Origami and Storytelling


Asian literature, storytelling, and origami.

Intended Audience

Ages 12 to 15; 10 to 20 attendees.

Program Duration

45 minutes.


Select a story to tell that either originates in Japan or another Asian country or has an Asian character. Select a related origami figure. Practice folding the animal or other object out of paper while telling the story. Some examples of stories are Everyone Knows What a Dragon Looks Like by Jay William. A related origami figure is a dragon that may be found at www.origami.vancouver.bc.ca. Another story is Sadako and a related origami figure is a crane that may be found at www.monkey.org/~adysart/origami/crane/.

Decide upon one or two origami projects to be folded by program attendees. Sakata’s Origami contains a box that can be folded out of an old greeting card. The Make an Origami Jumping Frog web site features a pattern for an easy-to-fold origami frog. Compile an origami packet that includes paper, instructions for the folds that you will use while telling the story, and instructions for folds to be taught to attendees.

Gather books on origami to display during the program and tales and books from Japan and Asia. Prepare and copy a bibliography of these books. Also include a few web sites on origami.

Select Japanese or Asian music to play during the program, such as Oriental Gardens.

Program Description

Origami is the art of paper folding. The word comes from the Japanese words, ori which means “to fold”, and kami which means paper. In this program, young adults listen to a story from Asia while watching the program presenter fold related origami objects. Afterwards the attendees will be taught to fold a few origami figures. Participants listen to Japanese or Asian music when they arrive and as they practice origami. At the end of the program, distribute the bibliography and invite participants to check out some of the books on origami and stories from Japan and Asia that are on display. Invite them to explore the web sites on the library’s computers.


Present a workshop for advanced origami and/or add tangrams.

Young Adult and Professional Resources

  • Complete Origami: An A-Z of Facts and Folds, With Step-by-step Instructions for Over 100 Projects by Eric Kenneway.
  • Easy Origami by Kazuo Kobayashi.
  • Origami by Hidaki Sakata.
  • Sadako by Eleanor Coerr.

Web Sites

Explanation of Basic Folding by Peter Budai


Joseph Wu’s Origami Page


Make an Origami Jumping Frog by Sandra Loosemore



Oriental Gardens by various artists.

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Page last modified: March 2, 2011