Crow Boy

by Taro Yashima

Paper Book, 1955



Call number



Puffin, 1976, c1955.

User reviews

LibraryThing member MrzDee
This story is set in a Japanese village a long time ago. A little boy named Chibi was misunderstood by his classmates because he did not live in the villiage. He lived high in the mountains with his family and they made charcoal. Chibi was teased by his classmates until his teacher found his gift of mimicing crows. He had learned the crow sounds over the six years of coming down the mountains. At a talent show his peers and their families get to hear Chibi do the crow sounds and then they have respect for his talent and accept him in the village even when he gets older.
The illustrations seem to be drawn in colored pencil. This is a Caldecott honor book, and I am sure many children can relate with Chibi by being an outsider. I love the reference to the zebra grass coat he wears in the rain.

A activity a teacher could do with children might be having a talent show to find out what different students talents are. Another activity might be exploring Japanese history, and what children can learn from the culture.
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LibraryThing member ewang109
Yashima, T. (1955). Crow boy. New York, NY: Viking Penguin.

A small boy named Chibi, which means “tiny boy,” walks many miles to attend school. He is a loner at school. To avoid the pain of being an outcast, he makes his eyes cross-eyed, so that he cannot see people make fun of him. Or he tries to listen to the sounds of nature, so that he can ignore his peers calling him “stupid” or “slowpoke.”

When a new teacher, Mr. Isobe, arrives, he befriends Chibi. Mr. Isobe admires Chibi’s black-and-white drawings, and he spends time talking to Chibi. Near the end of the school year, in a talent show, Chibi imitates the sounds of crows. His crow sounds amaze the audience. By the sounds that Chibi makes, people realize that he comes from the mountainside. From that point on, the kids called him “Crow Boy.”

This is a powerful story about how one teacher really “sees” Chibi. Mr. Isobe recognizes Chibi’s positive qualities and skills, which give him confidence. He is the one person who notices Chibi and does not allow him to hide. Crow Boy is also about the acceptance others who may be different.

The illustrations in Crow Boy are breathtaking. Yashima’s use of space reinforces the isolation that Chibi feels at school. However, once Chibi demonstrates his talent in making crow sounds, there is less space, revealing that Chibi feels less alone. The climax of the story is a double-page spread of Chibi’s home in the mountainside. The illustrations give life to the story and they portray the character development of Chibi. Crow Boy is Caldecott Honor Book (1956) and appropriate for ages three to eight years old.
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LibraryThing member wb010371
Crow Boy is a story of a strange, shy, small boy who is isolated by his differences from the other children in school. He was kind of an outcast and no one, not even his teachers, paid him much attention. When he was in the 6th grade he finally had a teacher that was interested in him and helped others to know about him to which changed his life.

This book was an eyeopener for me to always look for the positive things in people. There may not look like alot from the outside but the teacher who took the time to let others know about Chibi helped them to understand him. Chibi was liked by everyone once they gave him a chance and got to know who he was.

I would use this book to help others see it is important to not pass judgement on someone for the way they look or act. It would be a good lesson to let students express something about themselves that others may not know about or to just be able to share if they can relate with Chibi at any time in their life.
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LibraryThing member heather_hill
Crow Boy is a story about a young Japanese boy, nicknamed "Chibi," which means "tiny boy" in Japanese, because he was so small. The students in his class never paid attention to him except to make fun of him. He was very quiet and kept to himself. Then, a new teacher, Mr. Isobe, brings out Chibi's true talent.

I loved this story! It rings true in every culture. There is always one child who is quiet because everyone teases him/her or is not understood by the masses. This shows students that even though some children are not as proficient at some tasks, doesn't mean they are stupid. No child is stupid. They just haven't been reached yet. And the illustrations were very unique and wonderful!

