18 August 2023

Thanks to the amazing Matildas, footy fever has hit Australia! No more so than for our kids who are connecting with the sport more than ever before.

Image: Close-up of Kristin Darell standing in front of a fence covered with ivy. Next to her photo is images of the Football Fever book series.

There is no doubt that the Matildas represent important role models for young women and girls. However, their positive representation doesn’t stop there. The Matilda’s have connected both young boys and girls with the sport, and as a result, our kids are connecting with all sorts of opportunities that stem from their spirit, grit, and joy.

For us at Life Without Barriers, providing opportunities for children and young people in out-of-home care is a priority, and one such opportunity is our annual Hook into Books™ campaign.

Hook into Books™ aims to inspire, or hook, a love of reading and storytelling for all children and young people in care. This year, we are beyond thrilled to have a new author supporting the campaign, Kristin Darell, who has found that hook through her series Footy Fever.

Footy Fever is an action-packed junior fiction series in partnership with Football Australia. Featuring CommBank Matildas and Socceroos stars Sam Kerr, Ellie Carpenter, Mary Fowler, Rhyan Grant, Joel King – to name a few!

There are so many literacy opportunities available to inspire and grow young readers, and sports provide opportunities for teaching life lessons to children. Whether it’s a great sports metaphor or an inspiring story of perseverance, resilience, patience, shared wins, and experiences of losing.

The scope for books is so wide, from picture books, and middle to upper primary chapter books, to autobiographies and biographies for older readers.

In the spirit of getting behind the Matilda’s, here’s a list of some wonderful footy books (all codes). Maybe one of these will hook your young reader!

For the little ones (3 to 6 years)

  • Soccer Baby by Diane Adams (a board book)

  • Grug plays Soccer by Ted Prior

  • Maisy Plays Soccer by Lucy Cousins

  • I can be a Socceroo by Kyla May

  • Little People Big Dreams by Marcus Rachford

  • Little Nics Big World by Nic Naitanui

  • Little Bont and the big secret by Marcus Bontempelli

  • Kick with my left foot by Paul Seden and Karen Briggs

  • My Deadly Boots by Hakea Hussler and Carl Merrison

  • Backyard footy by Hakea Hussler and Carl Merrison

6, 7 years +

  • Sporty Kids Soccer by Felice Arena

  • Sam Kerr Kicking Goals Series by Sam Kerr

  • Tiny Timmy Series by Tim Cahill

  • Why I love Footy by Michael Wagner

9 years +

  • Football Fever Series by Kristin Darell

  • The Football Boy Wonder by Martin Smith

  • The Academy by T.Z. Layton

  • I can play sports by Thomas Kingsley Troupe

  • Deadly D and Justice Jones by David Hartley and Scott Prince


  • What makes a Matilda by the Matildas

  • My Journey to the World Cup by Sam Kerr

  • The Matilda Effect by Fiona Crawford

Journals, Handbooks, Puzzle books

  • Where’s the Footy (5 years+)

  • Fifa Women’s World Cup 2023: Kids Handbook

  • Sam Kerr Kicking Goals Journal

Hook Into Books™!

Supporting Children and Young People to build bright futures through education and learning “Everyday Everyway”.

Related Stories