Set in an alternative reality to the current day, Malorie Blackman’s Noughts and Crosses books (there are currently four of them in the series) posits a world divided into two: crosses, the ruling black people, and noughts, white people. Malorie Blackman cleverly finds things we take for granted in our society and turns them on their head, forcing the reader to challenge their preconceptions of the world. 

The first book in the series, Noughts and Crosses, establishes the central characters, notably Sephy Haley, a cross, and Callum McGregor, a nought. It is clear from the outset that their relationship will be pivotal to the plot: noughts and crosses do not usually mix and their friendship is discouraged by both their families. The book is very compelling and ends leaving the reader wanting to dash straight into the next book!

Discussion Questions

1)    Is the alternative reality Malorie Blackman has created believable? Why/why not?

2)    Would you want to live in a world divided by nought and Crosses? Who would want to live in this sort of world?

3)    Who do you identify more with - Callum or Sephy - and why?

4)    Before you read the next book in the series: what do you think could happen next? How could things get worse for the noughts? How could they get better?

5)    Which real events (if any) do you think Malorie Blackman has based her book on? Does this change your answer to question four?