Biography 0f the Performer

Joni Kaiulani Andersen

Fort Worth, TX


I was born on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii near where my father's family relocated after they moved from the Hana side of Maui, Hawaii.  However, my mother's family is from Texas, so I have ended up moving between the two states for the majority of my life.  I am married to a wonderful man, Chris G. Andersen, and have two beautiful daughters, Kennedy Malie and Parker Kehaulani. I am an elementary school librarian at Western Hills Elementary School with the Fort Worth Independent School District.


M.S. Candidate School of Library and Information Science
Graduate Academic Certificate in Youth Services in Libraries
Candidate Graduate Academic Certificate in Storytelling
University of North Texas, Denton, Texas
Graduate School of Library and Information Sciences

M.A. Liberal Arts
Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, Texas 
Graduate School of Research
B.A. English
Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah
School of Humanities


"There have been great societies that did not use the wheel,
but there have been no societies that did not tell stories."
-- Ursula K. LeGuin

I remember that I used to make up stories to tell my little brothers and sisters.  I really enjoyed mixing up fairy tales or adding in modern twists to the older versions.  Can you imagine the gingerbread man with a hand mixer running around the kitchen or the three little pigs teaming up with the three blind mice?  Currently, I have returned to the stories that I remember hearing or reading when I was a child -- stories about my culture -- stories about Pele and the Night marchers of the Pali.  Aside from the usual bedtime storytelling impromptu performances I have with my daughters, I try to perform for my students at the elementary school.  I believe that storytelling has a fundamental and necessary place in our society today.  As Anne Watson stated, "Stories tells us what we already knew and forgot, and remind us what we haven't yet imagined." Above all, I believe that the stories and the performances should always come from the heart.


I have always been inspired to tell stories by my father's side of the family.  I would like to dedicate my story to my father, Thomas K. Spurrier (who raised me to be the woman that I am today), my daughters -- Kennedy and Parker, my sister -- Maile Spurrier, and my grandmother, Catherine Spurrier, the most amazing woman I have ever had the privilege of knowing in my life.