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Julia Eccleshare's Picks of the Month
Each month Julia Eccleshare, a leading authority in children's literature, chooses a small selection of her favourites from the month. They will be generally new releases but occasionally she may select a new edition of a firm favourite and we will list them here. All are highly recommended with Julia's seal of approval.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month September 2020 | Beautifully presented, this is a fabulous anthology of poems greatly enhanced by wonderful illustrations and a sumptuous binding – including a very useful marker ribbon! Subtitled “An animal poem for every day of the year”, it includes poems which introduce a huge range of animals from around the world. Some are familiar but most are refreshingly new. Some examples I loved are: May 1st, Song about the Reindeer, Musk Oxen, Women, and Men who want to show off, an Innuit song and September 7th The Manatee by Jack Prelutsky – “I’m partial to the manatee,/ which emanates no vanity./ It swims amidst anemones/ and hasn’t any enemies.” This anthology really does include something for everyone!
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month September 2020 | Loveable Elmer is back for a new adventure in the land of the elephants. And, as ever, he keeps one step ahead of his friends! Elmer sets off on a long exploring walk with his cousin Wilbur and three other elephants. Elmer’s exploring leads him to finding an amazing palace hidden in the jungle. It’s full of amazing mosaics and wall paintings, it has a huge hall full, a wealth of statues and several fountains. While Elmer and Wilbur admire it all the other elephants are busy playing some very secret games. What are they up to? And who will find the Lost Treasure?? David McKee’s elephants are as delightful and full of character as ever. Visit our Elmer the Elephant feature to find out more about the Elmer books!
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month September 2020 | Everyone is welcome at Spooky School! Everyone who likes to be scared a bit! Open the pages of this fun board book and join the pupils as they learn how to fly like a witch on a broomstick and to howl like a werewolf. Or join in a dance for skeletons. And, don’t forget, spookiness can be caring too. There’s loads of fun on the Halloween theme. But just watch out for spiders….
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month September 2020 | Mission impossible – the terrific Super-Cats are back for another adventure in the mad-cat world! When Tagg and Sugarfoot see their old enemy appear on a TV show to discuss Super Cats they know they will have to take action. Dr Specs, a nasty looking cat with markings that made him look as if he wears human glasses, is bad news. He has only just been released from prison. Now he is an evil scientist who is accusing super cats of doing all kinds of bad things. He even claims to have invented a deadly weapon that can remove super powers. Tagg and Sugarfoot know that something must be done to stop him. And quickly! A fun-filled, wild-cat adventure in which anything – and almost everything – can happen.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month September 2020 | Emotionally rich and full of the kind of questions that need discussing and answering, Britta Teckentrup’s beautiful picture book explores the complicated relationships and emotions that are commonplace for every child in any school. The soft focus illustrations capture the different moods of the characters perfectly and are well- supported by brief stories which provide some background which, in turn, throws up a raft of questions: Why are some children bullied? Why does no one stand up for them? How can it be right that a teacher can put a student off a subject by being mean to them? How can you help someone who is lonely? Why do some children exert power over others? Children will enjoy this on their own but it will work best as a spur for important conversations.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month September 2020 | When Abi’s newly forged family moves to an eccentric new home which is totally covered in ivy, strange things begin to happen to her and to her step-brothers Louis and Max. With their parents either away or too busy to notice, Abi finds herself falling into the books she is reading – she can feel the damp of the sea and taste the salt on her fingers - while Louie tempts an unusual and dangerous animal companion into his bedroom from the ivy. Can Abi and Max help Louie get rid of his dangerous new friend and will things get back to normal when their parents come home? Hilary McKay’s storytelling is vivid; she makes magic seem real while also showing why believing in it is so important.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month September 2020 | Cleverly blending an upbeat story of a girl who loves Superman comics and is determined to be a super sleuth in the style of Lois Lane and a contemporary story of a child being trafficked and held in slavery, The Invisible Boy is a fast-paced read with a strong message. When Nadia’s dog is rescued by a boy she has never seen in the neighbourhood before, she immediately labels him ‘The Invisible Boy’ and is determined to find out who he is. Influenced by the comics she reads Nadia is used to making up dramas, often jumping to the wrong conclusions! How Nadia pieces together the real story of her new friend is a well-crafted drama. Nadia’s shock and horror is powerfully conveyed.
