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Best Children’s Books about Shakespeare

William Shakespeare was a famous British playwright born in 1564. His plays have been performed millions of times around the globe and are still well-loved today.

Primary school children often study simplified versions of the stories from Shakespeare’s plays, with A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Tempest being among the most popular. There are some excellent anthologies of Shakespeare stories retold for children available, such as the illustrated story collection A Stage Full of Shakespeare Stories or the comic-book style Mr Shakespeare’s Plays. There is also a handful of recommended fiction titles with new stories based on characters or settings from Shakespeare’s plays, such as Tempest Terror and A Romeo Roller Coaster.

For non-fiction about Shakespeare’s life and times, try Shakespeare for Everyone or the search-and-find book Shakespeare’s London.

From sonnets and star-crossed lovers to troupes and tragedies, learn all about the famous Bard with our list of the best children’s books about Shakespeare and his plays.

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Children's Versions of Shakespeare Stories

Georghia Ellinas
 & Jane Ray
Picturebook
A captivating picture book retelling by Shakespeare's Globe for very young readers.William Shakespeare's comedy about four lovers' mishaps in an enchanted forest is unforgettably re-imagined by Shakespeare's Globe as a picture book for very young readers. With exquisite and detailed illustrations from the acclaimed artist Jane Ray, who has been shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Medal, this captivating retelling is a magical way to introduce children to one of the best-loved works of the world's greatest playwright.
Marcia Williams
Graphic Novel
Discover the joys of Shakespeare's plays retold in an innovative and lively way. The comic book style illustrations and the delightful details make these stories accessible to young readers. Pupils will enjoy the tales of A Midsummer Night's Dream, Macbeth, The Tempest, Romeo and Juliet and more.
Angela McAllister
 & Alice Lindstrom
Short story collection

A Stage Full of Shakespeare Stories is a collection of 12 of Shakespeare’s plays rewritten as stories for children in Year 3 and up. Each story begins with a title page with wonderful illustrations depicting some of the characters and important objects featured in the story. There is also a quotation from the original version. This is followed by a list of the main characters in the story and an illustration of each one, which is handy to refer back to when reading the story as it also includes how the characters are related to each other. There are beautiful illustrations throughout each story, some of which are full page spreads.

The stories are faithful to the originals and although rewritten to be accessible to younger children, they do not shy away from using ambitious vocabulary. There is some use of language that children may not be familiar with, such as ‘thee’, but this provides a great opportunity for discussion of how language has changed since the plays were originally written and how some words are still in use. At the back of the book, there is some information about Shakespeare and his life as well as a full list of his plays. There is also some additional information about each of the stories in the book including a brief overview of each one and an idea of where the story came from.

A Stage Full of Shakespeare Stories could be used throughout KS2 for a variety of subjects, particularly literacy due to the rich vocabulary used throughout all the stories.

Michael Morpurgo
Chapter book Short story collection
Ten stunning Shakespeare retellings from the master storyteller, with an introduction by Benedict CumberbatchFeaturing re-tellings of ten of Shakespeare’s plays, and beautifully written with Michael Morpurgo’s warm, accessible and inimitable style, this wonderful collection offers a new generation of readers the chance to discover the magic of Shakespeare – the perfect introduction to the Bard and an unmissable book for children.Stunningly illustrated throughout with contributions from ten different artists, each with a special connection to the author, and published in a beautiful hardback edition, Tales from Shakespeare is a glorious tribute to both Shakespeare and Michael Morpurgo, making this the perfect gift.A contemporary Lamb’s Tales for a new generation.Featuring:Macbeth, illustrated by Dapo Adeola The Taming of the Shrew, illustrated by Joelle Avelino Romeo and Juliet, illustrated by Peter Bailey The Tempest, illustrated by Barroux Twelfth Night, illustrated by Ian Beck Henry V, illustrated by Christian Birmingham A Midsummer Night's Dream, illustrated by Alona Millgram Hamlet, illustrated by Tom Clohosy Cole King Lear, illustrated by Michael Foreman The Winter's Tale, illustrated by Sam Usher
Terry Deary
 & Mike Phillips,Michael Tickner
Short story collection
Read William Shakespeare's best-loved plays like never before – a perfect mix of comedy, tragedy, magic and romance, retold for younger readers. Terry Deary's Best Ever Shakespeare Tales tells you more than just what happens in everyone’s favourite Shakespeare plays – it tells you the stories behind them.From how the plays were originally staged to what Shakespeare himself might have thought of his work being taught in schools – there’s so much to find out.Discover more out about:A Midsummer Night’s Dream King Lear Twelfth Night The Tempest The Merchant of Venice Romeo and Juliet Julius Caesar The Taming of the Shrew Macbeth HamletAn engaging, easy-to-use and informative collection of Shakespeare's tales with humorous illustrations.

