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The Journey of York: The Unsung Hero of the Lewis and Clark Expedition
The Journey of York: The Unsung Hero of the Lewis and Clark Expedition
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Reviewed Titles Print Book Supported by Capstone Interactive Accelerated Reader
Capstone Editions

The Journey of York: The Unsung Hero of the Lewis and Clark Expedition

by Hasan Davis
Illustrated by Alleanna Harris

Thomas Jefferson's Corps of Discovery included Captains Lewis and Clark and a crew of 28 men to chart a route from St. Louis to the Pacific Ocean. All the crew but one volunteered for the mission. York, the enslaved man taken on the journey, did not choose to go. Slaves did not have choices. York's contributions to the expedition, however, were invaluable. The captains came to rely on York's judgement, determination, and peacemaking role with the American Indian nations they encountered. But as York's independence and status rose on the journey, the question remained what status he would carry once the expedition was over. This is his story.

Reading LevelGrades 3-6
Interest LevelGrades 3-4
Lexile Level870L
ATOS Level5.5
AR Points1
AR Quiz #500250
Text TypeNarrative Nonfiction
PublisherCapstone Editions
BrandCapstone Editions
Page Dimensions9" x 11"
Page Count40
BindingReinforced Library Binding
School/Library Price

Additional Formats


Booklist - Carolyn Phelan

"Harris contributes a series of well-composed tableaux, portraying each character with dignity while featuring a variety of American landscapes. A picture book spotlighting York is welcome, and his portrayal here is respectful and sympathetic. . . .this picture book provides a colorful introduction to York, a unique figure in American history." - Booklist

January 1, 2019

Jean Little Library - Jennifer Wharton

"Children studying Lewis and Clark probably learn about Sacawajea, but is York ever mentioned? I had certainly never heard of him. When President Jefferson called for an expedition and Captains Lewis and Clark recruited able-bodied men as volunteers, one man went along without volunteering; York. Captain Clark's slave. York was never given a choice. . . .Although in picture book format, I'd give this to older elementary students, especially those studying Lewis and Clark, to give them a different and wider perspective on the event. It's too long for a casual read-aloud, but a teacher could read sections aloud in their classroom with, I think, great results. It's well-written and the author thoughtfully discusses the lack of sources. Recommended." - Jean Little Library

April 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews

"Davis imagines York's feelings as he navigates his role as both enslaved African-American man and almost-full member of the expedition, narrating in a stiff voice that emulates 19th-century prose and also captures the stress of life as a second-class citizen. . . .Harris' illustrations also evoke the flat, primitive style of much 19th-century painting. Compositions frequently place York at the margins or in the shadows, underscoring the fact that he was not a full member of the party. . . .An important, underheard voice." - Kirkus Reviews

November 1, 2018


PSLA Teaching and Learning, Literature Review

"This narrative of the Lewis and Clark Expedition is a good introduction to this chapter of American History and provides a unique viewpoint. It would be interesting to compare and contrast other texts in which York was not the principal narrator…" - PSLA Teaching and Learning, Literature Review

June 14, 2019

Hasan Davis

Hasan Davis

Hasan Davis is an active speaker, trainer, and advocate for justice, education, and diversity initiatives on the local, state, and national levels. His active involvement in the Chautauqua education movement has garnered invitations to present his work at corporations, colleges, historical organizations, schools, prisons, and churches. Based in Kentucky, Hasan strives to build living and learning communities where all people have the opportunity to succeed.

Go to the Author’s Page →