Malorie Blackman is the new Children’s Laureate

By Chris Jarosh

Congratulations to Malorie Blackman, who has been announced as the new Children’s Laureate. She will hold the title for two years, during which time she says she will be hoping to see “more children reading more”. The position is appointed partly in recognition of a lifetime’s contribution to children’s literature. Malorie has written books for children of all ages and reading levels, so there’s something among her work for every child to enjoy (and more than a few adults, too). To mark her appointment, we’re celebrating the breadth of Malorie’s writing by highlighting some of her most popular AR quizzed books at each reading level.

Upper Years

Book covers for the Noughts and Crosses sequenceMalorie Blackman is probably best known for her Noughts and Crosses series, published between 2002 and 2008. It is set in an alternative world, where the white noughts are treated as an inferior race to the black Crosses. Callum is a nought; Sephy is a Cross and the daughter of an important politician. Their relationship is not tolerated, and the series follows the impications of life in a society built on racial prejudice and inequality.

Middle Years

Cover image for Pig-Heart BoyBook cover for Cloud Busting

Pig-Heart Boy is, after Noughts and Crosses, the second most commonly taken Reading Practice quiz of Malorie’s in AR. It tells the story of 13-year-old Cameron who is in need of a heart transplant. When a pioneering doctor proposes the controversial solution of a pig’s heart transplant, Cameron has to respond to ethical challenges as well as his medical condition. The book was nominated for the Carnegie medal in 2007 and adapted successfully for television a few years later.

Fans of narrative poetry will love Cloud Busting, which is written in verse. Sam is a bully, and Davey is the odd-one-out at school; universally unpopular and an easy target for teasing. When Davey saves Sam’s life, however, the two become friends and their relationship has a profound effect on each boy.


Book covers for Hostage

Hostage is published by Barrington Stoke, who specialise in books for struggling and reluctant readers. There are two editions of the story: one is specifically designed to be read by those of a lower reading age, as part of the 4u2read series. The story is about a girl who is kidnapped after school. Angela is held to ransom, and must draw on her bravery and sense of adventure in her escape.

Lower Years

Book cover for Sinclair, Wonder BearBook cover for the Monster Crisp Guzzler

Among Malorie Blackman’s most popular Lower Years titles is Sinclair, Wonder Bear. Sinclair is Emily’s teddy bear. While she is fast asleep in bed at night, Sinclair travels to far-flung places to rescue people and avert disaster. When he gets tired, he has to fly back to bed before Emily wakes up… and before he falls asleep.

For fast food/fantasy monster crossover fiction, look no further than The Monster Crisp-Guzzler, an early reader title from Egmont. Mira’s first day at school takes an unexpected turn when she discovers that something strange happens when her teacher eats crisps. This strange behaviour becomes very useful, however, when a school trip to the beach goes wrong.

Posted on 4 June 2013 at 4:16 pm
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