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.

Friends Like These
Into a brief, hot summer slice of late adolescence, award-winning Meg Rosoff brilliantly unpacks a friendship which leads to a sequence of rollercoaster and heady experiences for eighteen year old Beth. Newly arrived in New York to take up a journalism internship, Beth is immediately swept up by her fellow interns including Eddie, an attractive, talented and rich New Yorker who invites her to move into her parents beautiful and comfortable home. Eager to leave the cockroach infested apartment, her first home on arrival, Beth is entranced by Eddie, whose extraordinary life has already ensured her familiarity with all the ... View Full Review
The Gloriumptious Worlds of Roald Dahl
For all those who are already fans of Roald’s Dahl’s awesome stories and for newcomers to them, this is a splendid introduction to some of the favourite characters and the most dramatic, hilarious, spinechilling and adventuresome stories that are his storytelling legacy. Following a brief account of Roald Dahl’s childhood and his famous writing shed, 15 of his top titles are cleverly explored through their main characters and the key features of the stories. There is James and his extraordinary crew from the awesome travelling peach in James and the Giant Peach; the delightful Charlie ... View Full Review
Gulliver's Travels A Robert Ingpen Illustrated Classic
When ship’s surgeon Gulliver sets off across the seas in search of adventure he has little idea what he will find. His two greatest discoveries are the countries of Lilliput and Brobdingnag.  In Lilliput he finds a population of tiny people to whom he appears as a giant while in Brobdingnag the roles are reversed: Gulliver is tiny and Brobdingnags are giants.  Swift uses Gulliver’s descriptions of his experiences in these contrasting countries to write a satirical commentary on his own society. His use of Gulliver’s altered relative size gives great scope ... View Full Review
Robinson Crusoe A Robert Ingpen Illustrated Classic
Michael Morpugo’s Kensuke’s Kingdom is just one of the very many stories for adults and children alike that have been inspired by Daniel Defoe’s classic shipwreck story. Written over 300 years ago, the story of Robinson Crusoe, an impulsive young man who runs away to sea against the best efforts of his parents to stop him, is packed full of gripping action as Crusoe survives the worst the elements throw  at him before he is shipwrecked on an apparently uninhabited island. The story of Crusoe’s life on an island is ... View Full Review
Percy Jackson and the Greek Gods
Percy Jackson, hero and demi-god, is the best guide you could have to the Greek gods and goddesses. As he is half-god - his father is Poseidon - and half-mortal – he is also a schoolboy in Manhattan - Percy is perfectly placed to give the inside stories! Percy’s account of the lives of the gods is chatty and informal. They are near to humans as you’ll ever find them – but they still have some awesome powers! A fun and fantastic introduction to an extraordinary world. View Full Review
One in a Hundred Thousand
Fitting in is hard for most teenagers because it is a time when being the same and therefore accepted seems the most important thing. And Sander has a particular problem because he has Silver-Russell syndrome, a condition which affects one in a hundred thousand, which means he will always be shorter than everyone else. Sander has to work through all the familiar feelings of being  an outsider while also dealing with feelings that relate especially to knowing that he will always be so short. But gradually Sander discovers that much about confirming is unimportant and that what matters most ... View Full Review
The Railway Children
This is one of the best-loved family stories of all the classics. When Roberta, Peter and Phyillis’s father is arrested their life is turned upside down. The children move to the country and the railway that runs nearby becomes their greatest source of adventure. One day, they come up with a brilliant plan to make use of the friends they’ve made through the train to prove their father’s innocence and bring him back safely. Will it work? A book to treasure and return to again and again and features the complete and unabridged text. ... View Full Review
Running Wild
Winner of the Independent Booksellers' Prize 2010.  Prize-winning author Michael Morpurgo’s new novel is a towering adventure and emotional roller coaster set at the time of a great tsunami. Trying to get over his father’s death, Will and his mother travel to Indonesia for a trip of a life time. For his Christmas present, Will is given a ride on an elephant. Elephants are his favourite animals and when Will sets off on Oona’s back he feels like a king. But then Oona begins to act strangely and soon she and Will are fighting ... View Full Review
I Want My Hat Back
A simply told story with a delicious and irresistible mischievous twist in its ending. Poor Bear! He has lost his hat. He asks everyone if they have seen it but no one can help. Where can it be? Just when Bear has given up all hope he spies it. And someone else is wearing it. Poor Rabbit! Where is he once Bear has his hat back? With its spare, building text and beautifully simple illustrations this tells its tale wittily.  View Full Review
The Book of Hopes Words and Pictures to Comfort, Inspire and Entertain
Katherine Rundell’s brief introduction which explains why hope is so important and why we should look for it in stories and illustrations sets a context for the wonderful range of very short stories, poems, thoughts and illustrations which will certainly give hope as well as laughs and surprises to readers of all ages. Perfect for dipping into, the anthology is a treasure trove of story treats starting with Michael Morpurgo’s uplifting ‘A Song of Gladness’ and ending with Rundell’s own ‘The Young Bird-Catcher’. Lauren Child,  ... View Full Review
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