Children's Fiction Inspired by Shakespeare Stories

Ross Montgomery
 & Mark Beech
Chapter book Dyslexia-friendly
Only a sensible, level head can save the day when disaster strikes on a school trip in this hilariously slapstick introduction to Shakespeare's The Tempest.Frank and his drama club are off on a dream school trip to perform The Tempest at a festival. But it turns into a nightmare when their ferry is hit by a terrible storm! Half of the actors wash up on a sandy shore and they can't believe their eyes.Is this a desert island? Why is there strange music coming from the forest? Where are the rest of the cast? To Frank, it all sounds strangely like the plot of The Tempest and he hasn't got a clue how they're going to get out of this mess. One thing's for sure ... they've been tripwrecked!
Ian Eagleton
 & Clara Anganuzzi
Picturebook

This is a story that depicts one aspect of childhood anxiety in such a gentle way – weaving a variety of themes, including shyness, family and even an introduction to Shakespeare into one tale. The story is engaging and describes a range of emotions in an accessible and intelligent way.

The story centres on Violet, a shy child riddled with self-doubt and confidence issues when she is cast as the main lead in a Shakespeare production. Her family, including her nan and uncles, try to help Violet’s self-esteem. The story has an excellent approach to explaining the physical and emotional feelings related to anxiety, but more importantly, how to overcome them. Eagleton also embraces diversity in Violet’s support network of her family.

Clara Anganuzzi enhances the story with wonderful illustrations that perfectly portray the emotions at play. The illustrations feature intricate details in places, including photographs on the wall in the background of scenes. All these details add to the rich family diversity explored in the story.

Ross Montgomery
 & Mark Beech
Chapter book
Nick is truly, madly in love with Jessie Stone. And she doesn't even know his name. In a ploy to win her heart, he plans to star alongside her in the school production of 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'. But when he's cast as the foolish Bottom instead of the romantic lead, his whole world comes crashing down. Enter Robyn, school mischief-maker, who has some crafty tricks up her sleeve. With her help Nick is sure he can get Jessie to notice him just as long as his grand plans don't go up in smoke ... A laugh-out-loud comical caper of friendship, true love and a completely disastrous school Shakespeare production from bestselling author Ross Montgomery. Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 8+.
Ross Montgomery
 & Mark Beech
Chapter book
Fair is foul and foul is fair ... bestseller Ross Montgomery returns with a laugh-out-loud, perfectly pitched introduction to Shakespeare’s Macbeth.Beth has been looking forward to the Prizegiving Assembly all year. She’s won best-behaved pupil two years in a row and is confident that she’ll triumph again for a third time.But as preparations continue for the ceremony, which includes a performance of Macbeth by the drama club, Beth finds out that she’s been pipped to the post by not one but two of her classmates, leaving her in third place.Beth cannot bear to lose, so she channels her inner Macbeth and will stop at nothing to tarnish the reputation of her competitors. But as she puts her dastardly plans into action, she realises that villainy comes at a high cost!
Ross Montgomery
 & Mark Beech
Chapter book
Top school athletes Dom and Blake have been best friends for ever – B and D, D-Dog and B-Unit, the Cool Combo ... But with Sports Day approaching, their friendship is suddenly under threat. Mr Fortune, their headmaster, has pitted the school houses against each other by naming them after characters from his favourite Shakespearean play, Romeo and Juliet. With Dom in Montague House facing Blake from Capulet House, will B and D end the day as mortal enemies or will brotherly love prevail?Prepare for Sports Day carnage as the Montagues and Capulets battle it out for the House Medal in this laugh-out-loud Shakespeare-inspired drama from Ross Montgomery!

