Friday, May 17, 2013

Shakespeare to go with Early American History

As I've been reading through the books my kids will read this coming school year, something has stood out to me.  In both "The Witch of Blackbird Pond" and "A Lion to Guard Us" Shakespeare's "The Tempest" is mentioned.  This got my thinking about our coming school year and what we would read for the Shakespeare portion of our year. And "The Tempest" is our winner!

"The Tempest" is a story of about a shipwreck on an enchanted island and was based loosely around the stories of the Sea Adventure crashing 600 miles south of the Jamestown colony.  The stories were circulating at the time and Shakespeare wrote a play about it. At least, that's the tale I'm reading in the Historical Facts section of "A Lion to Guard Us."

There are lots of good modern translations of "The Tempest" available out there.  "Tales from Shakespeare" by Marcia Williams looks fun! It not only has the play we're reading this year but also several others.  No Fear Shakespeare is available at the Spark Notes website (but there IS some potty talk in there!).  And one final suggestion, Charles and Mary Lamb have a free version of their "Tales from Shakespeare" available on the Kindle or Kindle app (which if you don't have on your phone, tablet, or home computer, you should really get; it's free and easy to use!).

Even if the stories of how "The Tempest" came to be are not true, this is still a fitting story for the times.  There was a LOT of ship travel during Early American times.  Ships went back and forth between America and Europe bringing supplies and sometimes people. Travelling by ship was dangerous.  There were storms, choppy waters, pirates, illness...it was tough being a new colonist travelling to a new world.

So what do you think? Are you reading along with us this year? ;) Have a great weekend!

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