Leila and the Blue Fox

(1 customer review)


Leila and the Blue Fox tells the story of parallel journeys by Miso, an Artic fox and Leila, whose mum has chosen her work over her motherhood. Leila’s emotional story of lost love and jealousy is set against the perilous but essential migration of the fox. The story is told in Kiran Millwood Hargrave’s beautiful words and the stunning illustrations of Tom de Freston.

Leila has experienced the trauma of war, fleeing her home country, as well as the change wrought in her family dynamics.  She has also lost her mother’s attention to the commitment of her job. Alongside the stories of these journeys, the ever-changing issues of climate change, migration, immigration and mental health are also explored.  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, this is a compelling, emotional and beautifully illustrated tale.

Winner of the Wainwright Prize

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Leila and the Blue Fox

Kiran Millwood Hargrave, with Tom de Freston


Leila and the Blue Fox is a sort of sequel to Kiran Millwood Hargrave and Tom de Freston’s Julia and the Shark.  This was highly praised by Bookwagon and many others and was an all-round success.  Leila is a stand-alone story, but builds on all the elements that made Julia so superb.
This is a multi-layered tale of a girl dealing with a tough personal situation at home, alongside a story of our natural world and Miso the Arctic Fox, an endangered species. The book features stunning monochromatic illustrations that bring the story and atmosphere to life. Furthermore, these elements together add up to more than the sum of its parts.  It’s a hugely impactful story that makes a potentially difficult topic approachable to young readers and adults alike. The theme of Leila is migration: both in the natural and human worlds.
Leila’s story begins with a parallel search.  A scientist mother follows the endangered animal she studies at an Arctic research station.  However, her daughter searches for the connection with her mother she feels she has all it lost.  Leila joins her mother on an expedition following the extraordinary migration of a polar fox across over 2,000+ miles. Miso makes a gruelling journey necessary for her to survive. Her home has been damaged by climate change.  On a ship on the arctic seas, Leila gets the chance to spend more time with her mother.  She gets to know sides of her she never saw. Their own journey in fleeing from a war-torn Syria acts as a counterpoint.
Moreover, as their journey continues and both humans and the fox encounter peril, the stories interweave so deftly, making for a stunning read.
Bookwagon recommends Leila and the Blue Fox wholeheartedly, especially for mature middle grade readers.

1 review for Leila and the Blue Fox

  1. Paula Hale

    A truly beautiful book by an exceptional author. The illustrations are just stunning and work so well with the story. This partnership is oustanding and I do hope there will be more.

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