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Totto-chan: The Little Girl at the Window

4.35  ·  Rating details ·  23,401 ratings  ·  2,432 reviews
This engaging series of childhood recollections tells about an ideal school in Tokyo during World War II that combined learning with fun, freedom, and love. This unusual school had old railroad cars for classrooms, and it was run by an extraordinary man--its founder and headmaster, Sosaku Kobayashi--who was a firm believer in freedom of expression and activity.
Paperback, 232 pages
Published May 15th 1996 by Kodansha (first published January 1st 1981)
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Ben Soon He is the boy that Tottochan likes
ANURAG PATIL she expected because he loved the school and wanted to be the pupil of that school…moreshe expected because he loved the school and wanted to be the pupil of that school (less)
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Ahmad Sharabiani
Madogiwa no Totto-chan = Totto-chan: The Little Girl at the Window, Tetsuko Kuroyanagi

Totto-chan, the Little Girl at the Window is a children's book written by Japanese television personality and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Tetsuko Kuroyanagi. The book was published originally as "Madogiwa no Totto-chan" in 1981, and became an instant bestseller in Japan.

The book is about the values of the unconventional education that Kuroyanagi received at Tomoe Gakuen, a Tokyo elementary school founded by
Jun 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Totto-chan: The Little Girl at the Window was written by Tetsuko Kuroyanagi, a Japanese actress, who wrote this memoir based on her childhood experience at Tomoe Gakuen primary school, before World War II.

Totto-chan, who was labeled as a troublemaker by her teacher, was forced to leave school. Her anxious mother then took her to Tomoe Gakuen, a school ran by headmaster Mr. Kobayashi, who had utterly different views on schooling than the other educators of his time. He was an educator who
Mar 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I believe books can do magic. They can hypnotize you, they can make you laugh, they can even break your heart or they can take you to a journey you may have never dreamt of! Yeah, books are magic!

And this book of Totto chan is the greatest magic I have come across recently. I dont think only five stars can truly express my feelings for this book!

Totto Chan, a first grader, Japanese girl lived in a world of her own. She loved to talk, loved to make new friends and always has a heap of questions
Shuhan Rizwan
Mar 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Got this as a present from a Totto-chan look alike.
Had a sheer delightful read.
Aug 31, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: my sister,my friends
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I stumbled upon an important book the other day.

I probably found it because K is next to J and when Im in a used bookstore, I always look for Tove Jansson books.

On this day at Retold Tales I noticed a little book called Totto-Chan: The Little Girl at the Window by Tetsuko Kuroyanagi. The brief dust jacket description told me it was a persons true recollections about a school of fun, freedom, and love that met in old train cars.

I started reading it there on the floor and knew Id buy it. I
Mansi Sharma
Apr 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone. Specially, parents and teachers to be.
Shelves: favorites
How much better the world will be if parents and teachers could see what this book tries to say so beautifully! Totto-chan is a story that, if understood in spirit, would result in children who grow up to be sensitive adults and an education that equips children with the learning about themselves and forming healthy relationships with the world around them, and not merely with the expertise in passing this examination, and topping that.

Tetsuko Kuroyanagi, I love you for having written this.
Evelyn (devours and digests words)
Beautiful and poetically written!

A nostalgic read, too. Brought me to tears at the near ending.

The Girl at the Window is a memoir written in bits and snippets of the author's real experiences at her beloved school, Tomoe Gakuen. It is no ordinary school. 'Trains' served as the classrooms because of the lack of funds and it was a difficult time with war brewing around the corner.

Sosaku Kobayashi is the headmaster of the school who acts like both parent and teacher figure. Even after his death,
Library Next Door
Sep 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reread this memorable book that i've read it when i was in elementary school. I'm trying to fly away in sweet memorable things in elementary school. This book is awesome. I always had a warm feeling after read it. It should be required reading for anyone involved in education and highly recommended to you and all of parents

Favorite Quote :
"Having eyes, but not seeing beauty; having ears, but not hearing music; having minds, but not perceiving truth; having hearts that are never moved and
Padmaja (thebookishtales)
Relived my childhood days by rereading this one 😁 Absolutely delightful 😍
Rose Ann
Jun 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Such a charming book!

I do have to say, I would have finished this much is normally a nice, quick read...but life with my 3 kids has been busy lately, so it took longer than normal.

Totto-Chan was very fortunate to be able to go to school at Tomoe.
I wish there were more schools like it.
I love that the headmaster really was committed to these children and their education. Making sure to let Totto-Chan know..." really are a good girl, you know." Always giving her that positive
In class 1, my Malayalam teacher used to read a chapter of this adorable book to us every Monday evening, before the school hours ended. I cannot remember how far we had reached before my teacher went on maternity leave, but we never completed the reading that school year. And now, here I am, finishing this book after 25 years a quarter of a century later in another language, in another city, on another Monday evening! :) ...more
Eden Rose
Jul 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It made my eyes water
Shimin Mushsharat
Mar 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: EVERYONE
Recommended to Shimin by: Tukunjil Nayeera
I am so incredibly grateful for this one! One of the best books I have ever read.
i was surprised that despite the fact that i used to hear about totto-chan quite a lot when i was growing up, i never actually read the book until now. no wonder this story is being used as a part of the education syllabus in japan! at first, totto-chan reminded me of roald dahl's beloved character, matilda but this one has a better ring on the whole 'when grown-ups fail to understand a kid who's smarter than they are' concept because it was based on the true story!!! the train school indeed ...more
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
I usually avoid "wonderful teacher" books like the plague, but then those books are often written by the teacher him/herself, or ghost-written with their approval, and can be oh so self-congratulatory. This one, however, was written by a student whose school experiences truly formed her character.

