Malorie Blackman is one of Britain's most beloved children writers. But for many black women, she is especially significant. Reading Malorie’s novels was the first time we saw the fullness of our lives and cultures represented in children’s fiction. Iconic works like Pig Heart Boy and Hacker kept us gripped (and in my case, staying up long after bedtime with the night light on) but also held up a mirror to our childhoods. They were thrilling yet tender, action-packed yet full of heart. They were the stories we deserved, yet so rarely had.
Malorie’s most famous work is Noughts & Crosses. Voted as one of the UK’s best-loved books, the concept is simple yet captivating. How would contemporary Britain look if black people had power over white people? The Noughts are white and have little social power, while the Crosses are black and therefore privileged. As well as being a thought-provoking portrayal of how racism and class injustice infects society, it’s fast-paced and tightly plotted. Even the most reluctant of readers find themselves absorbed by the world of Malorie’s creation.