Nancy Schimmel Resumé

Nancy Schimmel was raised in a storytelling family. Her father was a fine autobiographical storyteller who regaled visitors with stories of his time on a sailing ship that was pressed into service to carry freight during the first World War. Her mother, singer/songwriter Malvina Reynolds, introduced her songs by telling the stories behind them. Nancy started performing as a summer camp counselor in her teens, did further work with children as a librarian, and began telling stories to mixed-age audiences at Renaissance Faires and art fairs in the San Francisco Bay Area in the early ’70s. She saw her first full-time storytellers at the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough in 1975, and immediately quit her library job to go on the road. In Moby Jane, her big white van, she and her storytelling partners crossed the country many times from 1976 to 1981.

Her book, Just Enough to Make a Story, grew out of the storytelling courses she taught to adults in the library schools at UCLA, UC Berkeley and the University of Wisconsin, and to kids and teens in Idaho schools. She has told traditional and original stories to adults and children at festivals, schools (including U.S. Army schools in Germany), colleges, libraries, hospitals, churches, bookstores, meetings, rallies, coffee houses and on rafting trips. In performances and workshops she tells stories from many cultures; some with participation, music, paperfolding or other folk arts.


BA in Psychology, University of California at Berkeley, 1957 Masters in Library Science, University of California at Berkeley, 1965


Just Enough to Make a Story: A Sourcebook for Storytelling. Sisters’ Choice Recordings and Books, 1978, 3rd edition, 1992.

Plum Pudding: Stories and Songs with Nancy Schimmel and the Plum City Players. Sisters’ Choice, 1982 (record and audio cassette, not available).

Tell Me a Story: Nancy Schimmel. BARR Entertainment, 1986 (video cassette).

“The Woodcutter’s Story” in Best Loved Tales from the National Storytelling Festival. NAPPS, 1991. Also in To Be a Hero, Perfection Learning, 2000.

“Telling Stories to Your Kids” in Whole Earth Review, Summer 1991, pp. 68-69.

Save My Rainforest, by Monika Zak, illustrated by Bengt-Arne Runnerstrom. English version by Nancy Schimmel. Volcano Press, 1992.

“The Tailor” retelling with activities in Spinning Tales, Weaving Hope: Stories of Peace, Justice & the Environment edited by Ed Brody et al. New Society, 1992.

“Wait Till Martin Comes” (retelling with suggestions for telling) in The Ghost & I: Scary Stories for Participation Telling edited by Jennifer Justice,, Yellow Moon, 1992.”

“Footnotes on Nature: Annotated Resources” in the Nature Tales issue of Storytelling Magazine v. 14 no. 3, May/June 2002.

“Traditional Stories That Address Adoption Issues” article and story list in The Healing Heart—Families edited by Allison M. Cox and David H. Albert. New Society, 2003.