Naughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman

Recommended by Lauren Edwards (@edwardslaurennn)

Form and genre: Dystopian novel, romance, action

Length: 435 pages

Summary: A Romeo and Juliet storyline in a reverse apartheid society. Sephy is a Cross, the black ruling class and Callum is a nought, the white inferior class who were once slaves to the Crosses. Through the journey each character takes us on both are forced to confront the inequality, racism and prejudice in an alternate society.

Age recommendation and challenging content: I have studied this with Year 8 who absolutely loved it. There’s a mildly sexual part and some violence/death.

Notable reasons for recommending this book: Incredibly thought provoking and rich in discussion. Highly literary. Allows students the chance to read a book by a black author which is something a lot of students won’t have done by the time they finish school. The links to historical events (civil rights movement, Stephen Lawrence) and racism in society today (in football, Black Lives Matter protests) allowed students to consider what is happening around them and the implications of this. Links to later study- Romeo and Juliet for romance, use of prologue, family feud. Othello/ Wuthering Heights in terms of race.

Other useful information: It seems like a long novel however it is quite a fast read and it is easy to pick parts for students to look at in lessons whilst setting chunks to read for homework.