Teaching Shakespeare!

A Folger Education Blog

Why, what read you there?

I loved summer reading lists. Not that I loved being assigned homework over the summer, but it was a list of books I was now considered “ready” to read! The Hobbit after 5th grade, Shabanu into 8th, Jane Eyre into 9th… I was introduced (or re-introduced) to some excellent literature, which I could take with me to dance camp or the pool and enjoy. I don’t recall ever being assigned any Shakespeare, but it definitely couldn’t have hurt!

I still like to make my own summer reading lists, just of books I think I’ve put off for too long – I’ve already finished one, and look forward to spending time with the rest! It can’t hurt, even now, to try something new, or re-visit an old favorite. My list is below – what’s yours?

Do any of your classroom summer reading lists include a play by or a novel based on Shakespeare’s life or works? Let us know!

Prospero Lost,
by L Jagi Lamplighter – 400 years after the events on Prospero’s Island, his first daughter, Miranda, struggles to maintain the family business of ensuring the magical forces of the world remain in check. She discovers that he has gone missing and that she and her remaining younger siblings are in great danger and must venture out with Mab, the embodied spirit of the north wind, to warn and protect them – and the world.

Something Wicked, A Horatio Wilkes Mystery by Alan M Gratz – (YA) having put the previous summer’s events in Denmark, TN behind him, Horatio spends time with his childhood friend Mac at the Scottish Highland Festival on Birnham mountain. But Mac’s new girlfriend, Beth, is trying just a little too hard to motivate him into competing in the Highland Games when his grandfather, Duncan, is murdered in his tent. Horatio must solve the crime and keep his friends safe – if those two goals can be compatible at all.

Shakespearean Afterlives, by John O’Connor – (Non-Fiction) Inspired by the life Shakespeare’s characters have taken on in modern consciousness, O’Connor traces the histories of 10 characters from their first performance to the way they’re mentioned colloquially today. A stunningly intricate read, and real proof that there is relevance in all of Shakespeare’s work today.


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