaldo, or those unmissable fixtures:I'd love nothing more than to go outside and spend time with Mother Nature. But what can I do? It's out of my hands: Nigeria are playing Croatia50 Ways to Score a Goal and Other Football Poems includes witty chants, a haiku or two, and fun shape poems about the beautiful game. Laugh together through the Euros or Premier League games, and swap the half-time pundits for puns!
Priscilla Mante
Chapter book

Jaz Santos vs the World is the first in a new series about a girl who gathers an unlikely group of friends together to make their own girls’ football team. This is an inclusive and empowering tale with a real-life feel that will appeal to fans of Cath Howe and Jacqueline Wilson.

Circumstances in Jaz’s life are starting to feel out of control. She has been in trouble at school, kicked out of dance club and is dealing with the growing cracks in her parents’ relationship, culminating in a house fire and her mum eventually moving out. There’s more on her mind too – Jaz loves football and often plays with the boys at lunchtimes, but is excluded from the school team because girls are not allowed to play.

When Jaz finds a leaflet advertising a girls’ football tournament, she seizes the opportunity to take back some control. Thinking carefully about how to sell the idea to her classmates, Jaz pours heart and soul into rallying a team of girls to prepare for the tournament. From fundraising to training, Jaz leaves no stone unturned – with her passionate hopes of proving that girls can be taken seriously in football matched only by her desire to get mum back. Deep down, Jaz wonders whether winning the tournament might magically solve all of the other problems in her life too, but some wise words along the way help Jaz to understand that life’s circumstances do not have to define her, and her own personal successes and failures don’t have to be tied up with the things in life that are simply beyond her control.

With girls’ football growing more popular than ever, this is an empowering book with a dynamic and entertaining main character who shows what can happen when somebody leads the way in a new sporting initiative. The discrimination against Jaz as a girl wanting to be taken seriously in football feels frustrating and unfair, but Jaz is passionate and triumphant to show what can be achieved with a little determination. Some of the other girls have no interest in the sport before Jaz recruits them to the team, but the story shows how beneficial the opportunity to join in is for them in different ways. The author Priscilla Mante says of the book, “Girls’ football and women’s football don’t get the attention they should do and it was really important for me, through Jaz, to challenge the status quo.”

This timely and heart-warming story about teamwork, self-belief and following your passions in the face of life’s ups and downs is likely to score big with readers aged 8-11.

Alan Gibbons
 & Chris Chalik
Chapter book

A football-themed short story by Blue Peter award winner and Carnegie Medal nominated author Alan Gibbons. This book is set in a dyslexia-friendly format and offers an engaging story that can be enjoyed by those 8 and upwards. Home Ground will engage those wanting a story about ‘the beautiful game’ but, more than that, is a story of friendship and overcoming prejudice.

This is a great book to introduce the importance of being tolerant and accepting others, irrespective of where they’re from. Home Ground is packed full of interesting information about the journeys refugees have undertaken and their reasons, which helps to give context to this story. Children also learn fascinating facts about former refugees who have been successful in top-flight teams both here and abroad.

Tom Palmer
 & Ollie Cuthbertson
Chapter book
It's the proudest moment of Jack's life - his debut as a professional footballer. Now he has a chance to achieve his dream of playing for his country. But it's 1914 and the world is at war. Talk of sportsmen's cowardice leads to the formation of a Footballers' Battalion and Jack has little choice but to join up. The promise of a Cup in Flanders offers a glimmer of hope, but Jack and his teammates will have to survive a waking nightmare if they are ever to play again. A stunning new edition of Tom Palmer's bestselling novel based on the true story of WWI war hero and footballing legend Jack Cock.

Rebecca Stevens
Chapter book

Taking us back to first world war London, Rebecca Stevens delivers a tale of war, family and friendships but above all an inspirational story of ladies’ football.

This is a thoroughly enjoyable and realistic portrayal of a young woman’s plight during the First World War, the danger of the chemicals that some women were exposed to, the empowerment of women during this time and the realisation, once the war is over, that life would never be the same again.

Alex Bellos,Ben Lyttleton
 & Spike Gerrell
Non-fiction
A fun and essential guide to the world of football and an incredible gift for young fans. Discover everything you've EVER wanted to know about football, from fascinating facts about your favourite players and clubs, to incredible international stats and terrific trivia. Packed with hilarious illustrations, this encyclopedia is anything but boring! Learn about all aspects of the game, including the positions, rules, mascots, nicknames, trophies and tournaments and laugh loads along the way. Brought to you by the bestselling creators of the Football School series, this book is a joyful celebration of the beautiful game.

SAVE 20% with Peters

Visit our booklists on Amazon

Support independent bookshops

Booklists you might also like...

Subscribe to our newsletter

Your Review

Stone Girl Bone Girl

review

Year group(s) the book is most suitable for:

Year group(s) the book is most suitable for:

Does the book contain anything that teachers would wish to know about before recommending in class (strong language, sensitive topics etc.)?

Does the book contain anything that teachers would wish to know about before recommending in class (strong language, sensitive topics etc.)?

Would you recommend the book for use in primary schools?

yes

Curriculum links (if relevant)

Curriculum links (if relevant)

Any other comments

Any other comments