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NSN Storyteller Profile ... Tara McGowan

34-F Chicopee Dr.
Princeton, NJ 08540

(609) 651-7791

(609) 651-7791


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Tara McGowan is a visual artist who performs her own original kamishibai (Japanese Paper Theater) stories at storytelling festivals in Japan and in the US. She conducts kamishibai workshops and residencies in schools, libraries, and museums. In 2010, she published "The Kamishibai Classroom: Engaging Multiple Literacies through the Art of ‘Paper Theater" (ABC-CLIO) an instructional guide for teachers and storytellers. In 2015, she published "Performing Kamishibai: An Emerging New Literacy for a Global Audience" (Routledge Press) focusing on leading students through the process of creating and performing their own original kamishibai stories.

Tara received her PhD from the Language and Literacies in Education Division of the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania and is currently an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Post-Doctoral Curatorial Fellow at the American Philosophical Society Museum in Philadelphia. Her most recent kamishibai stories were created in conjunction with exhibitions at the Museum, including "What Cornelius Varley (1781-1873) Saw" and "A Bone to Pick with Buffon: A True Story about Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)."

Tara has written several online articles and interviews about the history of kamishibai and its current educational uses around the world. They can be found at:


Types of stories I tell:

I tell folktales from around the world with a focus on stories from Asia, particularly China, Japan, and Indonesia. My programs teach about different aspects of the culture through stories, images, and objects. I also perform published and original kamishibai stories for audiences of all ages.

I tell stories for:

All Ages

I provide workshops:


I am willing to travel:


My travel requirements:

I ask for reimbursement for travel expenses, accommodations (if necessary), and workshop materials.

School Districts I am cleared to work in:

I have worked extensively in school districts in New Jersey and New York.

I am willing to mentor:


Organizations I belong to:

International Museum Theater Alliance (IMTAL), Literacy Research Association (LRA), American Education Research Association (AERA), American Alliance of Museums (AAM)