Longlisted for the UKLA 2017 Book Award and Julia Eccleshare's Pick of the Month, February 2016 Feel brave enough to go on a huge adventure? If so, this is the book to guide you! Bearspotting can be a scary business and it is best to know as much as possible about the different bears you might see. In particular, there are brown bears and black bears. And both can be very, very dangerous. Each needs to be handled in a different way: with a black bear you must walk away backwards and very slowly; with a brown bear, you must just play dead! But what if you meet both at the same time? Wittily illustrated by David Roberts, this is a playful and engaging picture book. ~ Julia Eccleshare
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month | February 2017 Book of the Month Best-selling Lucy Cousins‘s boldly drawn birds inspire the imagination as she illustrates the wonderful things that different kinds of birds can do. Lively, colourful birds fill each page beautifully as she illustrates them flying, hopping, pecking, swooping, singing and running in a charming book that leads perfectly to bedtime. ~ Julia Eccleshare Julia Eccleshare's Picks of the Month for February 2017 Young Magicians and the Thieves' Almanac by Nick Mohammed A Busy Day for Birds by Lucy Cousins Mind the Gap by Phil Earle The Bolds on Holiday by Julian Clary The Unexpected Love Story of Alfred Fiddleduckling by Timothy Basil Ering The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart by Stephanie Burgis
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month February 2018 Best-selling Lucy Cousins‘s boldly drawn birds inspire the imagination as she illustrates the wonderful things that different kinds of birds can do. Lively, colourful birds fill each page beautifully as she illustrates them flying, hopping, pecking, swooping, singing and running in a charming book that leads perfectly to bedtime. ~ Julia Eccleshare Julia Eccleshare's Picks of the Month for February 2018 Kevin by Rob Biddulph Eliza Rose by Lucy Worsley Lots: The Diversity of Life by Nicola Davies A Busy Day for Birds by Lucy Cousins Words and Your Heart by Kate Jane Neal The Iron Man by Ted Hughes
Longlisted for the UKLA 2018 Book Award Julia Eccleshare's Book of the Month September 2016 Award-winning storyteller and artist Oliver Jeffers and typographic fine artist Sam Winston have created an extraordinarily adventurous and original picture book which, through words and pictures, takes children on a journey of discovery through some of the greatest literature of all time. The imaginative eponymous Child of Books floats across a sea of words made from words and lines from classic children’s book stories. It is a journey that recreates fairy tales, forests and monsters showing children the importance and power of their imagination in recreating them. A book to read again and again to glean all of its meaning. ~ Julia Eccleshare Julia Eccleshare's Picks of the Month for September 2016 A Poem for Every Night of the Year compliled by Allie Esiri Gruffalo Crumble and Other Recipes by Julia Donaldson A Child of Books by Oliver Jeffers and Sam Winston Beck by Mal Peet and Meg Rosoff Tom's Midnight Garden Graphic Novel by Philippa Pearce and Edith Jinks and O'Hare Funfair Repair by Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntryre
October 2020 Debut of the Month | Imogen’s life at home is not all perfect so it’s no surprise that she follows the strange silver moth that arrives from nowhere – even when it leads her through a door in a tree! And there’s no stopping her little sister Marie from following…Like any magic opening, the door leads the two girls into an extraordinary world where almost anything can – and will – happen! As in the best traditions of children’s stories, Imogen and Marie meet a wealth of larger-than-life characters including a spoiled prince and a dancing bear as they journey through a richly-imagined world of possibilities. Chris Riddell’s illustrations bring the magic to life perfectly.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month October 2018 | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month October 2018 | Interest Age 8+ Reading Age 8 Former Children’s Laureate Malorie Blackman tells a gripping adventure story of a school trip that goes horribly wrong. Sam longs to go on the school trip to the Highlands but he is sure his parents will say no as he has a long term sickness - sickle cell disease – which means he needs to be looked after carefully. When they surprisingly say yes, Sam is thrilled. But his delight soon turn to fear as he realises that the class bullies are planning something that is designed to humiliate him but which will end up putting them all at risk. How Sam deals with the bullies, including showing incredible courage in rescuing one from real danger, and how he deals with his own illness with another kind of bravery is all brilliantly captured in Malorie Blackman’s vivid drama.
July 2018 Book of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month July 2018 | | A brilliant celebration and evocation of everything to do with the sea. The many, brief poems cover favourite holiday experiences including the excitement of being the first to see the sea, paddling, seagulls and building sandcastles; specific sea creatures such as sharks, limpets and the special fish which live on coral reefs; the drama of the seas in terms of shipwrecks and, more recently, terrible risk the sea is under from human waste. Both the poems and Emily Sutton’s illustrations to them will bring the very special qualities of the sea closer to everyone.
