Crow Boy

Taro Yashima

When Chibi first starts school, he is afraid of his teacher and the students. Everyone in his class thinks he’s weird. His classmates call him names like “stupid” and “slowpoke.” Although the kids aren’t nice to him, Chibi continues to come to school every day in a dried zebra grass poncho. For lunch, Chibi brings the same thing -- a rice ball wrapped in a radish leaf.

When Chibi and his classmates are in their sixth year of school, their new teacher, Mr. Isobe, befriends Chibi and discovers his talents. Later, in the school talent show, Mr. Isobe encourages Chibi to perform his remarkable crow imitations. The students are stunned by Chibi’s skill and feel sympathy for him for the first time. The kids at school begin to call him Crow Boy, and for the first time, Chibi doesn’t mind the nickname. At the end of the book, Chibi is honored with an award for years of perfect attendance, though he has trudged miles in mountainous terrain to come to and from school each day.

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