As an extension, I would hand out a sheet of paper with every student's name listed to each student in the classroom. Students would then be required to write one positive word beside each child's name. I would then collect those, compile the words, and give them back to the students, so that each student knows that he/she is a special and integral part of my classroom. Another extension could be to have the children show off an interesting talent during class. This way, we can recognize and appreciate each student for his or her uniqueness.
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LibraryThing member perihan
Chibi was a boy, who hid underneath the schoolhouse floor. No one knew much about him, but they called him Chibi, it meant tiny boy. Chibi was afraid of his teacher and classmates, so he never spoke until a new teacher Mr. Isobe became his teacher. Mr. Isobe took great interest in Chibi, gave him attention he needed, spent time talking with him. With Mr. Chibi’s encouragement, Chibi appeared on the stage for talent show. He imitated the voices of crows. He showed the audience how the baby crows, mother crows, father crow, how crows cry in the morning, crows when they are happy. All of the listeners’ minds were taken to the far mountainside from which probably Chibi was. At the end of his show, Chibi imitate a crow on an old tree. Now the listeners could imagine exactly the far and lonely place Chibi lived. Mr. Isobe told the people how Chibi learned to imitate all the sounds. It was result of walking to school everyday for six years. After the talent show no one ever called Chibi, which meant tiny boy, instead they called him Crow Boy.… (more)
LibraryThing member Cottonwood.School
The story of a strange, shy little boy in a Japanese village school who was ignored by his classmates until suddenly, and almost too late, a new teacher showed them that Crow Boy had much to offer.
LibraryThing member cbruiz
In this book, a young child attending his preliminary schooling in Japan, experiences life outside of his parent's farming community. Outcasted, isolated, on his first day, he hides under the school building, afraid of attending. From his first day up until the sixth grade, Crow Boy, dubbed such for his accurate mimicking of the different crows which encircle his long walk to school from his parents farm, he does not make a friend, except for one teacher, who see's the light inside Crow Boy, and helps bring it out accordingly. Crow Boy begins doing charcoal drawings, befriending his teacher and spending recess with him instead of alone on the school yard, where the kids antagonize him. On his last day of school, there is a talent show which he attends. At first the children all laugh at him, but his teacher introduces what talent he retains. Crow Boy shows off his charcoal drawings and mimicks the different types of crows, the children amazed at his talent, having made fun of him. After, Crow Boy went back to his parents farm and worked for them, not attending school anymore, yet on certain days he is seen at the market, selling charcoal. The artwork in this book his raw, the colors accurately depicting a mid-fifties Japan. The story is good, depicting that the quietest, and shyest of people are some of the most talented and spirited of people.… (more)
LibraryThing member haleyg
This is a realistic story about a young Asian boy the kids called, Chibi, who was very small. He didn't like talking in school, and was affraid of the other kids and teachers. He started crossing his eyes to prevent seeing what he didn't want to see that he was affraid of. He carried a rice ball wrapped in a raddish leaf for lunch everyday. There was a new teacher finally after many years who became interested in, Chibi. His name was Mr. Isobe. He respected Chibi's knowledge of outdoor paths, flowers, crops... and enjoyed his black and white drawings and hung them on the walls of the classroom. He also enjoyed Chibi's unique handwriting and would hang this on display too. He encouraged Chibi to participate in the school's talent show. Chibi immitated crow sounds varying from baby crows to morning calls to father's calls to sunset noises. The audience loved it, and from then on the kids called Chibi, Crow Boy. The reason Chibi knew all of these different calls was because he walked to school for miles at the crack of dawn and wouldn't get home from school until sunset every day. Everyone cried for not acknowledging Chibi more and felt bad for how they'd been teasing him all these years. He graduated as the only student with perfect attendance for 6 years!… (more)
LibraryThing member GayWard
A misunderstood boy is helped to express himself by a teacher in a talent show using impersonations of crows.
LibraryThing member E.OB
Crow boy is about a young boy that comes to school and was not really every excepted in his class. He was left alone during school for many years and picked on. It wasn't until his last year in class that a new teacher had provided him a little extra attention to talk to him and learn about him. At the end of a book Crow boy enters the talent show, everyone makes fun as him until they realize that he has a very special talent. His talent is that he can speak just like the crows that fly above. He had learned this sounds from his walk to school early in the morning and on his way home. This book as a good lesson in it on that you should not judge someone before you know them.… (more)
LibraryThing member rata
a good book to discuss with a class about difference and accepting everyone's diversity. Crow Boy is a Japanese story about a boy who attends school and he is not made very wellcome by his peers. He is often made fun of because he is poor, not as quick as others to learn and more often than not he is late. There are very good reasons for these so called defiences as Crow Boy lives many miles from the school in a rural area. His parents struggle to make ends meet and cannot afford resources. However Crow Boy is very good at imitating crow bird noises and communicating with them. The teacher encourages Crow Boy to take part in a school concert where Crow Boy amazes every one with his skills.… (more)
LibraryThing member TorrieM
I would use this book for K-6 gade. It is about a small boy named Chibi who everyone was mean to. They didn't speak to him and always made fun of him. He decided to be in the talent show and everyone called him stupid. He got up and made crow noises and everyone cryed. From that day forward everyone respected him and called him Crow Boy. I would use this book to show that is it important to be kind to others no matter how different they are.… (more)
LibraryThing member kristynzonsius
This book explains how a boy walks a far way to school each day and no one likes him. At the end of the book they realize he knows a lot about the walk he takes to school and how he can talk like crows. The children then call him Crow Boy.
LibraryThing member gjchauvin504
The moral lesson of this story is beautiful, and should be included in every classroom at the beginning of the school year. Through this lesson, the reader learns to develop an awareness for individual differences. This short story will present you with an enjoyable learning experience. I highly recommend this book for any type of reader.… (more)
LibraryThing member amcnutt
This book is about a boy who is smaller than the other students at his school so he gets picked on and keeps to himself. At the end of the story he is a part of the school talent show making the noises of the different crows. He then becomes noticed and gets a new name "Crow Boy".

