When Malorie Blackman started her writing career back in 1990, the world of young adult and children’s fiction was injected with an exciting, futuristic flair. Holding the position of Children’s Laureate from 2013 to 2015, Blackman has since written more than 70 children’s books, including novels, short story collections, television scripts and even a stage play.
Her name is one that most UK millennials will know well, as Blackman’s work has shaped many of our childhoods – whether we picked her tomes up at the school book fair or snapped them up from a local library as soon as availability allowed. However, if you’re among the uninitiated, then fear not: we’ve pulled together a few Malorie Blackman classics to give you a peek into this author’s lifetime of writing.
For spy enthusiasts in search of a thrill, you’ll be heartened to discover that A.N.T.I.D.O.T.E. has it in troves. Constantly wishing his mum had a more interesting job than being a secretary, Elliot’s world implodes when her face is plastered all over the news, with CCTV footage of her breaking into the premises of a pharmaceutical giant on behalf of A.N.T.I.D.O.T.E, an environmental action group.
With his uncle under arrest and his mum on the run, Elliot finds himself in a jumbled mess of espionage, hacking and environmental activism. An adventure with more twists than you can count, Blackman’s masterful pen conjured up another engrossing read, further cementing her place as one of the most imaginative children writers the UK has ever seen.
Though awards are by no means the only marker of a book’s critical acclaim, Malorie Blackman’s Thief! received no major accolades and is arguably one of her most underrated works. Here’s why.
Lydia, the new girl in school still acclimatising to her family’s move from a small town to London, is accused of theft. From there, things just get worse and, ultimately, she decides to run away.
On an evening where a strange storm is brewing, she finds herself swallowed up by it and spat out in the future. A future where her home town is ruled by a cruel tyrant, townspeople risk being shot at if they breach curfew and an awful confrontation awaits her. Technology meets the supernatural, with every page offering a new layer of intrigue to the book - for that reason, Thief! will always be a winner in our eyes.