Twenty-Four Eyes, by Sakae Tsuboi, is a gentle book about a young teacher and her first group of students. The story spans 20 years, or “one generation,” from 1927 to 1947 in a small village in Japan, and it is a tender view of the teacher and her students throughout that turbulent period of time.
The teacher, Mrs. Oishi, was a tiny woman with a huge heart, and her students loved her. In the beginning, however, she had to prove herself to the children and their parents, and struggled with all the issues facing a young teacher. You get to know about the lives of Mrs. Oishi and of each of the 12 children, and learn what happens to them over the course of those years, and of how the war impacts each of their lives.
This is an honest and nostalgic look at life during a period of great change. It is considered an anti-war book, but is not vociferous. It is a gentle story of joy and sadness, growth and change, and of the devastating effects of war on a small group of children and their teacher.
Being a teacher, I loved this book because it honestly portrayed the relationships a teacher has with her students. It touches the heart in a kind and gentle way, and leaves you feeling tenderhearted long after you finish the book.
This is my first book for Dolce Bellezza’s Japanese Literature Challenge.