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Alex Francis


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A Writing Root for Leila and the Blue Fox

£5.00 (inc. VAT)

KS: Upper KS2

Year Group: Year 6

Literary Theme: Migration & Movement

Author(s): Kiran Millwood-Hargrave


Poetry, informal message, formal letter, short information text, diary entry, narrative and action scenes, tweet

Main Outcome:

Extended blog entry


20 session, 4 weeks

Overview and Outcomes:

This 20-session Writing Root is based on Leila and the Blue Fox by Kiran Millwood-Hargrave. The book explores themes of migration, climate change and family relationships through the eyes of the two main characters, Leila and Miso, as Leila embarks on an expedition with her estranged mother to track the rare blue Arctic fox on a journey of epic proportions. Children begin by looking through Leila’s backpack to find clues and make predictions about characters, settings and plot. As they begin to journey through the book, children will mirror the literary language of the author to create poetry based around Miso the fox. Formal language will also be explored through writing a letter to the Tromsø Arctic Institute to apply for funding for their expedition as well as creating a short guide to blue Arctic foxes. Throughout the sequence of learning, children will explore the character of Leila in depth, writing in role through text messages, Tweets and diary entries. To finish, children will draw together all the things Leila has learnt along her journey to write an extended blog entry called ‘Leila’s Life Lessons’ where children will reflect on the expedition and also touching on her life experiences before and since.

Synopsis of Text:

Based on the true story of an Arctic fox who walked from Norway to Canada in seventy-six days, a distance of two thousand miles, we felt this compelling, emotional and beautifully illustrated story would make the perfect Writing Root text.  Fox wakes, and begins to walk. She crosses ice and snow, over mountains and across frozen oceans, encountering bears and birds beneath the endless daylight of an Arctic summer, navigating a world that is vast, wild and wondrous.  Meanwhile, Leila embarks on a journey of her own - finding her way to the mother who left her. On a breathtaking journey across the sea, Leila rediscovers herself and the mother she thought she'd lost, with help from a determined little fox.

Text rationale:

This poignant novel, breathtakingly brought to life through Kiran Millwood Hargrave’s lyrical prose and Tom de Freston’s haunting monochrome illustrations, is an important exploration into the themes of migration, movement and conservation.  With strong links to the science, geography and PSHE curriculums, and featuring a confident female protagonist, children will relate to the highly relevant issues portrayed. This novel also has close connections with the first novel by this pairing, Julia and the Shark. 

Links and themes:

Arctic, exploration, relationships, climate change, expedition, movement, migration, family

Date written: June 2023

A Spelling Seed is available for Leila and the Blue Fox.

Spelling Seed Overview:


This is a four-session Spelling Seed for the book Leila and the Blue Fox by Kiran Millwood Hargrave.  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

embarrass, queue, nuisance, foreign, conscious, prejudice, identity, guarantee

Spelling Rules and Patterns

Homophones and other words that are often confused

Words containing the suffix -ate, -ify, -en

Words ending with silent letters

View Leila and the Blue Fox Spelling Seed

Literary Leaves within the same Literary Theme

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