Byker Grove may now be a vintage TV memory but seeing one of its former writers – Malorie Blackman – win the Children’s Laureate post raises a smile in this blogger.
I couldn’t think of a better schooling for a writer now commanded to champion youth issues. And Blackman has clearly soared since then anyway, her teen novel Noughts and Crosses won multiple awards for its handling of race and ethnicity issues.
With over 60 books to her name mostly pitched to the teen audience, she comes from a different part of the children’s writing spectrum than her immediate predecessor – Julia Donaldson – but very much hopes to continue Donaldson’s work in promoting libraries, saying on receiving her award “as I would never have become an author if it hadn’t been for my local library as a child, I intend to continue Julia Donaldson’s amazing, indefatigable work advocating for our nation’s public library service.”
In other contexts that would be a fairly modest ambition, but with continuing budget cuts haunting town halls across the UK, protecting libraries from being wiped out of our children’s experience is in fact a bold campaign. A worthy winner of the crown, let’s hope Malorie succeeds in doing just that.