Challenged/Banned – Crow Boy

Part IImage

Yashima, T. (1983). Crow boy. Harmondsworth, England: Puffin Books.

Genre: Children’s Literature – Challenged

Age Level: 8-10 years

Grade Level: 3rd-5th grade

Part II

Issues Raised: 

A very important issue raised in this children’s book is the issue of bullying and ostracizing based on social class. The book comes off a little creepy at first; the art work is very minimalistic and rough, with the character’s faces shaded out so that they aren’t completely clear to see. It’s so important that the issue of bullying is brought out early on in education because so many students deal with it on a daily basis, even if it isn’t directed towards them. I love that this book takes on the view from the main character – it gives the reader an insight to what he’s thinking and experiencing as an outcast boy. Hope and strength is also a main theme of the book because the main character continues to work hard to attend school and help his family. 


Raising the idea of privileged and non-privileged would be a great way to start off discussion for 4th or 5th graders. We can discuss scenarios by asking each other how long it takes them to walk to school? Do they drive or walk? What distracts you during class? Where do you like to spend some time alone?

Part III


I checked out this book from the La Verne Public Library. It’s a book that includes a listening CD. I listened to the CD while I read the book. At first, I was a little creeped out by the illustrations and tiny words (it’s an odd book!), but I loved the lesson it taught. I had never read a book that broke down the mindset and actions of a person who was outcast. I think it helps students see why some students might act the way they do. Also, I loved that the teacher helped him be more open and taught him to embrace his hidden talents. Crow Boy was challenged by one school board member in Queens, New York stating that the book “denigrates white American culture, promotes racial separation, and discourages assimilation.” He was the only one who voted to ban the book.

Part IV

Lesson Sketch:

This is a lesson plan for 5th grade. Students will evaluate the book with these discussion questions and more. Then they will research to find a book that has a similar theme. They will compare and contrast the two. Then students will write in a personal journal about a time where they experienced or witnessed bullying, how they reacted, and how they could react better in the future. They will write a haiku about their experience.


Students can also review maps from Japan to study geography, study crows for science, and do all black and white drawings for art.

Discussion Questions:

1. What made Chibi different from his classmates?

2. “Chibi made his eyes cross-eyed so that he would not see certain things. What are some of the things he did not want to see?”

3. What clues were given in the story that told us more about Chibi’s lifestyle?

4. After Chibi performed at the talent show, why did the children and grown ups cry?

Vocabulary words:

attendance, grubs, admired, forlorn, trudging, imitate, amuse, amazed



Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text, including how characters in a story or drama respond to challenges or how the speaker in a poem reflects upon a topic; summarize the text.

Describe how a narrator’s or speaker’s point of view influences how events are described.

Analyze multiple accounts of the same event or topic, noting important similarities and differences in the point of view they represent.

Websites: (AMAZING lesson plan sorted out!) (another great lesson plan with handouts) (a blog on a review of the book)


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