Yuka's Way Home by Abigail Roscoe

Several months ago, I wrote a blog post about reindeer and some interesting and fun facts about them.  Today's blog post is about a children's book about reindeer that I recently learned about... Yuka's Way Home by Abigail Roscoe.  Yuka's Way Home is a fictional animal story about a caribou named Yuka who gets separated from his herd, joins a herd of reindeer, and makes his home with them.  Who is Yuka?  How did he get separated from his herd?  How was able to make his home with the reindeer?  Keep reading to learn more about Yuka's Way Home and for a drawing enrichment activity to go with it!
Learn about reindeer, caribou, the Arctic, & the Sami people with Yuka's Way Home by Abigail Roscoe, then use oil pastels to draw the northern lights. #kellysclassroomonline

Author's Summary

Yuka’s Way Home is a story about courage and perseverance, old friends and new ones, as well as fresh beginnings; an educational children’s book that is full of exciting adventures and amazing lessons to be learned along the way.  Follow Yuka, a caribou who gets lost, separated from his friends and family after an unexpected accident occurs. While the first instinct is to give in to despair and panic, fate has it that Yuka will end up finding a new home amongst new friends. Things are not as he was used to but are much better than he would have anticipated.  Yuka’s Way Home is also a lesson about new cultures, adaptability, and animal conservation. The book is meant to educate children about reindeer, caribou, their similarities and differences, and the Sami culture; while creating awareness of longstanding practices that are under threat.  Yuka’s Way Home is an educational tool that is written with passion and love; a captivating story with professionally done illustrations to talk about a passion for wildlife and conservation and a love for nature and animals.

🍎 Title: Yuka's Way Home
🍎 Author: Abigail Roscoe
🍎 Illustrator: Abigail Roscoe
🍎 Publisher: self-published
🍎 Date: November 19, 2020
🍎 Pages: 27

Available exclusively at  Amazon (affiliate link)

Learn about reindeer, caribou, the Arctic, & the Sami people with Yuka's Way Home by Abigail Roscoe, then use oil pastels to draw the northern lights. #kellysclassroomonline

Reading Yuka's Way Home

Yuka's Way Home is a brightly illustrated animal story about a caribou named Yuka who was separated from his herd.  The characters, setting, problem, and solution are easy to identify in this story, however, the solution isn't one your students will be able to predict!

Before reading Yuka's Way Home, take some time to picture walk through the story.  Look at the illustrations together and talk about what the students see.  Who are the characters?  Where does the story take place?  What is the biggest problem in the story?

When you get to the part of the story where Yuka and the goose say farewell to each other, STOP!  Do not go past that point during your picture walk!  Close the book and ask your students to make predictions about what will happen next.  Yuka is stranded on some ice and is alone in the ocean.  The story is called Yuka's Way Home... how will Yuka get home?  Chances are your students will brainstorm ways that Yuka can get back to the herd he got separated from.  How many of them will be able to predict that he will find his home with a new herd somewhere else?

🍎 main characters: Yuka, Aldu, Johan
🍎 setting: Scandinavia, Arctic Circle, during the winter, Sámi camp
🍎 problem: Yuka was separated from his herd while they were migrating.
🍎 setting: Yuka found a new home in a Sámi camp and was welcomed into a new herd.

Learn about reindeer, caribou, the Arctic, & the Sami people with Yuka's Way Home by Abigail Roscoe, then use oil pastels to draw the northern lights. #kellysclassroomonline

About the Sámi People

The Sámi are a group of indigenous people who reside in the northern regions of Norway, Sweden, Finland, and the Kola Peninsula of Russia.  They traditionally make their livelihoods through fishing, fur trapping, and herding sheep.  However, they are best known for herding reindeer.  

Interesting Sidenote: Klaus from the movie Frozen (2013) and the Northulda tribe from Frozen II (2019) are based on the Sámi people and their customs.

To learn more about Sámi reindeer herding, please visit the Reindeer Herding: A Virtual Guide to Reindeer and the People who Herd Them.

