Quotes by: Malorie Blackman
||Oneta Malorie Blackmann
8 February 1962
Clapham, London, England
||Children's literature, science fiction, mystery, thriller and horror; poetry
A love of books has opened so many doors for me. Stories have inspired me and taught me to aspire.
I remember being in a history lesson and saying to my teacher, 'How come you never talk about black scientists and inventors and pioneers?' And she looked at me and said, 'Because there aren't any.'
I didn't even enter a bookshop until I was 14 because I couldn't afford books until I got my first Saturday job, but by the time I was six or seven, I spent practically every Saturday down my local library reading as much as I could and getting out as many books as I could.
Any anxieties publishers have about putting a child on the front cover of a book who isn't white is very old fashioned.
The worst thing about being the laureate has been the attitude of a tiny minority of adults who haven't liked some of the things I'm supposed to have said and who have used it as an opportunity to be verbally abusive and nasty, but I haven't let it rule my world!
I try to widen the horizons of every child I meet, and part of that is promoting diverse forms, be it graphic novels, stories told in a narrative voice, or more translated books, as well as more diverse writers and more diverse characters.
I started reading seriously at seven or eight, books about myths and legends, the Narnia series. By the time I was 11, I had read all the children's books in my local library, so I moved on to 'Jane Eyre.' What I loved about Jane Eyre was that she didn't rely on her looks but her character. She had a spirit nobody could break.
I loved reading when I grew up but did feel totally invisible because I couldn't see myself and my life reflected in the books I was reading.
I read a lot of highly unsuitable books for an 11-year-old. I was desperate to read as widely as possible. I thought, 'There are so many places I am never going to get the chance to visit, but I can if I read them.' And I did. I could go anywhere in the world - and off it - by reading.
I would like to use stories as a springboard for children to make their own creative responses. I would like to encourage them to express themselves using music, art, film or whatever, and upload it to a website having been inspired by particular stories.
When I was a teenager, reading for me was as normal, as unremarkable as eating or breathing. Reading gave flight to my imagination and strengthened my understanding of the world, the society I lived in, and myself. More importantly, reading was fun, a way to live more than one life as I immersed myself in each good book I read.
Teenagers are some of the most passionate, dynamic and creative people I know. Yet, too often, this creative spark is left to flicker precariously and sometimes fade entirely.
I suppose I've always lived in my own head. I didn't discover boys till sixth form. Then suddenly it was, 'Oh! Boys!'
Being the Children's Laureate has been educational, sometimes hectic, but most of all, great fun.
I hope to instill, in every child I meet, my love and enthusiasm for reading and stories.
I remember going into a bookshop, and the only book I saw with a black child on the cover was 'A Thief in the Village' by James Berry, and I thought, 'Is this still the state of publishing?' Then I thought, 'Either I can whine about it or try to do something about it.'
There is a saying: 'The child is parent to the adult', which means whatever happens to you as a child or teenager affects the adult you become. You are forged in your history. And fiction is an incredibly important force in shaping children, and that's why fiction needs to be diverse.
I'm one of the few adults lucky enough to love their job. And when you've got bills to pay, you get on with it! I like challenges.
The best thing about being Children's Laureate has definitely been all the children and teens I've met.