Shortlisted for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2017 | Joint Winner of the CLiPPA 2016 (CLPE Children’s Poetry Award). | Children’s Laureates Chris Riddell and Michael Rosen combine here to create a beautiful collection of ebullient poems for the very young. Michael Rosen’s close and affectionate observation of small children and the way they think is brilliantly captured in poems such as You Can’t See Me and Let Me Do It. There are also plenty of opportunities for the very young to join in with poems such as Tippy-Tappy and The Button Bop which they are guaranteed to want to hear again and again! Chris Riddell’s illustrations created an equally warm-hearted view of the early years and capture the spirit of the poems perfectly. One of our Books of the Year 2015 - A Reader Review Panel Pick of the Year 2015 - chosen by Robyn Chorely, aged 5- Julia Eccleshare's Book of the Month, September 2015
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month September 2019 | | Award winning Elizabeth Laird brilliantly brings to life thirteen year old Safiya’s new world as a refugee after her family flee from their comfortable home in Damascus because of the war in Syria. Safiya, her brother and father arrive in Jordan with nothing and must turn to relatives for help. Safiya has to adjust to living in a tent without running water. Suddenly, she is cleaning and washing and finding clever ways of making do on very little rather than going to school. But resourceful Safiya never gives up hope of going back to a better way for life or of finding her missing twin sister. A House without Walls is a vivid picture of a family facing an extreme experience with courage and imagination.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month May 2018 Longlisted for the UKLA 2018 Book Award | Award winning Lane Smith celebrates the simple delights of Cat who loves the warmth of the sun, and Dog who loves the cool of the water, and Bird who loves birdseed. All are set for a perfect day…But then Bear turns up! Suddenly the day looks very different. With almost no words, Lane Smith’s illustrations set the scene of the story brilliantly and then allow the reader to fill in exactly what happens in their own way.
One of our Books of the Year 2016 | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month September 2016 A fabulously rich anthology of 366 poems - one for every night of the year as promised in the title. Or for everyday if you would rather read your poetry and perfect for reading aloud and sharing with all the family. it. The anthology ranges widely through classic and modern poetry and, where there is a link to a particular date, it appears on that page in the book. Fittingly therefore, J. K . Rowling’s The Sorting Hat Song which first appears in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, is the poem for 10 September – the start of the school year for many, even those not at Hogwarts. ~ Julia Eccleshare A message from Gaby Morgan, Editorial Director at Pan Macmillan A beautiful collection of 366 poems from familiar favourites to exciting contemporary voices, one to share on every night of the year. All the poems havea link to the date on which they appear, and the collection will take you on a journey through history, the season, and festivals and traditions from many different countries, cultures and religions. A message from the author, Allie Esiri William Wordsworth once wrote of beauty ‘felt along the heart’, like waves beating along a shore. We feel poems along the heart – they wash over us and, though we might not notice the impact they make, they leave the shores of our hearts a little changed. Great poems make us more human. They introduce us to new ways of seeing the world. They force us to imagine what it might be like to be someone completely different – and they show us that someone completely different is just as human as we are. When I discovered poetry as a child, I remember stumbling over weird and wonderful words whose meaning I felt far from understanding, but I think I knew then that poetry held an extraordinary power. My childhood private passion has become my career: I spend most of my time reading poetry, writing about poetry and banging the metaphorical drum for poetry. Over the past few years I’ve tried to remind people how remarkable and exhilarating poetry is. Poetry will stay with you for life. We use it to help us come to terms with the big things in life: love, friendship, loss, nature, beauty and the passing of time. People write and read poems for landmark events – weddings, funerals, political uproars or tragic disasters. But I wanted to share in this collection that poetry can also be for the small things in life, for the everyday. This anthology contains a poem for each and every night of the year. More than being just a sequence of beautiful poems to share at Introduction bedtime, however, this is a journey through culture and history and the seasons. Near April Fool’s Day are poems that are complete nonsense but huge fun to read aloud, such as Lewis Carroll’s bizarre ‘Jabberwocky’. And there are poems on certain dates that tell us about the traditions of other cultures and religions. There are poems written about historical events, like the sinking of the Titanic or the seminal moment in the Civil Rights Movement in America when Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus. I hope that there is a poem here for everyone – something for every night and every mood and every person, whose lines never leave you but remain inside the private library of your brain, and whose beauty you feel as Wordsworth did: along the heart. Julia Eccleshare's Picks of the Month for September 2016 A Poem for Every Night of the Year compliled by Allie Esiri Gruffalo Crumble and Other Recipes by Julia Donaldson A Child of Books by Oliver Jeffers and Sam Winston Beck by Mal Peet and Meg Rosoff Tom's Midnight Garden Graphic Novel by Philippa Pearce and Edith Jinks and O'Hare Funfair Repair by Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntryre
October 2017 Book of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month October 2017 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 now Makepeace has a strong internal allay who may be exactly what she needs when she goes to stay with her father’s terrifying family whom she needs to resist at all costs. Frances Hardinge’s beautiful writing makes the unbelievable credible and tangible as she weaves together and then unravels layer upon layer of complexities in this substantial and deeply story. ~ Julia Eccleshare Julia Eccleshare's Picks of the Month for October 2017 A Skinful of Shadows by Frances Hardinge The Wolf, the Duck and the Mouse by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen Illegal by Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin The Land of Neverendings by Kate Saunders The Wizards of Once by Cressida Cowell Pax by Sara Pennypacker and Jon Klassen Egyptomania by Emma Giuliani and Carole Saturno Father Christmas and Me by Matt Haig The Greatest Magician in the World by Matt Edmondson
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 with Lovereading4kids as Editor-at-Large and as one of our editorial expert reviewers, she is the children’s editor of the Guardian and Head of Policy at the Public Lending Right.
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. In addition, she regularly appears as a judge or Chair of judges on some of the major children’s book prizes.