Yuko-chan and the Daruma Doll: The Adventures of a Blind Japanese Girl Who Saves Her Village by Sunny Seki Ages 4 – 8 (One of my 2.5-year-old son’s favorites). Tuttle Publishing. March 2010. ISBN-13: 978-4805311875 Fiction. $15.95.
At a Glance:
If you fall seven times, you must pick yourself up eight times! You need strong faith, and the belief that you can accomplish your goals.
A beautifully illustrated and inspiring book about how a blind girl is able to save her village after the eruption of Mount Asama. Even after reading this book for months it is still a favorite. It is a bilingual book in both English and Japanese. Yuko-Chan and the Daruma Doll promotes resourcefulness, compassion, turning disasters into opportunities, and challenging assumptions.
After the eruption of the volcano, Mount Asama, the nearby village of Takasaki is unsure of how they are going to recover. Their crops have been ruined and they need money.
One day Yuko-Chan, a young, blind girl, has to deliver some food to help nearby villagers. On her way to the village a snow storm strikes leaving Yuko-Chan disoriented. She becomes lost and falls off a cliff. She and her dog are stranded. As they wait in the snow, Yuko-Chan attempts to get some tea from her tea gourd but her hands are too frozen and she keeps dropping it.
She notices that every time she drops the gourd it rights itself. This reminds her of one of Daruma-san’s teachings. “If you fall seven times, you must get up eight times.” She gets the idea of making Daruma Dolls to sell and help her village make money.
She is rescued by a local villager. She talks with him about her idea and he gives her some suggestions and help as to how she can make Daruma Dolls.
She returns to the monastery where she presents her idea to the head monk, Osho-san. Osho-san is impressed with her idea. The entire village begins working on the Daruma Dolls.
They sell the Daruma Dolls at the Spring Festival and are able to make the money they need to save the village.
What started as a disaster has turned into a golden opportunity for everyone!
Our Experience Reading this Book:
It’s a lovely book that is wonderful to read again and again. It teaches wonderful lessons about being resourceful and brave. Everyone has the potential to help and no one should be discounted because they are young or have a disability.
My son loves this book. It is well told and entertaining. I love the positive story, the beautiful illustrations, and the introduction to some aspects of Japanese culture. At the end of the book there is a list of cultural notes that defines Daruma, Daruma Doll, the Daruma Doll Festival, Daruma Games, and Gourds.
Some of Our Favorite Reviews of this Book:
- Wikipedia Article about Daruma Dolls: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daruma_doll
- Daruma Doll Business: http://www.welovedaruma.com/en/shopping/index.html (I’m impressed with all the different Daruma Dolls.)
- Youtube Video about the Making of Daruma Dolls: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OpO7vMkYpmA
- Great Lesson Plan for teaching Daruma Dolls for Ages 4 – 8: http://www.oberlin.edu/amam/asia/daruma/
- Information about the Takasaki Spring Festival: http://hometown.infocreate.co.jp/en/kanto/takasaki/maturi-e.html
Where Obtained: The library.
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