Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Books like The Shakespeare Stealer

Hi gang,

This topic has come up, in general, over the years. This time, though, I've got a specific twist in mind. Susan uses The Shakespeare Stealer to introduce her 6th graders to Shakespeare - in 7th and 8th grade her kids work on an actual Shakespeare play (last year Henry V, this year The Tempest).

So, here's Susan's question : We've done Shakespeare Stealer 5 years in a row now. Do you know any other good fiction novels, appropriate for middle school, that would serve as a good introduction to Shakespeare? If it ties in to The Tempest, bonus!

(It dawns on me that I should pick this book up for my kids. I don't know why I haven't yet.)


CGriff said...


King of Shadows, Susan Cooper (kid travels back in time to perform with Shakespeare) - Midsummer tie-in, sorry.

Swan Town, Michael J Ortiz (Susannah Shakespeare's story) no clear tie-in to a play, but lots about Catholicism in Elizabethan England and father-daughter relationships. *might* be a little more 7-8 than 5-6 grade.

Ariel, Gracy Tiffany (re-telling of the Tempest!)

I can't wait to see more recommendations!

K said...

I don't know of anything Tempest specific, but perhaps either:
King of Shadows by Susan Cooper
All the World's A Stage: A Novel in Five Acts by Gretchen Woelfle

kj said...

My new all-time favorite (it used to be Susan Cooper's King of Shadows) is The Wednesday Wars by Gary Schneider. Read some comments here:

It's deep and deals with difficult issues, but it's absolutely brilliant--and it has substantial Tempestuous connections!


Duane said...

I'm happy to see so much response so quickly! KJ - does "deep and difficult" suggest that the "appropriate for middle school" requirement may not be met?

Anonymous said...

I don't know if it's quite what you're looking for, but you might want to try either "Lady Macbeth's Daughter" or "Ophelia", both by Lisa Klein. I read them in eighth grade and they are pretty easy, but you'll want to read over them before giving either a try in class. I preferred "Lady Macbeth's Daughter" (it had more Shakespeare and less romance) but if you want to stick with the Hamlet theme, then "Ophelia" might be the better choice. Hope this helps!

kj said...

Re: Whether Wednesday Wars is appropriate for Middle School . . .

It's set during the Vietnam War and the assassinations of MLK and Robert Kennedy. The background subject matter is, therefore, intense. But I believe it's handled in a good way--it doesn't pull any punches, but it's not overly explicit in the violence it writes about.

Good question for clarification!


Alayne McGregor said...

Does no one read Cue for Treason by Geoffrey Trease any more? It used to be the standard fun novel with to introduce Shakespeare and his times. And it still holds up quite well.

Anonymous said...

I took Shakespeare this year as a high school senior, and as an introduction to the playwright himself, we read Interred with their Bones by Jennifer Lee Carrell. It's more about the authorship controversy though, and I have no idea if it's appropriate for middle schoolers to read.