Thursday, April 21, 2016

23rd April Shakespeare Day

23rd April marks the 400th anniversary of the death of English playwright and poet William Shakespeare. Isn't it amazing that he is still so revered? There are anniversary events everywhere, even here in Australia. Australian musician Paul Kelly has even chosen this day to release a new album Seven Sonnets and a Song where he has set Shakespeare's words to music.

Although my library only caters to children under eight, their parents and teachers we will still celebrate Shakespeare with a display of books. Many parents like to share the little Andrew Matthews and Tony Ross and Usborne versions of the stories. In this way young children know the stories well before they meet the Old English language versions. Other parents are avid borrowers of biographies, so they will be borrowed from any display and some of my Year 2 boys who love Marcia Williams' 'comic' format books will borrow her Shakespeare stories, so as you can see it is well worth making the effort. My own favourite Shakespeare books are the poetry illustrated by James Mayhew in To Sleep, Perchance to Dream and the exquisitely illustrated version of Romeo and Juliet by Margaret Early, both of which will be hard to buy now but may well be in your library, as they are in mine. What is in my school library is on my pinterest page.

If you are short of books, find the witches poem from Macbeth and have fun reciting it, acting it out and just playing with the magic of the words. There is a version here already done as a readers theatre script. I would use a more abridged version with my Year 2 students such as this, where language is the key element, not the gore or frightening aspects that many of the film clips of it emphasise.

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