Nathan's Reviews > Totto-chan: The Little Girl at the Window

Totto-chan by Tetsuko Kuroyanagi
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's review
Dec 01, 10

bookshelves: non-fiction, read-2010, translation
Read in December, 2010

As a memoir, the book is unusual. It only spans a few years and during these years the narrator can be no older than about 9. It isn't exactly what you'd expect from Tetsuko Kuroyanagi either. Nothing is explicitly laid out as to how she decided to get into television, theater for the deaf, or how she became the first UNICEF ambassador. The focus was on much more basic aspects of the authors personality and where they came from. The stories are funny, sad, heartwarming, and universal. You don't need to know the author to appreciate the book, nor do you have to be familiar with Japan and Japanese culture.

However, the book is much more than a memoir. The primary merits of the book lie in its presentation, and endorsement, of a model of an alternate elementary education system. At first I couldn't help but think of the school as anything other than an early hippie "go with the flow, no stress, grow naturally" type of system. I wasn't wrong in that, but by the end I was convinced that, skillfully done, the system would actually be very good.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone involved in education. I'd also throw it out there to anyone was interested in a fun, quick to read, and emotional biography.
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