Yuki and the One Thousand Carriers

by Gloria Whelan

Illustrations by Yan Nascimbene

In seventeenth and eighteenth century Japan, provincial governors traveled between Edo (today's Tokyo) and Kyoto. When Yuki's father is called to Edo to see the shogun, Yuki and her mother accompany him. They are part of a royal procession-with one thousand men carrying their belongings-on a three hundred- mile journey snaking around mountains, rivers, and the sea. Along the way, Yuki records her thoughts in haiku: "Today the way home / as close as the way to Edo, / tomorrow, further." Author's note. Full-color illustrations.

ISBN: 9781585363520

JLG Release: June 2008

JLG Member Price

Independent Readers Plus

Grades 2-4


14 books / $14.80 a book

  • Book Details




    Print Book




    Sleeping Bear P

    Page Count


    Trim Size

    9" x 11"

    Dewey Classification


    Accelerated Reader

    Level: 3.6, Points: 0.5


    Historical fiction

    Author/Illustrator Biographies

    Gloria Whelan was inspired to write Yuki and the One Thousand Carriers "after seeing an exhibition of woodcuts by the nineteenth-century Japanese artist Utagawa Hiroshige, " she writes. "The exhibition at the University of Michigan Museum of Art was of Hiroshige 's series, 'The Fifty-three Stations of the Takaido Road. '

    "In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the provincial governors of Japan were required by law to spend half of their time in Kyoto, the home of the emperor and the imperial court, and half of their time in Edo (today 's Tokyo), Japan 's political center, ruled by the shogun. The 300-mile road between Kyoto and Edo went over mountains and along the sea.

    "I longed to take that journey into a distant time and far country. I sent Yuki in my place. "

    Gloria Whelan was born in Detroit, Michigan. She earned a BA and an MSW from the University of Michigan and worked as a social worker before becoming a writer. She is the author of numerous books for children, including the JLG selections Yatandou, illustrated by Peter Sylvada, Homeless Bird, which received the National Book Award for Young People 's Literature, Listening for Lions, and The Disappeared, which appears on page 133 of this catalog.

    Ms. Whelan and her husband, Joseph, live in northern Michigan. They have two grown children, Joe and Jennifer.

    Yan Nascimbene says his work "is often compared to Japanese woodcuts, which I take as a huge --and overblown --compliment. This, I assume, is why, after illustrating Hachiko by Pamela S. Turner, another Japanese story, I was commissioned to illustrate Yuki and the One Thousand Carriers. The story, inspired by Utagawa Hiroshige 's Tokaido prints, allowed me to follow Hiroshige on his travel from Kyoto to Edo. "

    Mr. Nascimbene and his wife, Joan, live in Cotignac, a medieval village in France. Hachiko was his previous JLG selection.

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