In Blackwood’s novel, we follow Widge, an actor in Shakespeare’s troupe. After the Globe Theatre is shut down due to the Black Plague, the company sets off to tour England, where Widge’s unique shorthand makes him a valuable member…until someone threatens to reveal a past secret.
The book is a sequel to The Shakespeare Stealer, but stands well on its own.
Also! Brave Writer instructor, Susanne Barrett, posted ways to celebrate Shakespeare’s birthday in the Shakespeare Family Workshop.
Here are her ideas:
• Have a Talk Like Shakespeare Day (or even just an hour, if that’s all you can handle).
• Perhaps gather around the table with scones and jam and some Earl Grey tea and read some of Shakespeare’s sonnets aloud (you can find Shakespeare sonnet apps for your smart phone or check out this site).
• Read some of Shakespeare’s famous monologues aloud dramatically, perhaps even in costume. Here’s a list of some of the best single-person speeches, one list for men and one for women. Try performing them for family members and/or friends or at a co-op!
• Perform a Shakespeare scene as a puppet show or act out a scene in costume; either memorize parts or make copies of the scene for all the actors. Here are some scenes and scripts for kids from the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C.
• Watch your favorite Shakespeare play on film (mine is Kenneth Branagh’s Much Ado About Nothing). Check your local library or Netflix for some excellent titles, and the International Movie DataBase includes some helpful parents guides with advisory content for you along with ratings and information on most film versions.
• For older kids, check out Michael Woods’ in-depth documentary In Search of Shakespeare which first aired on PBS in 2004. Both the DVD and the companion book should be readily available through most public libraries.
• Better yet, see a live Shakespeare play as soon as possible. Check out college/university performances near you as they’re usually much less expensive than professional productions.
So, celebrate one of the greatest playwrights of all time and take advantage of this special Boomerang offer!
The Boomerang is a monthly digital downloadable product that features copywork and dictation passages from a specific read aloud novel. It is the indispensable tool for Brave Writer parents who want to teach language arts in a natural, literature-bathed context.
Image above: The Flower portrait of William Shakespeare, c. 1820-40 (via Wikipedia).