Heroine Balsa encounters a brother and sister being sold by a slave trader in the market. The girl, who seems to have a strange aura, is called Asra. Impulsively Balsa takes her away. However, later she comes to wonder if the girl is a divinely appointed guardian or a child of disaster. Author Uehashi likens her multi-award-winning "MORIBITO (Guardian)" series to a tree that keeps growing new branches of rich foliage. Illustrator Futaki is an animator for Studio Ghibli, creator of international hits "Princess Mononoke" and "Spirited Away."
2003 SHOGAKUKAN CULTURAL PRIZE IN PUBLISHING FOR CHILDREN'S BOOKS
22 x 16 cm, 290 pages, Full-colour and black-and-white illustrations
First published December 2008
Rights sold: China & Taiwan