Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Crow Boy

This book spoke to my inner child.

Crow Boy by Taro Yashima is a Caldecott Honor Book for children, my second book for Dolce Bellezza's Japanese Literature Challenge 3. Bellezza wrote a beautiful review of it, and I do not wish to compete with her, but I decided to post on this charming book because I was equally entranced by the storyline and pictures. In this story a young school boy in Japan called Chibi, which means tiny boy, is taunted by the other kids who call him "stupid" and "slowpoke" because he's different and because they don't understand him. He's quiet and doesn't fit in, and keeps to himself most of the time. It's not until he's in the sixth grade and has a kind and perceptive teacher that things begin to change for him.

Through colorful pictures and simple prose, Crow Boy illustrates that many children lack the maturity to think for themselves, and are often cruel to those who don't fit in. I have three children, and have heard the meanest things said to them by other children--and it makes my blood boil. (Thankfully I've also experienced the opposite, and have been astonished by the kind words and acts of their peers.) When I was a young child, other children would make fun of me for being skinny, which was dreadful. It's never easy being a child. Luckily the tiny boy in the story is able to nurture his own gifts in nature, and when these unique gifts are finally recognized and acknowledged, it's that much sweeter.

I'll share this book with my children. If I were an elementary school teacher, I'd read this to my students on the first day of school like Bellezza does.


  1. My husband has been picking out books to read to our three boys at night, and I'm going to mention this to him. I didn't know you had three kids. How old are they, if you don't mind me asking?

  2. What a lovely review. Having worked with kids for many, many years, I am often astonished by how nasty they can be to eachother and it always makes me so angry. It also makes me recognize how a little kindness to a hurting child can go a very, very long way. Thank you so much for bringing this book to my attention!

  3. This looks like a book that I could share with a friend's son. He is constantly being teased for being bigger than the other kids, and he is very sensitive about it. Awesome review, I will be sure to grab a copy of this book for him when I can.

  4. This looks like a very cute book! :)

  5. Thank you for reminding me that Footsteps in the Dark is actually eligible for RIP4 :D
    I almost forgot :D
    Thank you!

  6. Thank you all for your thoughtful comments.

    Veens, you are quite welcome!

  7. I love your review of this book, and especially how it touched people who left you comments as well. It's funny how we either have wounds as children, or know children with wounds, to which this book would have a lot of healing. At least it does in my experience. It's also funny how little books can pack a lot of power, isn't it?

  8. Yet another great book to look out for especially since I relate to the experience written about. Thank you Suko!

  9. Bellezza and Mervat, thank you both for taking the time to stop by and for your wonderful words!

  10. I do feel the need to get this book now that both you and Bellezza recommend it. It is hard to be a kid, isn't it?

  11. This is a great review. I always enjoy reading the ones that you do.

    I have an award for you at One eyed stuffed bunny and ...

  12. Awww...this sounds like a sweet book. I know, its amazing how mean children can be to each other sometimes without realizing how hurtful they are being. And the poor children who are being made fun of or bullied are truly scarred from it.


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