Performing Kamishibai: An Emerging New Literacy for a Global Audience, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Performing Kamishibai

An Emerging New Literacy for a Global Audience, 1st Edition

By Tara McGowan


214 pages | 4 B/W Illus.

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Kamishibai (paper-theater), a Japanese picture-storytelling medium, is gaining global interest as we move from a text-based culture to one that emphasizes multiple semiotic systems and performance. This is the first volume to explore the potential of kamishibai as a dynamic "new" interactive medium for teaching multimodal communication and shows how synchronizing oral, visual and gestural modes develops students’ awareness of all modes of communication as potential resources in their learning. By examining the multiple modes involved in kamishibai through actual student performances over several venues, this volume overturns commonly held expectations about literacy in the classroom and provides a critical perspective on assumptions about other media. It offers much-needed information about a medium that is attracting interest from educators, academics and artists worldwide.


"This is a fascinating and well-researched book. McGowan draws our attention to important deficits in traditional 'mono-modal' education, and presents us with a lively, interesting way of overcoming them." - Kate Katafiasz, Other Education Journal

Table of Contents

Introduction: Why Kamishibai? 2. Multiple Kamishibais: The Evolving History of a Traveling Medium 3. The Modal Fluidity of Mr. G’s Classroom 4. Entering Narrative through the Kineikonic Mode 5. Illustration as Gesture: Synchronizing Hand, Voice, and Eye 6. The Three Rs: Writing, Recursivity, and Repertoire 7. The Modal Fixity of Ms. P’s Classroom 8. Upending Classroom Hierarchies by Juggling Multiple Modes 9. Performing Magic Conclusion: The Emergent Qualities of Text

About the Author

Tara McGowan conducts kamishibai workshops in schools, libraries, and museums. In 2010, she published The Kamishibai Classroom: Engaging Multiple Literacies through the Art of ‘Paper Theater.’ Tara earned her PhD in literacy at the University of Pennsylvania and currently works at the American Philosophical Society Museum in Philadelphia.

About the Series

Routledge Research in Education

This series aims to present the latest research from right across the field of education. It is not confined to any particular area or school of thought and seeks to provide coverage of a broad range of topics, theories and issues from around the world.

Please send inquiries or proposals for this series to one of the following:

Will Bateman: [email protected] – Editor, UK and Rest of World

Elsbeth Wright: [email protected] – Editor, North & South America

Vilija Stephens: [email protected] – Editor, Australia & New Zealand

Katie Peace: [email protected] – Publisher, Asia


Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
EDUCATION / Teaching Methods & Materials / Reading & Phonics
EDUCATION / Teaching Methods & Materials / Arts & Humanities
PERFORMING ARTS / Storytelling