Totto-chan, the little girl at the window

by Tetsuko Kuroyanagi

Paper Book, 1990




Tokyo ; New York : New York : Kodansha International ; Distributed by Kodansha International/USA through Harper & Row, 1984, c1982.


This engaging series of childhood recollections tells about an ideal school in Tokyo during World War II that combined learning with fun, freedom, and love. This unusual school had old railroad cars for classrooms, and it was run by an extraordinary man-its founder and headmaster, SosakuKobayashi-who was a firm believer in freedom of expression and activity. In real life, the Totto-chan of the book has become one of Japan's most popular television personalities-Tetsuko Kuroyanagi. She attributes her success in life to this wonderful school and its headmaster. The charm of this account has won the hearts of millions of people of all ages and made this book a runaway bestseller in Japan, with sales hitting the 4.5 million mark in its first year.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member marilynsantiago
Wonderful story of an educator and his small school in Tokyo 1937-1945 and the story of a young girl who thrived there after being expelled from a conventional kindergarten.
LibraryThing member anitag99
really interesting -- similarities with the Montessori method.
LibraryThing member EustaciaTan
I'm not sure why my dad bought me this book., but I'm glad he did. He proved that it is possible for school to be fun, and for students to be intrinsically motivated. Ironically, this book is from Japan, which along with almost all Asian countries, tend to go down the rote-learning route.

I wish I had a school like that. But since it doesn't exist anymore, I'm glad that I had, at least the chance to read about this magical, ideal, school… (more)
LibraryThing member treesap
This book is a hilarious and poignant memoir of a little Japanese girl's experiences at an "alternative" school, where curiosity and individuality were encouraged, and respect for each other was fostered among the would-be outcasts of a strict Japanese culture. While idealistic in philosophy, all of the self contained chapter-stories are nonetheless true, and they are all woven beautifully together onto a background of the tumultuous culture and history of the second world war. Just right for a wonderful bedtime read with children, but holding a deeper, thought-provoking message for parents and educators.… (more)
LibraryThing member hninn
this is my first book when I was 8 years old. It gave me inspiration for reading and I realized there are a lot of girls out there who are at the windows and can do day dreaming like me.


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