How to teach your children Shakespeare

Ken Ludwig

Book - 2013

Outlines an engaging way to instill an understanding and appreciation of Shakespeare's classic works in children, outlining a family-friendly method that incorporates the history of Shakespearean theater and society.

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New York : Crown Publishers [2013].
First edition
Physical Description
xv, 348 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Includes bibliographical references (pages [329]-343).
Main Author
Ken Ludwig (author)
  • A midsummer's night's dream
  • Twelfth night
  • Romeo and Juliet
  • Interlude. Shakespeare's life and an overview of his work
  • Macbeth
  • Henry IV, part 1
  • As you like it
  • Henry V
  • Interlude. Hooray for Heminges and Condell
  • Hamlet
  • The tempest
  • Appendix 1. A chronological list of Shakespeare's plays
  • Appendix 2. Five additional longer passages
  • Appendix 3. Fifty-five additional passages to teach your children if they want to continue
  • Appendix 4. A list of favorite epigrams
  • Appendix 5. Sample quotation pages.
Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

This specialized guide for parents hoping to instill a bit of literary genius into their youngsters is both a how-to book and a simple but serious analysis of many of Shakespeare's major works. Olivier Award–winning playwright Ludwig's (Lend Me A Tenor) compelling argument is that although it's out of fashion, memorization—and particularly memorization of great literary works—is a gift you can give your children that will influence their academic and personal life. The book begins with an immediate lesson—memorizing a nine-word line from A Midsummer Night's Dream—written in a direct, personal tone to show how easy and enjoyable the process can be; once this is demonstrated, Ludwig explains his methodology and purpose in the second chapter. Within 20 pages, the book turns to analysis of the chosen works as well as general lessons about Shakespeare's life and important dates of the Renaissance, and discussions of the difference between poetry and prose. Ludwig breaks more famous speeches down, sentence by sentence, and highlights juicy bits and plot twists to hook children's interest. The book, in coordination with a Web site of printable resources, will best suit parents with a real interest in and knowledge of Shakespeare, but will inspire any who wish to give their children the "benefit of his considerable knowledge and artistry." Photos. Agent: Eric Simonoff, William Morris. (June) [Page ]. Copyright 2013 PWxyz LLC

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Outlines an engaging way to instill an understanding and appreciation of Shakespeare's classic works in children, outlining a family-friendly method that incorporates the history of Shakespearean theater and society.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

A foolproof, enormously fun method of teaching your children the classic works of William ShakespeareWilliam Shakespeare’s plays are among the great bedrocks of Western civilization and contain the finest writing of the past 450 years. Many of the best novels, plays, poetry, and films in the English language produced since Shakespeare’s death in 1616—from Jane Austen to The Godfather—are heavily influenced by Shakespeare’s stories, characters, language, and themes. In a sense, his works are a kind of Bible for the modern world, bringing us together intellectually and spiritually. Hamlet, Juliet, Macbeth, Ophelia, and a vast array of other singular Shakespearean characters have become the archetypes of our consciousness. To know some Shakespeare provides a head start in life. InHow to Teach Your Children Shakespeare, acclaimed playwright Ken Ludwig provides the tools you need to instill an understanding, and a love, of Shakespeare’s works in your children, and to have fun together along the way.Ken Ludwig devised his methods while teaching his own children, and his approach is friendly and easy to master. Beginning with memorizing short specific passages from Shakespeare's plays, this method then instills children with cultural references they will utilize for years to come. Ludwig’s approach includes understanding of the time period and implications of Shakespeare’s diction as well as the invaluable lessons behind his words and stories. Colorfully incorporating the history of Shakespearean theater and society, How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare guides readers on an informed and adventurous journey through the world in which the Bard wrote.This book’s simple process allows anyone to impart to children the wisdom of plays likeA Midsummer Night’s Dream, Twelfth Night, Macbeth, and Romeo and Juliet. And there’s fun to be had along the way. Shakespeare novices and experts, and readers of all ages, will each find something delightfully irresistible inHow to Teach Your Children Shakespeare.