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Shakespeare for Kids

August 16, 2021

What do the phrases: "vanish into thin air," "as luck would have it," "for goodness sake," "my own flesh and blood," "foul play," "to thine own self be true," "too much of a good thing," "in a pickle," "without rhyme or reason, " and "laughing stock" have in common? They are all lifted from the works of William Shakespeare. Shakespeare has become so much a part of the culture that without realizing it, people often quote many of the phrases that appear in his works.

Four hundred years after they were first written, the words of Shakespeare still resonate as his poems and sonnets are read and plays are performed around the world. Shakespeare festivals continue as a beloved tradition in many cities, including Nashville. Our own summertime "Shakespeare in the Park" events are popular with people of all ages, and many families appreciate the opportunity to introduce children to the plays in a casual outdoor setting.

But one need not wait until a summer performance for an introduction. Shakespeare's works can be introduced at any time through the books of poems, sonnets, and stories published specifically for children. The illustrated book Shakespeare's Seasons by Miriam Weiner is a fine introduction to his poetry. In addition to this book, there are 386 other holdings in the children's catalog. Some of the titles below provide a delightful introduction while others will give the older child who wants to know more a chance to expand their horizons. Check out these and many other Shakespeare titles!

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Donna Reagan has served as Children's Specialist at the Bellevue Branch Library since 2002. She produces My Storytime Place, a local TV show for young children. The ALA's Every Child Ready to Read initiative forms the foundation of her early childhood programming.