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She started writing as a teenager; when a nearby steel mill closed, she was to write a book about it.
She began writing for publication while employed as a librarian, and has published 29 books, five of which have also been sold as audiobooks.
Whispers in the Graveyard, published by Methuen in 1994, features a dyslexic boy. Breslin won the annual Carnegie Medal from the Library Association, recognising it as the year's best children's book by a British subject.
The Medici Seal, (August 2006) for which her research was extensive, with trips to study Leonardo da Vinci’s most famous works, including the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper. The Medici Seal is a tale of intrigue, murder and betrayal which follows the journey of Matteo as he travels with Leonardo across Italy on the Borgias' business. Matteo carries with him a secret – a secret that both the Borgia and the Medici families would kill to obtain.
- Prisoner of the Inquisition (2010)
- Spy for the Queen of Scotts (2012)
Awards and honours
- Winner of the Carnegie Medal for Children’s Literature - for Whispers in the Graveyard
- Awarded Honorary Membership of the Scottish Library Association for distinguished services to Children’s Literature and Librarianship
- Scottish Writers CD ROM (Project Manager) – Bafta nomination
- Selected for the American Library Association’s Best Books for Young Adults, and New York Public Library’s Books for the Teen Age 2003.
- Civic Award from Strathkelvin
- Winner of the Scottish Book Trust Best of the Decade Award
- Winner of Young Book Trust's Kathleen Fidler Award for Simon's Challenge
- Winner of the Sheffield Children's Book Award - longer novel
- Runners up, etc.
- The Children's Book Award (twice)
- The Angus Book Award
- The Lancashire Book Award
- The Moray Book Award
- North-East Book Award
- The Sheffield Book Award (twice)
- South Lanark Book Award
- The Stockton Book Award