Review: Home Ground

BooksforTopics Reading for Pleasure Recommendations

Book Title: Home Ground (available here)

Author: Alan Gibbons

Illustrator: Chris Chalik

Publisher: Barrington Stoke

Publication Date: April 2019

Most Suitable For: KS2

Home Ground is a football-themed short story by Blue Peter award winner and Carnegie Medal nominated author Alan Gibbons. Published by Barrington Stoke, this book is set in a dyslexia-friendly format and offers an engaging story that can be enjoyed by those 8 and upwards. The book is marketed for those with a reading age of 8 with content appropriate for 8-12 year olds, which means developing readers towards the upper end of KS2 will still find the story appealing.

Home Ground will engage those wanting a story about ‘the beautiful game’ but, more than that, is a story of friendship and overcoming prejudice. Sam’s team are in danger of being relegated to a lower league. Jordan is the captain - but is he really a team player or merely a glory hunter? When Sam introduces two new players to his manager, Jordan does not respond well as he struggles to accept the refugees as part of the team, even though the new boys could reverse the team’s fortunes and help them stay in the league.

This is a great book to introduce the importance of being tolerant and accepting others, irrespective of where they’re from. The themes are imparted in an age-appropriate way and would be ideal for educators to use in class discussions during PHSCE. As is usual with Alan Gibbons’ books, 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.

Reluctant readers will find this story engaging and easy to access. Chris Chalik’s simple illustrations help tell the story and his striking front cover means the book sits perfectly alongside those covers for more advanced readers.


You can order Home Ground online or from your local bookshop or library.

Many thanks to the publisher for sending us a review copy of this book and to our Review Panel member for reviewing it.


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