Football and Literacy – A Great Combination for Kids

Katrina Germein and Janine Dawson’s new book Great Goal, Marvellous Mark is a seamless creation that blends football with alphabet

This is a great book for teaching kids their ABC, especially active football loving readers who may be more focussed on sport than literacy.

What I love about Great Goal, Marvellous Mark is that the entire alphabet is encapsulated in this book without the reader realising.

It’s an ABC book with a difference … one that will teach kids the letters of the alphabet before they even realise they’ve learned them, and readers will be completely engrossed in the story.

Janine Dawson’s lively illustrations, full of action and warmth, also carry this tale along.

I love the expressions on the kid’s faces, and the mud and slush of a true football game in winter.

Kids will love the humor and movement of the illustrations and the fast paced text.
Great Goal, Marvellous Mark is a book that sport loving parents can read to their kids, or the kids can enjoy alone.

Text and illustrations work in perfect harmony to ensure that this book will appeal to both readers and sport enthusiasts.


We are so lucky that best-selling author, Katrina Germein has agreed to share her fabulous writing tips with us:

  1. Write about something new. 

Things that have been in our lives forever are often the hardest to write about well. That’s because we either take them for granted, or we’re too sentimental; we can’t easily identify the details that make the story interesting or entertaining. When we begin something new as an outsider, we’re observant and curious. That makes for good writing.

I didn’t grow up in a football family and yet one day I found myself the parent of two kids who played Aussie Rules. Junior footy became a big part of my life and it was all new to me. Hours on the sideline trying to make sense of it all resulted in this book.

Love this tip

  1. Be prepared to play with the structure.

Thorough editing is always the key to a good picture book manuscript. Sometimes you can get away with tightening up each paragraph, each sentence, word by word, but other times you need to find a whole new way of organising the story. I played around with junior footy stories for years before I managed to make Great Goal, Marvellous Mark really work. The first two ‘final’ manuscripts are quite different to the published story. I didn’t plan to write an alphabet book, but using an alphabetic structure for the narrative just worked in this case; it provided a wonderful way to showcase the game and celebrate footy lingo.

  1. Take a big deep breath and listen to the experts.

When you’ve rewritten your manuscript fifty million times, and it’s been accepted, and the contact is signed, and the illustrator has begun, it’s easy to feel like the hard work is done. I was lucky enough to have the fabulous Sue Whiting edit my contracted story but despite her expertise and diplomacy I may have had one small tantrum at some point and claimed to be ‘overwhelmed’. Luckily, I got over myself and listened to Sue because her suggestions were small but brilliant and the story is much better as a result.

This is really great advice

  1. Advocate for Diversity

I love the diversity of the engaging characters illustrated in the book. Janine Dawson’s lively illustrations are exactly what I was hoping for. The vibrant art adds layers of action and humour to the story and is inclusive of gender and a broad range of cultural backgrounds. It’s wonderful when author, publisher, designer and illustrator share the same vision. Authors are constantly told to stay out of the illustration process but if something is really important to you, mention it, because you might find that everyone shares the same vision.

I love the diversity in this book too.

  1. Dogs make everything better.

If you can find an authentic way to include a dog in your story then do it. Dogs bring joy (in life and books).

I so agree with this tip 🙂 Thanks for these great writing tips, Katrina.

Just by coincidence, I happen to have a dog book coming out later this year myself … and another book with a dog in it. Dogs Rule!


Hope you enjoyed Katrina’s great tips.

Happy writing 🙂