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Posts Tagged ‘The Tempest’

Novels can help engage students not only with Shakespeare’s language (as we discussed in Tuesday’s blog post about That Shakespeare Kid) but also with his characters and stories.

With spring break coming up, maybe your students will be interested in a little light reading that also keeps them thinking about the Bard.

Reading the Folger Shakespeare edition of Hamlet. Photo by Chris Hartlove.

Drawing on some suggestions that first appeared in Folger Magazine, here are a few of the books out there:

The Dream of Perpetual Motion

By Dexter Palmer

“Prospero, Miranda, and other characters from Shakespeare’s The Tempest resurface in this darkly imaginative novel set in a steampunk universe. The Dream of Perpetual Motion is the story of islands—both paradises and prisons—and the hero’s dream of redemption through impossible love.”

Shakespeare Makes the Playoffs

By Ron Koertge

“In this charming and clever sequel to Shakespeare Bats Cleanup, fourteen-year-old protagonist Kevin Boland explores baseball and poetry with equal enthusiasm. A novel in verse form, the book reads like the journal entries of a sharp and observant teen—funny, self-reflective, and disarmingly honest.”

The Fool’s Girl

By Celia Rees

“Forced to flee Illyria in disguise with only her fool for company, young Violetta embarks on a dangerous mission to regain her kingdom. This historical tale weaves together plot twists from Twelfth Night with vivid scenes from Shakespeare’s London into an engaging tale of a gutsy heroine’s quest for justice.”

Here are two blog posts from our archives with even more book suggestions:

Extra Credit: Romeo & Juliet

Extra Credit: Hamlet

Tell us: What books do you recommend to your students? What are some of your favorite Shakespeare-inspired novels for teens?

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…when the scolding winds
Have rived the knotty oaks, and I have seen
The ambitious ocean swell and rage and foam,
To be exalted with the threatening clouds:
~Julius Caesar I.iii

It certainly has been a tempestuous beginning to the summer!  DC has seen lots of rain, we had our first ever George Didden Capitol Hill Children’s Festival, and we open our newest exhibit Lost at Sea next week!

One of Shakespeare’s favorite plot devices was a shipwreck (see Twelfth Night, The Winter’s Tale, or especially The Tempest and Pericles).  It sets his characters in new places that they’re not always ready to be, and makes for exciting adventures for them!

I’m banking up some summer reading of books based on The Tempest: Indigo by Marina Warner, Prospero’s Daughter by Elizabeth Nunez, and Ariel by Grace Tiffany.

The summer is a great time for performing outdoors – perhaps an impromptu Midsummer in the woods, a Twelfth Night in a swimming pool?  What sort of activities do you plan to encourage your students to do this summer?

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Teachers often ask me how to justify teaching a Shakespeare play in an American Literature class.

My answer is simple: Teach The Tempest. Many scholars believe that The Tempest was inspired by the real-life shipwreck of the Sea Venture off the coast of Bermuda in 1609 on its way to Jamestown. The account of that incident written in a letter by William Strachey  reached England in 1610. Scholars believe that Shakespeare wrote The Tempest soon afterwards. In addition, the plays deals with different views of Colonialism–a good stopic for classroom discussions.

You can hear Sam Waterston and scholars talk about the storm and the survivors in this Podcast from our series, Shakespeare in American Life.

There are plenty of teaching resources for The Tempest on our Play-byPlay section of the Folger Education site.

If any of you teach The Tempest, please add your comments below.

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