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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.

Cuckoo Song
Frances Hardinge creates a brilliant sense of menace in this chillingly dark fairy story . Something sinister, beyond just getting wet, happens to Triss when she falls into the Grimmer. Something that causes her to change in all kinds of ways which her parents don't recognise. Triss can feel the changes - she is always hungry, her hair is full of leaves, her tears are like cobwebs and her sister is terrified of her - but she cannot understand why they are happening. Somehow, Triss has been taken over. She is now a changeling and she needs to search through the ... View Full Review
A Skinful of Shadows
Award-winning Frances Hardinge’s latest novel bubbles over with brilliant ideas in a fast-paced and thought-provoking adventure encompassing families, a very special kind of haunting, spying and the English Civil War. Twelve year Makepeace has grown up practising how to defend herself against spirits who go in search of another living being to inhabit when they are released from the dead. Makepeace is skilful at defence but, when grieving the death of her mother, she lets her guard down and is filled with the spirit of a bear. But Bear is a friend as much as a foe and ... View Full Review
In the Shadow of Heroes
Shortlisted for the Costa Children's Book Award 2019 A fast-paced read packed with historical detail In the Shadow of Heroes is a clever blend of intrigue, politics, crime, history and a bit of fantasy. Set in Rome at the time of Emperor Nero, it weaves some Greek mythology – the tale of the Golden Fleece – into the world of the Roman elite. When unexpected visitors turn up at Tullus’s house one night, his slave Cadmus, an educated boy slave who was taken in by Tullus after having been abandoned as a baby, knows that something dangerous is afoot. ... View Full Review
The Infernal Devices 1: Clockwork Angel
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
Crossfire
Shortlisted for the Costa Children's Book Award 2019 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 ... View Full Review
Why You Should Read Children's Books, Even Though You Are So Old and Wise
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
The Skylarks' War
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
Helen Oxenbury: A Life in Illustration
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
The Ask and the Answer
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
Monsters of Men
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
Wed Wabbit
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
Beck
*** 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