"I just want to thank you for the beauty of your presentation - all the time, love, and care you placed into it. And also, I just enjoyed you! It didn't seem like I was sitting in a theater listening to you speak. I felt more like we were in a kitchen together enjoying a cuppa and getting to know each other!"
Elaine L., audience member at the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, TN
Anne Shimojima is a third generation Japanese American, born and
raised in Chicago, Illinois. An award-winning elementary school library
media specialist of 35 years, she first discovered the power of story
with her students, using storytelling to enrich and expand the
curriculum and develop a deep emotional connection with her listeners.
Anne became a professional storyteller in 1982. She taught graduate courses in storytelling
for National-Louis University and for eight years served on the board of the Wild Onion Storytelling Festival in Chicago.
In 2005 Anne interviewed her 91-year-old aunt about her experiences in an incarceration camp in World War II. From this Anne developed her family story, Hidden Memory; An American World War II Story, which she presents with photos from her family and the National Archives to tell the story of a Japanese-American community devastated by war but surviving with perseverance, determination, and incredible strength. Anne’s workshop on family history shows people how to connect with and share their own family stories.
Some highlights in her storytelling career include a week as Teller-in-Residence at the International Storytelling Center in Jonesborough, TN (2014 and 2019) and performing at such venues as the National Storytelling Festival, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Illinois Storytelling Festival, the Talk Story Storytelling Festival in Honolulu, Storytelling Arts of Indiana, the Hans Christian Andersen Statue in Central Park, the Chicago Botanic Garden, and at three Tokyo high schools, sharing her family's World War II story as a guest of the government of Japan.
Anne's CD Sakura Tales: Stories from Japan was awarded a Storytelling World Resource Honor Award in 2019.
In 2022, Anne was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, Silver Rays, conferred by His Majesty the Emperor of Japan, for promoting Japanese culture in the United States and promoting friendly relations and mutual understanding between Japan and the United States.
B.S. in Elementary Education, University of Illinois
M.S. in Library Science, University of Illinois.
National Storytelling Network
Northlands Storytelling Network
Illinois Storytelling, Inc.