See the Stories
Bay Area Parent
I Love Libraries
Looks Good, Works Well
San Jose Mercury News
Yomiuri (English | Japanese)
BBC Interview Excerpt (audio)
Fun Addicts (video)
Reading Becomes Storytelling...
Now you can tell stories,
not just read them. Storycard Theater® books are printed in Japanese kamishibai format — sturdy cards with colorful art on the front for the audience and dramatic text on the back for you. With kamishibai (literally “paper theater”) you can read to a group of children while showing them the
pictures. No longer do you have to twist your neck to
read a picture book! And with the freedom to look your audience
in the eye, you communicate more naturally. Reading
becomes storytelling. It’s easy and fun.
Our cards are 10x13" — small enough to hold comfortably, yet large enough to showcase the colorful artwork. The back of each card features clear, kid-tested text
and a smaller version of the image the audience is seeing, so you always stay matched up.
Storycard Theater books are ideal for classrooms, birthday parties, daycare
centers, family gatherings, and for students learning English. In fact, many children enjoy performing them for each other, or
inventing their own stories based on the artwork.
The kamishibai (kah-mee-shee-bye) format is part of a long tradition of visual storytelling. As far back as the 12th century, Buddhist monks traveled Asia with picture scrolls
to enhance their stories and lectures.
The modern kamishibai format debuted in downtown Tokyo during the Great Depression, when thousands of people were suddenly looking for work. Between the 1930s and 1950s
in Japan, it was common to see kamishibai storytellers
in parks, fields, or on street corners — wherever children
gathered. Riding up on bicycles with a small wooden stage mounted
on the back, these enterprising men sold candies and snacks to
the children, and then launched into a dramatic performance. (Children
who bought candy got to stand closer.)
It’s estimated there
were once 50,000 kamishibai storytellers in Japan. Unfortunately,
as television began to lure children indoors, these
storytellers gradually disappeared. (Read about our visit with “the last kamishibai man in Tokyo.”)
Leaf Moon Arts is excited to bring back this unique and effective
form of storytelling. Learn more about
our stories or attend one of our performances.
Then try it yourself. We think you’ll see why Storycard
Theater owners call the series “spellbinding.”
About Leaf Moon Arts
Leaf Moon Arts is a Japanese-English publisher and storytelling collective based in Folsom, California. Inspired by classic folktales from around the world, we strive to produce stories that demonstrate positive themes to children, such as kindness, friendship, and honesty.