Lucy Turns Pages: Read, Write, Publish, Promote

Lucy Turns Pages: A Look At... Julia and the Shark by Kiran Millwood Hargrave, Illustrated by Tom de Freston

A Look At... Julia and the Shark by Kiran Millwood Hargrave, Illustrated by Tom de Freston

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Title: Julia and the Shark
Author: Philipp Dettmer
Illustrator: Tom de Freston
Genre: Middle Grade Fiction / Mental Health
Buy links: Book Depository - Waterstones - -


'Days before lockdown there was a fire in my studio that destroyed twelve years worth of work. From the burnt out husk I rescued burnt frames, bags of ash, fragments of destroyed artworks. Much of the artwork for Julia and the Shark was made using these materials, as an act of mourning, transformation and repair. It reflects the central message of the book, that even in the deepest darkness there is always the light of hope.' - Tom de Freston

A timeless story of family, hope and environmental crisis from the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize-winning author of The Girl of Ink and Stars that is also a stunning work of visual art, Julia and the Shark has been taken to our booksellers’ hearts like no other children’s novel.

When her father is required to repair an old lighthouse on a remote island, Julia finds herself on a strange and magical summer holiday. Her mother becomes increasingly determined to find the great Greenland shark – an awesome yet elusive creature that soon fills Julia’s thoughts as well. But when her mother’s determination tips over into obsession, Julia is forced to dive into an adventure with hidden depths and turbulent emotional currents which threatens to submerge them all.

With breathtaking black, white and yellow illustrations created using the ashes from the fire that destroyed de Freston's studio, Julia and the Sharkis both a testament to artistic rebirth and an exquisite reflection on family, science and the fragile yet sublime beauty of the environment. Intoxicating and impossible to put down, it is a future classic whose beauty and heart will resound for generations.

My thoughts:

This sounds like an important but devastating children's book that focuses on mental health, wellbeing and family relationships. This is one of the middle grade books on my wishlist and I hope I will get to it soon! Have you read this one? Will it make me cry?

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