(973) 673 - 1832

BIOGRAPHY

"Who dares to teach must never cease to learn."
-John Cotton Dana

I first realized that I was storytelling while teaching a class about volcanoes. As students gazed almost hypnotized into an imaginary volcano that I had created in the middle of the classroom floor, I better understood the power of storytelling. We were there at the edge of the crater. We had journeyed to Hawaii and experienced the fury of Pelé as she spewed molten lava across the island. They were hooked. I was hooked. Thus my love affair for storytelling and its many uses had begun.
As a teacher, I was able to use storytelling to clarify concepts in all subject matter areas not just Language Arts. From math to science and especially social studies, storytelling played an integral role in my teaching strategies. It is much more intimate than textbooks, film, television, or computers. It involves the teller and the listener much more intimately. I found great need for storytelling among the children in my church. Stories that teach moral living without being "preachy" were quickly accepted and readily understood in our Storytelling Ministry. I made many lasting relationships with our youngest church members who were in need of a lesson based in a good story. Stories from the past, whether they be folktales, historical fiction, or personal narratives bring clarity to life and healing for life today. Now that I have retired from teaching, I am excited about expanding my storytelling. I look forward to sharing my stories throughout the community with both children and adults.

Shirley A. Johnson
STORYTELLER
Phone: 973.673.1832
Email:
sankofastories@aol.com

  • A longtime teacher, Shirley Johnson shares stories that introduce children and adults to new characters and allows them to explore new lands. Johnson, who tells tales about African and African-Americans, is a favorite at festivals and literary workshops throughout New Jersey and New York City.
    - Star-Ledger
  • "A quick note to tell you that all day yesterday and already this morning, students and staff have come up to me to tell me how much they enjoyed the performance - everyone wanting to know how I found you - saying how much the music added to the storytelling and how much the musical instruments given to the students added to everything as well! It was great and I was so pleased. Thank you again!!"
    - Miriam Jacobs, Teacher of Disperse Dye Printing, Tutor, Judaic Artist
  • Thank you for helping to make our Book Fair and Anniversary Celebration a huge success. We're still singing 'AA Anansi" and I know the children loved your storytelling.
    - Cheryl, Wade, and Katura Hudson