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Julia Eccleshare M.B.E. - Editorial Expert

About Julia Eccleshare M.B.E.

Julia Eccleshare has spent her working life to date within children’s books as a critic, an editor, an author and a commentator. Apart from her current role as Editorial contributor and advisor to Lovereading4kids, she is the children’s editor of the Guardian, Head of Policy and Advocacy at the Public Lending Right and most recently she has added the role of Children's Director of the Hay Festival.

She selected and wrote children's book reviews for the Good Book Guide for a number of years, she has co-edited and is the author of a number of books including the Rough Guide to Teenage Literature, the fascinating and insightful Beatrix Potter to Harry Potter: Portraits of Children’s Writers, which is a celebration of a century of children’s literature, as well as Treasure Islands: the Woman’s Hour Guide to Children’s Books. She also spent some considerable time as a children’s fiction editor in UK publishing. She has been a selector to the Children’s Books of the Year, a guide to the best books published annually, a member of the advisory board of a children’s book club and for some while was children’s books editor of The Bookseller. She regularly appears as a judge or Chair of judges on some of the major children’s book prizes including the Whitbread (now called the Costa) and the Nestle among others.

Latest Reviews By Julia Eccleshare M.B.E.

Oxenbury is an amazing illustrator, who has given us many of the well-loved classics of childhood reading. Here is an honest, beautifully illustrated look at the life of a modern illustrator, and her life. A book to read, to dip into and to just enjoy. Tricia Adams, from our Best Autobiographies Ever Blog.   An outstanding book for everyone who has enjoyed We’re Going on a Bear Hunt or any of Helen Oxenbury’s other wonderful books from her board books capturing the smallest details of toddler life to her witty and sophisticated illustrations to ... View Full Review
This deservedly best-selling series launches with a powerful love story that thrills and chills in equal measure. Sailing from New York, 16 year old Tessa Gray arrives in Victorian London to meet her brother. But nothing goes according to plan and Tessa finds herself instead in the Downworld, a terrifying supernatural place of vampires, demons and warlocks. How Tessa survives before falling in love – the biggest danger of all! – is a terrifying and passionate read. This is a new urban fantasy full of vampires, werewolves and shape-shifters from the bestselling author of The Mortal Instruments series. View Full Review
Award winning author Katherine Rundell is as passionate about reading children’s books as she is about writing them. In this brief but and perfectly structured handbook she encourages all readers to think about the particular qualities of children’s books and about the special experience of reading as a child – which she remembers clearly. Drawing on her deep knowledge of children’s stories and supporting her arguments with endorsing quotes from writers of all kinds she sets out her defence of the book’s title in brief sections.  She is as much at ... View Full Review
Former Children’s Laureate Malorie Blackman makes a brilliant return to her best-selling Noughts and Crosses series with an all-guns-blazing story of prejudice, love, ambition, politics and violence. In the series launch title, Sephy, a Cross, and Callum, a Nought, challenged the divisions in their society. They paid a heavy price for doing so but they did make changes; racial and class barriers were brought down and the future would be brighter. Or so they thought. But a generation on, while superficially things look better, the prejudices are never far away and where they are, violence follows. When the ... View Full Review
Award winning Hilary McKay tells a captivating and deeply moving story of three young people growing up in the years before and during World War One. How their lives were totally changed by the War, how what really happened to the soldiers could never be talked about and how a girl like Clarry suddenly had opportunities because of the war are all touched on in a story that is also about universal adolescent relationships and the timeless concerns of being a teenager. Following their mother’s death at her birth, Clarry and her older brother Peter live a joyless ... View Full Review
A special anniversary edition, with a striking new cover design, to celebrate 10 years of the Chaos Walking trilogy. Prize-winning author Patrick Ness follows up The Knife of Never Letting Go with equally hard hitting The Ask and the Answer. Trying to escape, Todd and Viola fall into the hands of Mayor Prentiss. Separated from Viola and imprisoned, Todd can tell there are some deep and dark secrets outside the town. Who are the mysterious Answer? As gripping as The Knife of Never Letting Go, this is a tough but compelling story which takes readers into shocking ... View Full Review
A special anniversary edition, with a striking new cover design, to celebrate 10 years of the Chaos Walking trilogy. This is a spine-tingling, page turning read. Heaped with well-deserved awards, the Chaos Walking Trilogy comes to a brilliant conclusion in Monsters of Men. Set in a dystopian future in a world where all thoughts can be heard, Todd and Viola have struggled to survive. Now three armies are marching on New Prentisstown. Todd and Viola have no chance of escape but, worse still, they have no chance of making peace. Can any hope remain in the wake of such destruction? Patrick ... View Full Review
Shortlisted for the Costa Book Awards 2017, Costa Children's Book Award Wed Wabbit is a tour de force! Lissa Evans’s hilarious, madcap adventure is both effervescent and tautly plotted making it impossible to put down. When Fidge furiously kicks her little sister’s beloved soft toy, the Wed Wabbit, into the road she unleashes an imaginary caper that sends her and her spoilt cousin Graham into the world of the ridiculous Wimbley Woos, blobby characters of different colours who only speak in rhyming couplets. But are they so ridiculous? By the end of their adventure, and with the ... View Full Review
*** Suitable for ages 16+ Shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2017 | In turns brutal and passionate, Beck is an utterly compelling story of survival and romance which will catch the breath of all readers and inspire them to fight against injustice. And to trust in the power of love. The eponymous Beck’s fate is a bleak one: conceived accidentally, orphaned young and betrayed by all those who might have looked after him, Beck is dispatched to Canada, a country then in the grip of depression. Abused by the Christian Brothers and still a young child, Beck is sent into a ... View Full Review
A Review for Changeling, the first in the Order of Darkness series:   Best-selling Philippa Gregory’s first book for teenagers is a thrilling story of malice and betrayal, courage and passion. Tricked out of her inheritance by her greedy and duplicitous brother, Isolde must swap ruling over her own castle and estate for a life of confinement as the Lady Abbess of the local nunnery. Bad things are happening among the nuns and soon Isolde’s life is in grave danger as she is accused of heresy, a crime which carries the penalty of being burnt ... View Full Review
Selected by a distinguished independent panel of experts including our editorial expert, Julia Eccleshare, for Diverse Voices - 50 of the best Children's Books celebrating cultural diversity in the UK. Michael Rosen on a compelling favourite: "A book that dared to go where no one thought you could with young audiences because it raises tough stuff to do with race."  It takes a brave author such as Malorie Blackman to consider a sequence of the like of Noughts and Crosses and to pull it off with utmost aplomb. Award-winning author Blackman has tackled the issues of racism and prejudice in ... View Full Review
This thrilling new title in award-winning Malorie Blackman’s cleverly observed series, which began with Noughts and Crosses, captures the drama and potential violence of growing up – especially in a world where the Noughts are willing to use violence against the darker skinned Crosses.  Violence erupts after a bomb goes off in a hotel killing Callie Rose’s grandmother. While everyone blames a Nought terrorist, Callie Rose knows the truth and it involves her boyfriend Tobey. Malorie Blackman has a great gift for showing all sides of an issue and how individuals make their choices. ~ Julia ... View Full Review