Children's Non-Fiction Books about Shakespeare

Mick Manning
 & Brita Granström
Non-fiction
The life of William Shakespeare is vividly depicted, from his birth in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1564, childhood and schooldays, through an apprenticeship at his father's glove-making shop, his marriage to Anne Hathaway, and then the move to London - where Will hones his skills as an actor-playwright for The Lord Chamberlain's Men. When the newly-built Globe Theatre opens in 1599, Will Shakespeare is a key member of the company, and many of Shakespeare's most famous plays are first performed here. By his death in 1616, William Shakespeare is acknowledged as the master playwright of his age - and ever since as one of the greatest writers of all time.With lively graphic-novel descriptions of many of Shakespeare's most famous plays, including A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Merchant of Venice, Romeo and Juliet, Twelfth Night, Henry V, Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello and The Tempest, and drawing on the latest biographical research, this is the perfect introduction for children to the life and works of William Shakespeare.
Michael Rosen
 & Sarah Nayler
Non-fiction
An engaging, easy-to-use and informative biography of Shakespeare with humorous illustrations.So what was it like to live in Shakespeare's time? What do we actually know about him? And how does someone become that famous? These are just a few of the questions addressed in this lively and accessible book on the life and works of William Shakespeare by award-winning author Michael Rosen. Ideal for browsing, the text is divided into clear sections and includes studies of four of Shakespeare's plays, intriguing facts and information about Shakespeare himself and the world at this time, accompanied by a useful timeline.
Emma Roberts
 & Sarah Tanat Jones

Shakespeare for Everyone is a step-by-step book that describes William Shakespeare’s plays and poetry in an engaging and informative way. Although there is a lot of text within the book, it remains easily manageable to read in distinct sections using the contents page and varying text layout on each page.

The book contains not just the details of Shakespeare’s writing in comedies, tragedies, histories, romances, poetry and sonnets but also about his life and the impact of his work. Each page has interesting facts about his writing, life, quotes from texts and historical links.

This is an excellent text to use for anyone studying Shakespeare or his works. It gives detail about his works and ensures a deeper understanding of his life and legacy. The illustrations by Sarah Tanat Jones add extra understanding to the text and the plot of different plays are portrayed in a range of visual ways, including in story map style presentations. To add further to the detail within the book, there is a glossary and a timeline of the greater works of Shakespeare.

Other Children's Books about Shakespeare

Judy Hepburn
 & Ben Whitehouse
Chapter book
I Was There... Ira Aldridge tells the exciting story of the African-American actor, Ira Aldridge, who rose to fame on the London stage. Brilliantly imagined, readers aged 7+ will love this first-hand account of a child's experience of nineteenth-century London and the vibrant life of the theatre. Amazing black-and-white illustrations throughout bring the story to life. 
William Shakespeare & by Allie Esiri
Poetry
From Allie Esiri, editor of the bestselling A Poem for Every Day of the Year and A Poem for Every Night of the Year , comes this beautiful gift anthology of Shakespeare's works. William Shakespeare wrote at least 37 plays, 154 sonnets and a handful of longer poems and you can discover them all here. Each page of this unique collection contains an extract, which might be a famous poem, quote or scene, matched to the date. Allie Esiri's introductions give her readers a new window into the work, time and life of the greatest writer in the English language. Shakespeare for Every Day of the Year is perfect for reading or sharing and brings you Shakespeare's best-known and best-loved classics alongside lesser known extracts. Esiri's entertaining and insightful thoughts on each entry will fill your year with wonder, laughter, wisdom and wit.
Fatti Burke
Picturebook
A brilliantly fun search-and-find puzzle book for children from 7+, developed in consultation with the British Museum.Tom's not only lost in time, he's lost his cat, too! Can you find Tom and his naughty cat, Digby, across the pages? Packed with detailed artwork, fascinating Tudor facts and over 100 other things to find - from the royal boat on the Thames to actors at the Globe Theatre - lose yourself in Shakespeare's London with this brilliantly interactive book!The perfect book for fans of Where's Wally!Filled with stylish artwork by award-winning illustrator Fatti Burke.Most of the places mentioned in this book still exist in London today! Why not follow the story and explore where Tom visits?Have you read Tom's other adventures? Find Tom in Time: Ancient Egypt, Ancient Rome, Ming Dynasty China, Ancient Greece, and Michelangelo's Italy.

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