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1001 Stories Collection

Noughts and Crosses

1001 noughtsandcrosses
Added on 01st July 2020

Author Malorie Blackman
First published 2001
Publisher Random House (now Penguin Random House)

Enchanted Library Action and adventure Dystopia
1001

A powerful story for young adults that explores themes of racism and injustice.

Story

Teenagers Callum and Sephy want to be together. But Callum is a nought, a second-class citizen in a world run by Crosses, and Sephy is a Cross whose father is a dangerous and powerful man.

Noughts & Crosses is first in a ground-breaking series of young adult novels that imagine an alternate history, in which Africa colonised Europe, and 21st Century Britain is dominated by Crosses.

Why we chose it

This is a powerful and moving love story that reverses black and white to help young readers see racism and injustice from a different point of view. Told alternately from Callum and Sophie’s perspectives, it brilliantly reveals the power of stories to explore social issues and promote empathy.

Where it came from

Noughts & Crosses draws on injustices and indignities that Malorie Blackman experienced growing up in 1960s London and her feeling that black children were ignored and invisible. She wanted to be an English teacher but was steered into computer programming. After several miserable years she published a collection of short stories, Not So Stupid! Since then she has written over 50 books for children of all ages, as well as poems, plays, radio and TV dramas including an episode of Doctor Who.

Malorie Blackman was Children’s Laureate (2013-15), is a Patron of The Story Museum and has topped the Powerlist for the UK’s most influential black figures.

Where it went next

Noughts & Crosses has sold more than 1.7m copies and has many influential fans including musicians Stormzy, Tinie Tempah and Jay-Z. It has been adapted for stage and as a much-acclaimed BBC television series. Blackman is writing a sixth and final book for the series called Endgame.

Associated stories

There are four more novels in the series: Knife Edge, Checkmate, Double Cross and Crossfire and three novellas, Callum, An Eye for an Eye and Nought Forever.

In the museum

Find a Noughts and Crosses room in The Enchanted Library.

Added on 01st July 2020

Author Malorie Blackman
First published 2001
Publisher Random House (now Penguin Random House)

Enchanted Library Action and adventure Dystopia
1001