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Topic: Shakespeare

Non-fiction

Travel back 400 years to visit rowdy theatres and royal palaces to understand what it was like to live in Shakespeare’s Elizabethan England and the influence it had on his ground-breaking work. This book charts Shakespeare’s phenomenal talent and peeks behind the curtain at his most famous plays, from tragedies such as Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet to comedies such as A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Taming of the Shrew.

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.

Picturebook

Violet’s world has changed. Her voice has gone from a giggle to a whisper. So when her teacher casts her in the school play, she is filled with worry. How will she ever stand in front of a crowd and overcome her shyness? With the love and support of her family, Violet must find her inner confidence and turn that whisper into a roar!

Chapter book

Hamlet could NEVER make his mind up about ANYTHING. And one time he actually went to school in just his pants and got sent home because he couldn’t decide what to wear. When Izzy (star of The Spy Who Loved School Dinners) is asked to tell her friends some HILARIOUS and SCARY stories she knows exactly where to look: Shakespeare, the king of SUPER dramatic stuff.

After learning about Macbeth (a STRONG solider who ate four bowls of porridge and twenty pieces of toast every morning) her friends want more. So Hamlet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Romeo and Juliet all get the Izzy treatment. There’s blood and guts, ghosty stuff, and plenty of people wandering around in their nighties.

The perfect introduction to the Bard!

Chapter bookDyslexia-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!

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.

 

Short story collection

Step on to a stage full of stories with this beautiful anthology of 12 stories from Shakespeare, rewritten to be accessible to children aged 7+. Including favourites such as The Tempest, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet and Othello, each story is stunningly illustrated by collage artist Alice Lindstrom.

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.

Graphic Novel

Seven classic Shakespeare plays presented in an accessible comic strip format.

Take your place in the Globe Theatre of Shakespeare’s day to see seven of his best-loved plays in performance. Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macbeth, Julius Caesar, The Winter’s Tale and The Tempest are all brought vividly to life in Marcia Williams’ gloriously accessible comic-strip versions, which include the bard’s own dialogue and the rowdy remarks of the audience.

Graphic Novel

The complete play translated into plain English. It’s 11th century Scotland. Macbeth, Thane of Glamis, is one of King Duncan’s greatest war captains. Upon returning from a battle with the rebellious Thane of Cawdor, Macbeth and Banquo encounter three witches, who prophecy that Macbeth will become Thane of Cawdor and then King. They also prophecy that Banquo will become the father of kings. When Lady Macbeth hears this, she is determined to push her husband to take fate into his own hands and make himself king by murdering Duncan. Macbeth is reluctant to harm Duncan. But, when the King makes arrangements to visit Macbeth’s castle, the opportunity presents itself. Pressed on by his wife, Macbeth kills Duncan and blames the King’s drunken attendants, who he also kills. However, Macbeth is racked with guilt and begins to see apparitions. When the body is discovered, Malcolm and Donalbain, the King’s sons, are suspicious of Macbeth and flee for their lives. To everyone else, it looks as if the sons have been the chief conspirators and Macbeth is crowned King of Scotland. Banquo’s suspicions grow, based on his encounter with the witches and Macbeth is wary of the second prophecy concerning Banquo’s offspring. Macbeth hires assassins to kill Banquo and his son, Fleance. Banquo is murdered that night, but Fleance escapes. The bloody ghost of Banquo appears to Macbeth at a feast, tormenting his already guilty conscience. In addition, Macduff, once a comrade of Macbeth, has fled after the King’s sons to England, as he also suspects Macbeth. In revenge, Macbeth butchers Macduff’s entire household. Macduff and the King’s sons raise an army in England and march against Macbeth, who is given another prophecy by the witches, as he prepares for the assault. They tell him his throne is safe until Birnam Wood comes to Dunsinane and he will not die by the hand of any man born of a woman. Macbeth now feels invincible. Lady Macbeth, on the other hand, has been slowly driven mad by her dreams, in the wake of Duncan’s murder. She sleepwalks and eventually kills herself. Macbeth learns that many of his lords are deserting and joining Malcolm’s army, which approaches Dunsinane under cover of boughs, which they’ve cut from the trees of Birnam Wood. Macbeth and Macduff eventually meet on the bloody battlefield. Macbeth laughs derisively, relating the witches’ prophecy. But Macduff retorts that he was from his mother’s womb untimely ripp’d and not (technically) of woman born. The play ends with the death of Macbeth and Malcolm is crowned King of Scotland.

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