All to Play For bookcover

All to Play For

Eve Ainsworth, Kirsti Beautyman

Acclaimed author Eve Ainsworth tackles the increasing expense of football for working-class kids in this touching story of family, community and beating the odds.

Lewis loves football more than anything else in the world, so he’s thrilled when his talent is spotted by a local coach. But there are some big obstacles in his way. His mum doesn’t want him to have anything to do with the game because of what happened to his dad on the pitch. And even if Lewis can persuade her to let him give it a go, there’s no way they can afford the kit. Can Lewis beat the odds to have a chance of following his dream?

Latest reviews

fun and games

I really enjoyed this book it's about football and got a happy ending

I read this as part of a book club and loved it! My first thoughts were that the football focus could be great for engaging children who enjoy sports but are maybe less enthusiastic readers. I also enjoyed the characters, particularly considering children who may read this book and see themselves represented in the characters. It was interesting while reading to think about how you could ask children about the dilemma of being stuck between following your dreams and adhering to your family's expectations or wishes. In this sense, I felt that this book could be a really interesting starting point for P4C discussions with children about familial pressures, exploring why the characters felt how they did, etc.

Lewis loves football but his mum won’t let him play, not only is the kit and training too expensive but she blames football for the sudden and tragic death of Lewis’ dad. That leaves Lewis practicing his skills in secret round the back of the flats where he lives and this is where he is spotted by a local football coach, Ash. Ash offers Lewis some free sessions at his summer football academy but how can Lewis persuade his mum to let him go without upsetting her? I’m not a fan of football so I’m not sure why I even picked this one up but I was hooked from the very first page. The whole story was easy to relate to and the main character Lewis is wonderful, he’s dealt with a lot in his 12 short years and my heart ached for him. Lewis’ dad, Jeremy died when he was just a baby and his family that had moved here from Mauritius, all went back there leaving Lewis with just his mum and she’s still grieving for the man she loved and lost. As a single parent money is tight but it’s clear that Lewis is her world and she just wants to protect him and to her, that means no football even if it is Lewis’ dream to play. I thought that the issue of a difficult financial situation was dealt with compassionately and Lewis’ best friend Jermaine is fantastic, readily sharing his old football and football boots with Lewis so that he can join in. Their friendship felt very real as did the jealousy from another boy that led to some short term bullying. Published by Barrington Stoke, All to Play For is super accessible for dyslexics, struggling and reluctant readers, it’s also a great age appropriate read for children who enjoy a shorter chapter book. With short paragraphs and chapters, interspersed with great pictures football fan or not this is a really good read.


I love stories with happy endings.

well i really just like it

Lewis has a unbreakable habit of playing his desired and at most loved game of football. Luckily his local coach is startled by his unique talent of the game.However there is some serious obstacles.His mum is not happy of this and blames it from chaos in the family. Will he ever play it?


Nice book

Lewis Cooper loves football more than anything else in the world, so he's thrilled when his talent is spotted by a local coach. The person I liked best was Lewis and Ash. Ash was so nice to Lewis to let him participate in some sessions.m when he saw his skills. Lewis was pretty confident and smart not to have given up his dreams. Also, though his mom was firm and not willing to allow Lewis to play football but was very happy to see him accomplish his dreams eventually.

I love all the wonders and mysteries about this book I like how the cover says( all to play for)

My favourite character was ash because he let Lewis play football at his academy. I would recommend the book to my football playing friends.


It was amazing

Very good book everyone should read this

This is my type of book. That was amazing

It was good, really taught good lessons and it’s actually very realistic and relatable!


I love this... I would recommend it to footy lovers but even if you don’t love football like me you might still enjoy it because it is as if he is braking through a wall his mum made to get to this football academy.

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