Yuki and the One Thousand Carriers
by Gloria Whelan, illustrated by Yan Nascimbene
Sleeping Bear Press, 2008
This creative history-based tale tells the story of Japanese Yuki who must travel 300 miles with her family and one thousand carriers for her father to be with the Shogun. Traveling on foot, this is a long journey.
Yuki does not want to leave home and each day is reminded she is not home by what she sees. The carriers wade across rivers, climb snow covered mountains and pass bays and villages. Yuki and her mother, however, are carried in a palanquin. Yuki’s life is much different from today’s girls. In one way, following rules for a family of her class, she could not be seen and, therefore, could get out of the palanquin and run or walk on her own. But keeping up with her studies was important and she wrote a haiku each day.
We are a dragon
Our one thousand carriers
the dragon’s long tail.
The story is told in a lovely, poetic voice, interspersed with haikus. Gloria Whelan’s exquisite writing immerses the reader into the time, country and culture. Yan Nascimbene’s watercolor illustrations the gentle, protected life Yuki lived.