'Boys Don't Cry' by Malorie Blackman
Malorie Blackman is a prominent, British author who is often celebrated for her thought-provoking and influential literary contributions. She was Children’s Laureate from 2013 to 2015 and her notable works, such as the award-winning ‘Noughts and Crosses’, have left a powerful mark in the world of literature. She is particularly known for exploring ethical and societal issues in her writing.
‘Boys Don't Cry’ is a gripping novel that addresses the complexities of masculinity and vulnerability – both highly topical themes for the classroom today. The book is best suited to those in KS3 and KS4, and explores the emotional journey of Dante, a teenage boy who struggles to navigate societal expectations when he unexpectedly becomes a father, aged 17. He faces powerful emotions and challenges, and the book offers a great many thought-provoking themes – all excellent material for class discussion.
Dante, a resilient yet also introspective character, is coming to terms with fatherhood as well as the general complexities of adolescence and identity. The narrative beautifully captures the challenges he faces as a black, teenage boy living in a predominantly white community. He grapples with the stereotypes imposed on him, and the emotional journey he embarks on is never straightforward. As with all Blackman’s books, the writing really makes the reader think.
Gender identity and the societal norms of masculinity are explored quite heavily, including how gender roles can be confining and often detrimental to individual identity. Blackman’s themes offer a mature portrayal of the struggles faced by those who perhaps don’t conform to traditional gender expectations.
Blackman also addresses the pervasive issue of social inequality and discrimination, shedding light on the prejudices and injustices that permeate society. The novel confronts the harsh realities faced by individuals from marginalised backgrounds, offering a searing critique of systemic inequality. Blackman's portrayal of these themes serves as a powerful call to action, prompting readers to critically examine and challenge the inequities present in the world around them.
Another prominent theme is friendship and loyalty – the story showcases the profound impact that genuine connections have, especially in the face of adversity. Dante's relationship with his brother Adam, and his father, both provide powerful topics for thought and conversation.
'Boys Don’t Cry' tackles lots of tough themes and can be both touching and hard-hitting at the same time. An ideal read for teenagers who prefer a thought-provoking read more to an overly sentimental one! Blackman’s language is varied and expressive; we hope the word lists we have created for Boys Don’t Cry will help teachers and students to explore the text further.
See below for the 'Boys Don't Cry' words. You can also access an editable list here.
As well as word lists, we also offer free use of our vocabulary cards, which can be downloaded as a PDF for use in class. Complete a short form and we will email you the cards straight away.
Vocabulary cards include:
- Word type;
- Synonyms and antonyms;
- Example sentence;
Check out our weekly lists every Wednesday! Click here for last week's curation...
The Vocab Module - How it Works
The Vocab module is simple. It's online. Each learner has their own username and password. You (the teacher) allocate the word list you'd like your class to work on. And away they go!
Find out more about our Vocab module. It's simple, online, and each learner has their own username and password. You (the teacher) allocate the word list you'd like your class to work on... and away they go!