BOOK REVIEW McGowan: Performing Kamishibai

Kate Katafiasz


This book describes a research project in which Kamishabi (paper-theatre) is used as a learning medium in two very different New Jersey primary school classes. It is an interesting read, full of lively illustrative examples of children’s learning. Author Tara McGowan documents and analyses the diverse and sometimes surprising ways in which children across the ability range and their teachers responded to her Kamishibai project. The work aims to appeal cross-culturally—as the title suggests—to educationalists everywhere; in particular perhaps, to those who want to put children in active charge of the relationship between word and image, to which they are so often passively subjected by TV and the Internet. As a drama educator with these concerns myself, I can see Kamishibai adding a rich and interesting performative dimension to my existing stock of inquiry-based learning strategies...


Drama; Theatre; Educational alternatives; progressive education; alternative education; difference; educational theory; educational philosophy; home education; education policy

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McGowan, T. (2015). Performing Kamishibai: An emerging new literacy for a global audience. London: Routledge.

Heathcote, D. (1991). Collected writings on education and drama. Evanston: Northwestern University Press.

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