Shakespeare for Kids: The Best Books to Introduce Your Kids to the Bard

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I typically end our school year by spending time with William Shakespeare.

Not literally. Obviously. Because he died in 1616.

But I introduce my kids to his life, his plays, and his words using picture books and easy chapter books.

We also read one of his plays. We keep our time with Shakespeare very light-hearted and fun, but I know they are establishing a great foundation in Shakespeare that will serve them well in high school and beyond.

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We also find a great stack of fun, informative picture books.

Books that Introduce Your Kids to the Bard


William Shakespeare & the Globe
written and illustrated by Aliki

This is my favorite basic overview book so far. The story of Shakespeare’s life and the history of the Globe Theater are told in the style of his own plays.  There is a prologue and then five acts, each with a number of scenes.  Although the basic organization is that of a play, the writing is done in normal paragraph form.


A Shakespearean Theater by Jacqueline Morley

This book is an excellent resource for more information about the history of the theater during the days of Shakespeare. Information about performances, the stage, and the audience is included as well. There are great visuals in this book as well.

Information about performances, the stage, and the audience is included as well. There are great visuals in this book as well.

Who Was William Shakespeare by Celeste Davidson Mannis

This is one title in a well-known series for early chapter book readers.

Read it out loud or assign it as an independent read. Like the other Shakespeare titles, the history of Shakespeare is linked to the history of theater in London, specifically The Globe Theater.  Readers will learn quite a bit about the Globe theater as well as Shakespeare in this book.


I saved my favorite book for last in this list.

Will’s Words: How William Shakespeare Changed the Way You Talk by Jane Sutcliffe

This book contains a basic history of the theater scene in London. The “story” is written on the left-hand side of the book with certain phrases are in bold font. William Shakespeare is credited as the first person to use the boldfaced words.

On the right-hand side page, the meaning of the words or phrases and the play in which they appear are explained.


We had so much fun with this book. As I read it to the kids, they tried to raise their hands when they thought I read a phrase from Shakespeare. They caught on quickly that many of his phrases are idioms and we had a fun time sharing them. I loved this book so much that my mom bought it for me as a gift.

After an overview of Shakespeare, we move on to enjoying his poems and plays.

Have you introduced your kids to The Bard?  What have been your favorite resources?

 

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6 thoughts on “Shakespeare for Kids: The Best Books to Introduce Your Kids to the Bard”

  1. Funny….as I read the rest of your recommendations, I was going to recommend “Will’s Words.” We, too, had it from the library recently, and immediately put it on my wish list.

    We also recently borrowed and enjoyed “Shakespeare’s Seasons.” Beautiful art with short quotes. Would be good for a poetry teatime.

    1. notbefore7@gmail.com

      Bummer. My library didn’t have that one. We did get “To sleep. Perchance to Dream” which had great quotes by Shakespeare. Thanks for the recommendation!

  2. Thanks for this. I can’t wait to show the videos to my kids. We also like the “Shakespeare can be fun” series by Lois Burdett.
    Can’t wait for your next post.

  3. Love this! Someday I’ll come back and reference this for help. In fact, just looking over your list is encouraging – makes Shakespeare look a little less intimidating and more appealing!

    1. notbefore7@gmail.com

      Thanks girl – you can do it!!! I hope you give it a go in your school year next year.

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