Written and illustrated by Sunny Seki
Published by Tuttle Publishing, 2012, (NB. Tuttle is the world’s largest publisher of books in Asia)
Bilingual edition: Japanese/English
Themes: Blindness, Japan, courage, community
In Japan, there is an active volcano called Mount Asama. Two hundred years ago it errupted into flames. It the shot out ashes that covered the surrounding villages and damaged the crops.
In the village of Takasaki, there lived an orphaned blind girl who stayed at the Daruma Temple. her name was Yuko-Chan, or Warm Water Girl, because she had such a warm, gentle personality.
“Yuko-chan and the Daruma Doll, a gorgeous book by author/illustrator Sunny Seki, takes readers on a journey into ancient Japan and the story behind the famous Daruma Doll.
Yuko-chan, an adventurous blind orphan, is able to do amazing things. She confronts a temple burglar in the dead of night, and crosses treacherous mountain passes to deliver food to hungry people. During her travels, Yuko-chan trips and tumbles down a snowy cliff. She discovers a strange thing as she waits for help: her tea gourd, regardless of how she drops it, always lands right-side-up. The tea has frozen in the bottom of the gourd! Inspired by this, she creates the famous Daruma doll toy, which rights itself when tipped—a true symbol of resilience.
Thanks to Yuko-chan’s invention, the villagers are able to earn a living and feed themselves by selling the dolls. Yuko-chan never gave up, no matter the obstacles she faced, and the Daruma doll is a charming reminder of the power of perseverance.” (from publisher’s website)
Why I like this book:
Spunk and humour, this book is full of both. Often books about cultures very different to our own are hard for children to relate to. The text and illustrations are overflowing with information about Japan, but with the comic illustrative style and courageous heroine, the cultural insights will be readily absorbed by readers. i do recommend this, though, for an older age group, due to the length and series of stories within the book. A spirit of hope and survival against the odds spring from the pages. Another great multicultural classroom addition!
There is a page of helpful cultural notes at the back of the book.
Daruma Doll lesson plans and games for kids.