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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.

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
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