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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Book Review: Crow Boy

Author: Taro Yashima
Interest Level: Ages 4-9

About This Book: Chibi has been an outcast since that frightening first day of school when he hid under the schoolhouse. Afraid of the teacher and unable to make any friends, Chibi passes his free time alone - alone at study time, alone at playtime, always a "forlorn little tag-along." But when Mr. Isobe arrives, the teacher sees things in Chibi that no one else has ever noticed. -from the book jacket

Why It's On My Bookshelf: Holy cow I love this book! And it completely speaks to kids...about a whole lotta issues. I'll start off with bullying. Chibi is picked on and made fun of because the kids think he is different. He's tiny, fearful, shy, poor, a loner, and lives in the country. It's a teachable moment about negative reactions to what we perceive as different. These are my favorite conversations to have with students because they are such passionate advocates for social justice. There are certain books in my library that get them "worked up" about this issue and Crow Boy is one of them. Any student who raises their hand during this part of discussion - gets called on. It's important that they get to SPEAK about how Chibi is slighted for no good reason. I've also got a good crop of shy students in my school. I know they are tuning in while I'm reading. It's an opportunity to talk about being sensitive and accepting of others. There is a real myth about shy kids. Leadership comes in all forms....sometimes quiet. The issue of friendship is huge in Crow Boy. And it's huge because I talk about it A LOT. Chibi's peers are so caught up in bully behavior that they didn't see his beauty. His inner beauty....he's actually talented and gifted (some might call that individuality) in many different areas. How can the door of friendship be opened when we are so quick to form opinions of one another? And not nice opinions. There is a good ending and the kids in the story experience remorse.  
 

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