Totto-chan is expelled from school (in first grade!) for being disruptive. She's not hostile or violent, just curious and easily bored. I suppose today they'd call her hyperactive or ADD or something
Missy J

I can see now why this childhood memoir is popular worldwide. It's a wonderful story advocating for respect, joy of learning and being kind to oneself and those around you.

The author Tetsuko Kuroyanagi was born in 1933 Japan. The story of this novel is set around the time when she was 5-6 years old, meaning just a few years before the Pacific War erupted.

Kuroyanagi wrote this book in dedication of her headmaster Mr. Kuboyashi. When Kuroyanagi first started her primary education, she was kicked
Feb 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Omg I loved this book so much! It was soooo cute and sweet I enjoyed reading every short story of her childhood that Kuroyanagi included.
I can't believe I only came across this book today on GR and realized I forgot to add it xD
* Plot * : Totto-chan is a mischievous little girl who is overactive and loves to explore the world around her. However, her out-of-the-blue questions resulted in her being labeled as a troublemaker. Having to transfer school multiple times, her mother found an
Abhishek Saha Joy
Jul 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: japanese
This book portraits the journey of a little girl Totto-chan and her school life during World War II.As a matter of fact,in this book the writer Tetsuko Kuroyanagi reminisced her childhood memories.

We all know that,a child's mind is one of the purest things in this world.Instead of forceing them to go to school with a pile of books,we should guide them to bloom on their own way.We should keep their curiosity awakened.That's the way of making a 'real' human being!

Mr. Sosaku Kobayashi,take a
Saima Taher  Shovon
All i know is -this book stole my heart❣
Dec 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Jan 23, 2010 rated it liked it
This is a charming memoir by a famous Japanese television personality about her time at the wonderfully unconventional school she attended in Tokyo in the early 1940s. At Tomoe School, there were no buildings as all the classrooms were in disused railroad cars, children were encouraged to study what they wanted when they wanted, in the warm weather they all swam nude in the pool without self consciousness, they learned respect for themselves and for each other, and apparently most of them grew ...more
I took almost a month to finish this because some eye troubles, otherwise this is a fun and a very entertaining book to read and it's the true story of the author herself Tetsuko Kuroyanagi/Totto-chan.

Totto-chan is a hyperactive little girl in first grade full of excitement and enthusiasm. She gets expelled from first grade shortly after the school year started. Her parents enrolls her to a rather unique school in Tokyo, Tomoe founded by Sosaku Kobayashi, the headmaster who uses creative,
May 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
There is no way I am ging to able to write a conventional "review" of this book. It is a book that read before I knew what it meant for the books to be close to your heart. But, subconsciously, I have always felt as if, I was ordered to read that book that night by a supreme force. I read this, staying up late before a very important exam (good thing, my mom does not use Goodreads :D ) and could not put it down. I got emotional, I got happy for the protagonist, felt sad and shared her sadness on ...more
Nayana Renukumar
Aug 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
One of the most beautiful books I have ever read and re-read a thousand times. For a long time, Totto-Chan defined the ideal childhood for me. It's been almost 15 years since I last read it but I still remember Takahashi, Osaka, Master Kobayashi and many more.

Totto-Chan was one of my most intimate (albeit imaginary)childhood friends. Read this book to go back to the halcyon, carefree, sun-lit days of those innocent years.
Dec 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Very cute story about a super cute japanese girl (about 6 years old) that goes to a new school and the "adventures" she has there. Everyday stories of japan in (i guess) 30s.
I wish it was translated in greek so that I could have read it as a kid.
Ha Truong
Jan 02, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Really like the little girl and the principal in the story.
May 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book was recommended to me by a friend of mine. She claimed that of all the books that she had read, this book had the most influence on her. So, before starting the book, I had high expectations. I am glad to say that this book definitely lived up to the expectations.

The book is a description of an extraordinary school in Japan. We get to experience this school via the lens of a little girl who attends the school. This girl called Totto chan gets rejected from all conventional schools
It was okay but somehow this book wasnt for me.
But it was fine after all.
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Tetsuko Kuroyanagi is an internationally famous Japanese actress, a talk show host, a best-selling author of children book.

She founded the Totto Foundation, named for the eponymous and autobiographical protagonist of her book Totto-chan, The Little Girl at the Window. The Foundation professionally trains deaf actors, implementing Kuroyanagi's vision of bringing theater to the deaf.

In 1984, in

News & Interviews

“Let us remember: One book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world.” That’s Malala Yousafzai, Pakistani human rights...
47 likes · 15 comments
“Having eyes, but not seeing beauty; having ears, but not hearing music; having minds, but not perceiving truth; having hearts that are never moved and therefore never set on fire. These are the things to fear, said the headmaster.” 213 likes
“Drying her eyes, Mother said to Totto-chan very slowly, "You're Japanese and Masao-chan comes from a country called Korea. But he's a child, just like you. So, Totto-chan, dear, don't ever think of people as different. Don't think, 'That person's a Japanese, or this person's a Korean.' Be nice to Masao-chan. It's so sad that some people think other people aren't nice just because they're Koreans.” 50 likes
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