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Kiran Millwood Hargrave & Tom de Freston

Julia and the Shark

Julia and the Shark

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Shortlisted for the Waterstones Book of the Year 2021
Shortlisted for the James Cropper Wainwright Prize for Children's Writing on Nature & Conservation 2022

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 illustrator Tom de Freston's studio, Julia and the Shark is 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.

"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, illustrator

"A rich, immersive and wondrous journey, through deep darkness to hope and light" —Sophie Anderson, author of The House with Chicken Legs

"What a gorgeous book—calm, funny, heartfelt, wise, full of the quiet and force of the sea" —Ross Montgomery, author of The Midnight Guardians

"There are no wasted words in this book. Like a seashell, or a flying bird, it is uncluttered and vital. The illustrations, by Tom de Freston, are mesmerising. I loved it" —Hilary McKay

"Truly extraordinary. Julia and the Shark is contemporary MG at its best but with a hint of the fantastic. It is the kind of book that you will want to have on your shelves and treasure" —Katherine Webber Tsang

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