The National Literacy Trust, Rebellion and The Football Association have teamed up to launch a free live story starring Rocky Race, sister of Roy (Roy of the Rovers), following the journey of England’s Lionesses at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in France this summer (7th June – 7th July 2019).
The story is being written and published, chapter-by-chapter, as the Lionesses progress through the tournament. It will use the power of football and the excitement around events as they unfold on and off the pitch at the Women’s World Cup to get children aged 8 to 14 excited about reading.
Written by bestselling children’s author Tom Palmer, Rocky of the Rovers: France 2019 will feature a popular trio of characters from the recently rebooted Roy of the Rovers series, published by Rebellion. Readers will follow the adventures of Rocky Race, her brother Roy and her football coach Ffion as they travel around France to cheer on the Lionesses.
This is the first Roy of the Rovers story to feature not only a female lead, in the form of Roy’s feisty younger sister Rocky, but also women’s football in general, and represents the latest step in bringing the beloved football comic into the 21st century. 2019 marks the 65th anniversary of Roy of the Rovers’ first appearance on the pitch and this World Cup story is a landmark event in the history of the comic.
The news has been widely featured on mainstream media, with reports in newspapers including The Times – which should come as no surprise given Roy of the Rovers enduring popularity and the strips’ rapidly-approaching 65th anniversary, which is being marked in various ways, including collections of classic strips, launching in July with Roy of the Rovers – Best of the 1950s. and a further Roy of the Rovers novel by Tom Palmer in September and a fourth graphic novel in October.
The story is designed to be read aloud in the classroom or at home and will be published in three chapters a week on the National Literacy Trust’s website throughout the tournament. The first chapter is available now.
“I went to watch the Lionesses play in the Euros two years ago and loved it,” said author Tom Palmer. “This time I’m sending three of my characters from Roy of the Rovers to enjoy it, setting Rocky, Ffion and Roy a few challenges along the way.
“The idea is to write the story day-by-day as the events unfold, making the action as up-to-date and relevant to children in the classroom, so they enjoy reading for pleasure. And to encourage them to follow England Women all the way to the final!”
Jim Sells, Sport and Literacy Programme Manager at the National Literacy Trust, said: “Football has the power to inspire even the most reluctant reader to pick up a book, which is why we are so thrilled to be working with Rebellion and The FA to bring the joy of reading to thousands of children and young people this summer.
“We have no doubt that the buzz around the Women’s World Cup, the popular characters from the iconic Roy of the Rovers series and Tom Palmer’s incredible writing will be the winning combination to get children up and down the country excited about reading. Come on you Lionesses!”
Donna McIvor, Women’s Development Manager at The FA, said: “Excitement is building as the Lionesses head out to France for the Women’s World Cup.
“The tournament provides the perfect opportunity to inspire girls and boys throughout the country to get involved in football. By working with the National Literacy Trust and Rebellion, we can also use the excitement and profile of the tournament to engage students in reading and literacy too.”
“We’re delighted to be sending Roy, Rocky and Ffion to the Women’s World Cup,” said Rob Power, Deputy Publishing Manager at Rebellion. “This is the first time Rocky – or indeed any female character – has taken the lead on a Roy of the Rovers story, and it’s fitting that this should come about in the 65th anniversary of Roy’s first appearance in comics.
“Rocky and Ffion are as integral to the Roy of the Rovers world as Roy himself, and we’re proud to support women’s football and the Lionesses as they make their bid for World Cup glory!”
Following increased investment in the women’s game, the charity has developed the Women’s World Cup School Resources to give more profile to the women’s game in schools and increase opportunities for young people to develop a love of football in line with the upcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup.
• To download the first chapter of Rocky of the Rovers: France 2019, visit: literacytrust.org.uk/womensworldcup
• The Youth Sport Trust resources can be accessed via girlsfootballinschools.org
• Roy of he Rovers Official Site: royoftheroversofficial.com
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