Frank Lampard: He writes. He scores. So where, exactly, is the harm in that?

Frankie’s Magic Football currently stands at 3,080 in the Amazon sales chart. Is it really so terrible if publishers print books by footballers?

Share

Are children’s books in terminal decline? The children’s author GP Taylor seems to think so. Having written 14 books (including Shadowmancer and the Mariah Mundi series), he should know what he’s talking about. He sees the rise of celebrity authors as one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse (literally, in the case of Katie Price, who has published the Perfect Ponies series).

It’s hard not to agree with him in part: children’s authors have both an opportunity and a responsibility that adult authors don’t have. If you write the first book a child reads on their own and they love it, you create a reader for life. The impact of a great children’s book can stay with us for ever. There’s a reason why there are currently two huge West End shows based on Roald Dahl novels. But if children don’t enjoy their early reading experiences, they may equally be put off for life: a child who hasn’t read lots of books already may not realise that a bad book is a bad book. Sometimes, they just think books aren’t for them.

The good thing about Katie Price and the footballer Frank Lampard putting their names to children’s books is that the books themselves are ghosted by people who are presumably more capable of plotting, pacing and characterisation, if less good at football and whatever it is that Katie Price does. But Taylor worries. “Bookshops have gone for the lowest common denominator. It’s not about the days of Philip Pullman and Philip Reeve, who were bringing out exciting new books and booksellers were wanting to tell people. Now it’s about … getting on the couch on a television show.”

But is it really so terrible if publishers print books by footballers? Frank Lampard isn’t costing GP Taylor his readers: Frankie’s Magic Football was published two months ago, and currently stands at 3,080 in the Amazon sales chart. It’s only sixth in the Amazon chart for children’s fiction about sport. Lampard’s England team-mate Theo Walcott also has a series of kids’ books out and, as with Lampard’s, they are designed for a very young readership. And if a child’s first book is about a boy who finds a magic football, he might appreciate the more sophisticated magic of Pullman, Reeve or Taylor when he’s a bit older.

Taylor bemoans the fact that he has three major film adaptations of his books coming out but can’t get a publishing deal, which admittedly sounds bizarre. But in April last year, he gave an interview to the Daily Mail explaining that he was turning to self-publishing to give him creative freedom and increase his percentage. Maybe children’s publishers thought they couldn’t compete with his improved terms.

The vast majority of children’s authors are not household names appearing on chat shows. They’re playground names, little-known to parents but loved by children. A book by a footballer won’t change that.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Home Care / Support Workers

£7 - £10 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This care provider is looking for Home ...

Recruitment Genius: Web Team Leader

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading web des...

Recruitment Genius: Client Manager

£27000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A growing, successful, friendly...

Recruitment Genius: Property Negotiator - OTE £20,000+

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This family owned, independent ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Separate lives: Boston’s streets illustrate the divide between the town’s communities  

Migrants have far more to offer than hard work and wealth creation, yet too many exist in isolation from the rest of society

Emily Dugan
Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird has sold 40 million copies  

Go Set a Watchman: Harper Lee’s new novel is more than just a literary event

Joseph Charlton
Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate