While our upcoming world premiere of Shakespearean Rhapsody makes for the perfect first time introduction to Shakespeare’s classic stories, if you and your child enjoy reading ahead or are left wanting more, our friends from the Vancouver Public Library have prepared a list of companion reading to enjoy before or after the show!
Shakespeare for Kids His Life and Times / Colleen Aagesen and Margie Blumberg
This biography of the bard uses historical photos and paintings as well as activities inspired by the life of Shakespeare. Activities include learning to juggle, making a goblet and playing Elizabethan games.
William Shakespeare & the Globe / Aliki
Written like a play, Act One begins with Shakespeare’s birth and childhood. The story continues on chronicling Shakespeare’s accomplishments and other milestones in his life. Through the story of Shakespeare’s life we also learn the story of the globe theatre.
Shakespeare’s Quill / Gerry Bailey
Shakespeare’s Quill tells two stories at the same time. A boy who loves rummage sales and antiques comes across a goose-feather quill that once belonged to William Shakespeare. As the boy and his sister learn more about Shakespeare, the reader is also presented with a retelling of his life.
Romeo and Juliet for Kids / Lois Burdett
Romeo and Juliet for Kids shows the play through the eyes of elementary school children. The text of the play is simple enough to be performed by second graders and includes pictures and text contributed by Lois Burdett’s students. Also check out the other books in Burdett’s Shakespeare can be fun series including A Midsummer Night’s Dream for Kids and A Child’s Portrait of Shakespeare.
William Shakespeare’s a Midsummer Night’s Dream / Bruce Coville
Bruce Coville’s retelling of A Midsummer Night’s Dream is intriguing, delightful and accessible to young audiences. The illustrations have a dreamlike quality that make them the perfect complement to the story.
All the World’s a Stage / Rebecca Piatt Davidson
All the World’s a Stage is a cumulative tale that draws inspiration from a number of Shakespeare’s plays and is complemented by intricate and boisterous illustrations.
Brick Shakespeare: The Comedies and Brick Shakespeare: The Tragedies / McCann John
John McCann has recreated scenes from the plays of Shakespeare using LEGO. These two volumes would be perfect for getting even the youngest children interested in Shakespeare.
Mr. William Shakespeare’s Plays – Marcia Williams
Marcia Williams retells the stories of Shakespeare’s plays in a fun and slightly goofy comic book format. The plays are authentically set in the globe theatre and include entertaining commentary from the audience.
Classic Shakespeare Stories – Andrew Matthews
For confident readers who want to read more, Classic Shakespeare Stories collects eight stories based on the plays.
William Shakespeare’s the Tempest / Marianna Mayer
Marianna Mayer’s lovely retelling of The Tempest has an old fashioned feel and features luminous illustrations packed with details that both children and adults will enjoy poring over.
To Sleep Perchance to Dream a Child’s Book of Rhymes / Illustrated by James Mayhew
This Picture book would be a great way to introduce preschoolers to the work of Shakespeare. Mayhew takes short excerpts from Shakespeare’s plays and pairs them with colourful and lively illustrations. The book reads like a collection of poetry for children.
William Shakespeare His Life and Times / Kristen McDermott
This beautifully designed book is made to look like an old fashioned scrap book and presents a fictional account of Shakespeare’s life through letters and diary entries.
Stage Fright on a Summer Night / Mary Pope Osborne
Jack and Annie’s magic tree house brings them back to the time of William Shakespeare where they have a chance to perform in his current show.
The Boy, The Bear, The Barron, The Bard / Gregory Rogers
In this wordless picture book, a boy finds himself in an abandoned theatre where he travels through time and into one of Shakespeare’s plays.