This reading guide is designed to accompany Sunny Seki’s picture book Yuko-Chan and the Daruma Doll: The Adventures of a Blind Japanese Girl Who Saves Her Village. Reading Is Resistance sees reading as an opportunity to seed deeper conversations and possibilities for action around racial justice in our communities.
Lesson content was written by Kaleigh Rainwater and was designed to start and deepen anti-bias/anti-racist conversations in families and other learning communities. Editors were Vanessa Eppley and Zoe Hernandez-Macdonald.
DISABILITY, JAPANESE HISTORY, RESOURCEFULNESS, BODHIDHARMA DOLLS, POSITIVITY, RELIGION
THE READ ALOUD
In the story by Sunny Seki, the volcano Mount Asama erupts, leaving the nearby village of Takasaki with destroyed crops and little money. Yuko-Chan, a young orphaned blind girl lives in the village temple. Despite her disability, she bravely confronts a thief, memorizes scripture, and delivers food to those in need. One day during a snowstorm, she and her guide dog get lost and fall off a cliff. Yuko-Chan is very cold and keeps dropping her tea gourd. This is when she realizes no matter how many times she drops it, it goes upright again! It reminds her of Daruma-san’s teachings, “if you fall seven times, you must get up eight times.” This gives Yuko-Chan the idea of creating the Daruma doll! After she is rescued by a villager, the young girl sets off to create her invention with the help of her rescuer and his father. When the doll is complete, she brings it to the head monk. He is impressed, and the villagers start creating them right away. They sell them at the Spring Festival, earning the money they need. Yuko-Chan has saved her village! This book is great to teach children about disability and how it is a strength, not a burden. It teaches that resilience and positivity can lead to great things.
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The full curriculum contains discussion questions, resources, and books to read next!