I think that this would be a great book for all elementary grade levels because it can teach students that everyone has something special about them and that no one should be treated in a hurtful way. It would go well with a friendship and belonging lesson in the classroom.… (more)
LibraryThing member RachelPeterson
This book is about a boy who is "different" from the rest of his peers. At the end of the story he performs in his school's talent show, making different noises of crows. He then earn the name of "Crow Boy" this book is great for elementary students, it teaches us that we all have a special talent, and that everyone should be treated equally.… (more)
LibraryThing member kelseyo
This book is about a boy that speaks his own language and the children at school cannot understand him. The students soon learn more about him and he opens up to them.
LibraryThing member jaimie919
Chibi is very shy and does not have friends at. Everyone makes fun of him because he is diffrenet from the rest. After five years someone finally noticed him. His new teacher saw all the good things about Chibi and was interested. One day Chibi joined the talent show and began to imitate voices of crows! The students began to think about the lonely place Chibi came from. Everyone started to feel horrible for the way they treated him. They realized how wonderful Chibi really was! This shows children that you should never judge a person from their appearance.… (more)
LibraryThing member JillSmith23
This is a great book to teach children about acceptance of different cultures. It is a good book for the early childhood level and elementary level.
LibraryThing member matthewbloome
I wasn't terribly interested in the conclusion of this book. It seemed like no one really improved their behavior after they realized his value and his circumstances didn't improve because of it. The pictures were fair, but not my style.
LibraryThing member beccaowen
A shy boy that the schoolchildren named Chibi regularly attends school, but never says a word, and is widely made fun of by the other children. Eventually, the children and teachers at the school learn that he lives with crows, and speaks their language, and rename him Crow Boy, and befriend him.
LibraryThing member mwittkids
Chibi is an outcast in his Japanese village and school. The moral at the end is very touching.
LibraryThing member EmilyPhilips
Crow Boy is about a boy who always keeps to himself and who the class sees as an outsider. In the end, one teacher takes the time to get to know him and exploits a talent in him that gains the attention of the other kids who begin to accept him. This book is good for middle elementary aged children and would be great for teaching the importance of not judging others because everyone has a different story.… (more)
LibraryThing member Ekelle8
I have recently read the book The Crow Boy by Taro Yashima. In my opinion this is an amazing story for anyone to read. The story is about a misunderstood boy who everyone ignores and neglects in school. Till one year this boy gets a teacher who is very interesting in helping him out so the teacher helps the boy enter the school talent show. When the boy walked on stage everyone thought the boy was not going to do anything interesting but then the boy copied all of the noises he hears on his walk to school every day and impresses the entire school. This changes everyone’s idea of the boy and now the boy is known as the Crow Boy because of his amazing impersonation of the crows at different times of the day. Then the people in the school and the village accepted the Crow Boy for who he was. That is what happened in the story entitled Crow Boy.
One reason I like the Crow boy it has a great message for the reader. The massage the book shows is the story of a young boy who was different showing his individual talents to his fellow classmates with the help of his teacher. This made his classmates notice him as a person and accept him for the individual he is. Also the Crow Boy has very easily understood illustrations that go along with the story. For example in one part of the story that talked about the Crow Boy’s long walk to school every day the story had a beautiful picture of a large hill side with the Crow Boy walking through it. The language in the story is easy to understand, but the names of the characters in the story may be hard for students to read because they are Japanese. When reading the story I noticed that the sentences were short and very easy to understand. I feel that most readers could pick up this book and sit down and enjoy reading it.
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LibraryThing member Skaide1
In response to Taro Yashima's book, "Crow Boy," I have mixed messages as to whether or not I found this book one of my better reads. I think the central message of this work is a crucial aspect to make clear, especially in today's society. The central message was that having differences are okay, and everyone is special in their own particular way. I also believe that this book was trying to give a sense of disability awareness, and in my opinion, I give the author much credit as it is a sensitive subject to write and bring about, especially in a classroom of youngsters. What confused me was the particular difference that the main character in "Crow Boy" obtains. Right from the beginning he is portrayed as an unusually quiet, funny acting type of kid. So naturally, I imagined his peculiar way of acting was due to a special need or disability of some sort. What boggled my mind was the ending! The boy was acting differently, and mocking crows, all due to his sense of isolation from where he lived. He lived father than all the other school children, and lived among many crows. I could see someone being isolated in school due to this situation, but I do not particularly believe that this promotes disability awareness. Overall, I thought the book was smooth sailing but didn't close the case, per say, by the end of the book, and therefore this book was not one of my favorites.… (more)

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