Summer Reading Club
space craft special edition 2017

Michael Panckridge

I have to start off with a confession… I was pretty hopeless at reading and writing at school. Yup. There, it’s out there! I really struggled, especially in primary school. All I wanted to do when I was a kid was play football and cricket, depending on the time of year.

But the hours and hours I spent kicking the football and hitting the tennis ball were not wasted, no way. Little did I know that the passion I had for sport would one day turn into me being an author.

As a reluctant reader I was inspired to write a sporty story for someone who loved their sport but wasn’t so keen on reading. (Me!)

So the Legends series came into being; an eight book series about a group of girls and boys vying to be the legend of a whole stack of different sports–surfing, cricket, tennis, football (AFL), netball, soccer, basketball, athletics and swimming. That would have been my dream school as a kid; a little bit of English; a little bit of Maths–and a whole WHOLE lot of sport!

While this was happening I was also teaming up with Aussie fast bowler Brett Lee to write the five book Toby Jones series, about the adventures of a boy who is able to travel back in time!

I’m a bit of a rugby league fan too so did NOT say no when the chance came to write the League of Legends series with Aussie star Laurie Daley.

Other books I’ve written have been the Clued Up Series with Pam Harvey. Set in a country town, it’s a six-book series where a group of friends get involved in a series of mysteries and adventures – horses, moto-cross riding, ghosts and UFOs are just some of the topics explored!

I have also written the four book Big Bash cricket series. Each of the Big Bash teams feature in four different but exciting and action-packed stories. Another set of four books is due out later this year!

Another FUN project was writing the latest AFL Factivity book–a magazine style booklet filled with fun facts, games, quizzes, activities and stickers. I so wish that had been around when I was a kid!

There’s also a book called Be Bully Free–a practical, hands-on guide to help anyone who has experienced bullying. I wrote this with Cathie Thornton. I wrote the stories about the various ways different kids were being bullied and then Cathie wrote awesome tips to help stop the bullying.

I also have written non-sporty books too! There’s The Cursed, The Vanishings and The Immortal. These are adventure books with elements of mystery and intrigue–even a bit scary and sinister. Not to be read at night! Another series is The Book of Gabrielle – a creepy and spooky tale about a girl without a past and an extraordinary ability to see things other people can’t.

SRC Team note: Michael is one of our Guest Blogger’s this year. Learn more about Michael and his tips for great writing by following his weekly blog this summer!

Getting to Know Michael Panckridge

Game On: How did you get into writing?

I am a teacher and I was teaching a Year 6 class. I had a boy in my class who reminded me of me as a youngster; not that interested in reading! So, I thought I’d try and write a sporty story for him. A story with lots of info and scores and maps and ladders and results and a quiz and things like that so it would be a story but also have non-fiction or info text to help him enjoy it more… and it worked!!

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

No, the truth is that I didn’t really think about being an author until much later on. My dad loved books and wrote one too so I think that helped. I was always surrounded by books as a child growing up.

What are some of your favourite games to play?

Football and cricket are probably my two favourites. But I also enjoyed playing soccer, basketball, rugby and hockey. I love keeping fit so enjoy running, but I don’t think that’s a game! I don’t mind a spot of table tennis either!

Do you have a favourite sport, sporting event or sporting hero?

Growing up in Geelong means you’re probably going to barrack for the Cats. My dad took me to games and I loved that. Doug Wade was a legend in the late 1960s; he took big marks and kicked plenty of goals. He was my hero as that was my dream–to take speccy’s for the Cats and kick plenty of goals.

What kinds of activities do you like to do to supercharge your summers?

As I mentioned, running is a fave of mine. Maybe a dip in the ocean. A good book in a shady spot is an awesome way to escape too!

Can you recommend some good GAME ON reads for our SRC Members?

There’s plenty of great sporty books out there; lots written by people still playing sport. You know what? Any book that takes you away from your world right now and into a different place; a place where you smile, laugh cry, tremble… anything! If that happens to you, you’ve found a great book. 


To learn more about Michael visit his website.

A Creative Tip

Let your imagination loose.

For me, the idea for the story is super important. Coming up with an awesome idea and then playing around with it and making it grow is so fun. So take the time to close your eyes and dream and wonder. Find a quiet spot and let your imagination loose. It’s important prep work before you actually touch the pen of the keyboard.

Hot Off the Press

Michael Panckridge newest book series is now available. Have you had a chance to read them yet?

Book Title: Big Bash League: #1 Switch–Hit Showdown

Publisher: Random House Australia

Recommended Reading Age: 8–12

Book Description:

Star batter and die-hard Melbourne Renegades fan Barney is pumped that his school team is going to play in the first-ever T20 Blast School Cup! The competition is nearly full, with just one spot remaining. Then Barney meets Fifi – a Melbourne Stars supporter who is desperate to be part of the action. Problem is, her school doesn’t have a cricket team . . .

So when word spreads that the final school has signed up, Barney is shocked to discover that it’s led by none other than Fifi. To make matters worse, her team blitzes the opposition in their opening game. It seems a spy mission is in order!

Will the truth come out before Barney and Fifi’s teams collide in the grand final?

Other titles:

  • Big Bash League: #2 Captains’ Clash
  • Big Bash League: #3 Double Delivery
  • Big Bash League: #4 Carnival Splash
  • Big Bash League: #5 Academy Smash
  • Big Bash League: #6 Championship Dash
  • Big Bash League: #7 Representative Clash
  • Big Bash League: #8 Carnival Splash

Sneak Peak

Read a few preview chapters now!

Celebrity Corner

Want to learn more about our other Celebrity Authors? Return to Celebrity Corner to find out more.