I had the pleasure being in the audience at the Rye Free Reading Room Public Library on Tuesday, May 3rd, for an early evening performance of Japanese Pop-Up and Movable Books & Kamishibai Visual Storytelling. The children’s room storytelling area was filled with an all ages crowd, from toddlers who were entranced to parents and grandparents who also were totally engaged.
Ms. Winter and Ms. Pullman both used Japanese Pop-Up and Movable books to great effect. The surprise of the movements created a lot of oohs, ahhhs and laughter, as the Japanese folk lore unfolded before them. Each book has exact text, as in an American picture book, but there is the chance for broader investment in audience reactions and interpretation in the presentations.
Ms Okamoto was the final storyteller, and used the Kamishibai Theater to present her tale. A master of the art, she captured the attention of everyone in the room with her vocal and physical characterizations, historical context, and the wonderful visuals of the story.
The Kmaishibai storytellers used to travel by bike, with the theater closed into a traveling case. Once they arrived to tell, they would unfold the box, creating a theater like presentation. Once everyone was gathered, by the clacking of the blocks, the storyteller would raise the curtain in the box, and tell the story picture by picture.
This was a fun event. I wish I could have taken photos of some of the children. The wonder that was displayed across their faces proved the power of storytelling, and how involved they can be. If you have the chance to see Japanese Storytelling, or any Storytelling event, please don’t hesitate to go. It’s not just for the children.
If you wish to contact the storytellers, please click on their names above for their email addresses.