Learn about reindeer, caribou, the Arctic, & the Sami people with Yuka's Way Home by Abigail Roscoe, then use oil pastels to draw the northern lights. #kellysclassroomonline

Map Skills

Yuka's Way Home takes place in the Sápmi (Lapland) areas of Scandinavia.  Pull out a world map or globe.  Help your students find the country they live in to establish a point of reference.  Sápmi (Lapland) is located in the Arctic Circle, near the North Pole.  Can your students find them?  The Sámi are semi-nomadic people who follow the reindeer herds.  They can live in the northern parts of Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Russia.  Help your students find those countries on the map.  If you are using a topographical map, what is the land like in that part of the world?  What oceans, rivers, and seas are in the area?  What mountains?  Any volcanoes?  There aren't a lot of cities in the region, just a few small towns here and there.  Can your students brainstorm why that might be?

Map of Scandinavia

Science Concepts

Even though Yuka's Way Home is a fictional animal story, it can be used to introduce/reinforce a few science topics:
  • animal migration
  • animal adaptations
  • habitats and biomes (aquatic, tundra, taiga)
  • seasonal changes
  • animal conservation
  • 'winter animals'

Learn about reindeer, caribou, the Arctic, & the Sami people with Yuka's Way Home by Abigail Roscoe, then use oil pastels to draw the northern lights. #kellysclassroomonline

Drawing the Northern Lights

Abigail Roscoe illustrated Yuka's Way Home herself instead of hiring someone else to do it for her. On the front and back covers of her book and on a couple of pages inside, she drew the northern lights in the night sky. The northern lights... also called the aurora borealis... are a natural display of colored lights in the night sky that form when electrically charged particles collide with atoms of atmospheric gases.  The closer you are to the North Pole, the more likely you are to see them.

How to Draw the Aurora Borealis.  #kellysclassroomonline

Drawing the northern lights is easy when you use this simple blending technique and requires very few materials.  Your students will need:
  • drawing paper
  • oil pastels
  • black drawing pencils
  • tissue paper
Note: Before starting this activity, test your pencils to make sure they will be able to draw over the oil pastels.  Not all pencils are created equal and some will work better than others.  My preference is to use Staedtler Mars Lumograph Black Art Pencils (affiliate link), but you might find something else that'd work just as well.

Step One:

Use the oil pastels to draw bands of color across the paper.  Order them from the darkest to the lightest.  Experiment with curvy and wavy lines.  There are very few straight lines in nature!

How to Draw the Aurora Borealis.  #kellysclassroomonline

Step Two

Using your finger or tissue paper, blend the colors together.  Start from the lightest colors and work your way up to the darkest.  If you start blending from the middle or the top, you run the risk of making your colors look muddy.

How to Draw the Aurora Borealis.  #kellysclassroomonline

Step Three

After you blend the colors together, feel free to experiment with adding more colors and lines.  Use a white pastel to create wavy clouds.  Add lines to give the effect of the wind blowing the northern lights in a certain direction.  There is no right or wrong way to do this... just let your students enjoy the process of drawing and blending.

How to Draw the Aurora Borealis.  #kellysclassroomonline

Step Four

If time allows, let your students use a black pencil to draw the silhouettes of trees, hills, houses, etc.  The silhouettes add a nice finishing touch to their drawings.

How to Draw the Aurora Borealis.  #kellysclassroomonline


Ask your students for their ideas about adding the moon and some stars.  What can they use to draw them?  Other than trees and houses, what else can your students draw on their papers?

How to Draw the Aurora Borealis.  #kellysclassroomonline

Do your students need inspiration? Watch this GORGEOUS video by Maciej Winiarczyk.  Maciej Winiarczyk shot this footage of the northern lights and set it to music!

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1 comment:

  1. Thank you for your wonderful post, I am really happy to see the Illustrations inspired an art activity too!
    I'm glad all the work I put into an educational book was appreciated, and I'm so happy you wrote about my book. I hope more kids get a chance to read it and enjoy learning more about caribou and reindeer, as well as indigenous Sámi culture.
    Thank you for your post!