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Donny Morrison

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A Writing Root for Granny Came Here on the Empire Windrush

£5.00 (inc. VAT)

KS: Lower KS2

Year Group: Year 4

Literary Theme: A Window to the World

Author(s): Patrice Lawrence


Informal letters, factual statements, future aspirations, postcard, diary entry, a speech, quotations

Main Outcome:

Factual report on the Windrush Generation


3 weeks, 15 sessions

Overview and Outcomes:

This is a three-week Writing Root based around the book Granny Came Here on the Empire Windrush by Patrice Lawrence. It begins with children entering the classroom to find a mysterious suitcase. In the suitcase, they will find clues not just to the individual journey of Granny but also to the overarching topic of the Windrush Generation. Children will go on to write about their personal heroes and why they admire certain people, including those figures who travelled on the Empire Windrush in 1948 or those descended from this heroic generation. Children will write in role as Granny, writing a postcard and making a diary entry. They will also help Ava write a speech about why she admires Granny and why it is important we remember and pay tribute to this generation. Vocabulary and skills explored will culminate in children writing a factual report about the Windrush heroes and their struggles, successes and contributions to British life. There are recommendations within the Writing Root for useful texts, websites and podcasts to help children to research this topic further.

Synopsis of Text:

One day, Ava is asked to dress as an inspirational figure for assembly at school, but who should she choose? Granny suggests famous familiar figures such as Winifred Atwell, Mary Seacole and Rosa Parks, and tells Ava all about their fascinating histories, but Ava's classmates have got there first - and she must choose someone else. But who?

And then Ava finds a mysterious old suitcase - Granny's "grip" - and Granny begins to share her own history, and how she came to England on the Empire Windrush many years ago. She tells her story through the precious items that accompanied her on the original voyage, each one evoking a memory of home, and as Ava listens to how Granny built a life for herself in England, determined to stay against the odds and despite overwhelming homesickness, she realises that there is a hero very close to home that she wants to celebrate more than anyone - her very own brave and beloved granny.

Text rationale:

This is a touching story that highlights the importance of children learning about the past through asking questions of adults and, as a result, finding their place in a larger historical narrative. This story is essential for children to learn about Black British history, particularly the influence of Black historical figures such as Winifred Atwell and Mary Seacole, and the stories of those who emigrated to Britain on the Empire Windrush. Patrice Lawrence MBE, FRSL, is a prolific author and journalist. She has won multiple literature awards such as the Waterstones Children's Book Prize for Older Children, the Jhalak Prize and The Bookseller YA Book Prize. She also writes for older children and teenagers so children will be able to continue to read her work as they grow. Themes ­– family, discovery and identity.

Links and themes:

Family, discovery, identity, Windrush, Black history

Date written: December 2023

A Spelling Seed is available for Granny Came Here on the Empire Windrush.

Spelling Seed Overview:


This is a three-session spelling seed for the book Granny Came Here on the Empire Windrush by Patrice Lawrence.  Below is the coverage from Appendix 1 of the National Curriculum 2014.

Spelling Seeds have been designed to complement Writing Roots by providing weekly, contextualised sequences of sessions for the teaching of spelling that include open-ended investigations and opportunities to practise and apply within meaningful and purposeful contexts, linked (where relevant) to other areas of the curriculum and a suggestion of how to extend the investigation into home learning.

There is a Spelling Seed session for every week of the associated Writing Root.


Word List Words

ordinary, earth, surprise, peculiar, experience, accidentally, exercise, grammar, group, history, heart

Spelling Rules and Patterns

Words with endings sounding like /ʒə/ or /tʃə/

Homophones and near-homophones

View Granny Came Here on the Empire Windrush Spelling Seed

Literary Leaves within the same Literary Theme

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