Books About Shakespeare for Kids

Although Shakespeare was quite a popular playwright and a favorite of Queen Elizabeth I, after his death in 1616, his plays were not widely performed, and he might have been forgotten had it not been for David Garrick, an actor, who celebrated the first Stratford Jubilee in 1769. For the next 250 years, Shakespeare's plays have been a part of Western culture.

William Shakespeare & the Globe

William Shakespeare & the Globe
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It's hard to understand Shakespeare without understanding his life and the time in which he lived. This book by Aliki helps children do both. Instead of being divided into chapters, it is divided into acts and scenes, as plays are. Act 1, Scene 1 covers Shakespeare's birth and childhood. The three scenes in Act 2 cover London, where Shakespeare moved from Stratford, Queen Elizabeth, and the theater. The book will help children understand what Elizabethan England was like as it pieces together the few known facts about Shakespeare's life. Throughout the book are quotations from the plays and mini-biographies of people who were important in Shakespeare's life. Children will also find a chart listing Shakespeare's plays, a chronology of his life, and a list of just a few of the 2,000 word he coined - like gloomy, moonbeam, and zany.

Ages 4 to 8

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Bard of Avon: The Story of William Shakespeare

Bard of Avon: The Story of William Shakespeare
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When many people think of Shakespeare, they think of his plays, but his nickname, the Bard of Avon, comes from the fact that he was a poet. "Bard" means "poet." In addition to plays, Shakespeare wrote many sonnets. One of the other facts that is so interesting about Shakespeare is that in spite of coming from humble beginnings (he was the son of a glovemaker), he was able to write about royalty and life at the court as though he had been born to it. (For this reason, some critics believe Shakespeare is the pen name of someone who was a member of the court.) This book provides the few facts we know about Shakespeare as well as information about Elizabethan London and the theater of the times. The colorful illustrations are sure to keep children focused on the story.

Ages 4 to 8

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Who Was William Shakespeare?

Who Was William Shakespeare?
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This book is written simply with black and white illustrations that are reminiscent of the woodcut illustrations one might find in the earliest books printed. Shakespeare was born in the mid-1500's, about a hundred years after the printing press was invented. By the time he was born, the printing press was in wide use. Another fact we learn about the world into which Shakespeare was born is that it was an age of exploration and scientific discovery. What an exciting time! It is in the context of this time, that we learn about just who William Shakespeare was. Children younger than 8 will probably enjoy this book.

Ages 8 -12

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Shakespeare for Kids: His Life and Times 21 Activities

Shakespeare for Kids: His Life and TImes
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What's more fun than reading about Shakespeare's life and times? Hands-on activities that bring it all to life! The book provides information about Shakespeare's life and the times in which he lived and offers plenty of activities to reinforce learning that information. One activity is to make a pomander ball. Elizabethans believed that these aromatic balls would ward off diseases, like the Plague, which they thought were caused by bad smelling air. Other activities including staging a sword fight, learning to juggle, making an Elizabethan-style shirt, making a quill pen (and then using it to write a story), inventing new words, and much, much more!

Ages 8 and up

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Eyewitness Books: Shakespeare

Eyewitness Books: Shakespeare
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I am a big fan of Eyewitness books. They are packed with information accompanied by beautiful photographs and illustrations. Readers can skip around to read first about whatever they are most interested in. In this Eyewitness book, children learn about Shakespeare's life, life in Elizabethan England, theater, and Shakespeare's plays. Children will learn about Shakespeare's childhood and see a photo of the house where he was born. They will learn about the clothing and jewelry worn and see photos. They'll learn, too, about musical instruments common in the Elizabethan Era, like violas and sackbuts (Elizabethan trombone). They'll also learn about stage effects, including how actors were able to create a beheaded body. They'll learn, too, about Shakespeare's plays and what inspired them.

Ages 8 to 12

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