Yuki’s Ride Home

February 9, 2009

Children begin to learn bravery at a young age.  They face their fears through small experiences that seem grand to them, just like the little girl in Yuki’s Ride Home.  The author, Manya Tessler, stated that she had a difficult time “learning to leave Japan, where she resided for two years.”  Thus, she related the events to this story she created.

Yuki rides her bike over the bridge connecting her home to where her grandmother lives.  She’s excited; it’s her fist day riding her bike home alone.  Do you remember the sense of freedom learning to ride your bike and then getting to go places?  Our students have many stories inside of them that can revolve around a bike ride.  This book would be a great lead for a story idea to use with them.  I also appreciate the interweaving of the thoughts and feelings of the character.  Students often find it difficult to write the emotions and turmoil in their writing, which definitely lifts the connection to the reader.

The story shares simple activities Yuki and grandma do together – feeding her pets, making origami, listening to the wild life near the pond.  Our kids can write about ordinary activities in their life, especially when shared with a special family member.  Manya Tessler gives the reader a glimpse as to how Yuki is feeling through her thoughts.

‘Mom will worry if I’m not home soon,’ thought Yuki.”

Ka-tung Ka-tung beat Yuki’s heart.”

Enjoy this beautifully illustrated book with your students.  Capture the every day moments.  Highlight how each child can relate to Yuki as they have accomplished a difficult task and been brave during the difficult times.

Savorings for reading and in writing for Yuki’s Ride Home:

  • One day story
  • Exploding the moment scene
  • Show don’t Tell – “Yuki’s stomach flipped, and she sat still on her bike.”
  • Character’s internal conflict
  • Every day activities

 (Warsaw Public Library book)