Study classic literature with children, and they benefit from a lifelong love of a beautiful art form. Poetry is easy to read and recite, and these books help your child fall in love with our greatest poets, from Wordsworth to Shakespeare to Keats. If your child is bored by English literature, they likely never came across these books.
- A Stage Full of Shakespeare Stories is a beautiful anthology of 12 stories from our greatest playwright (and present research suggests that yes, he did write them), all told to be accessible for children. Get lost in his most loved stories including The Tempest, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet and Othello, all with stunning illustrations by Alice Lindstrom. Shakespeare was apparently also a successful property developer, but a very socially conscious one at that: people believe he would probably be involved in ‘politics to help the poor’ if he was alive today. Did you know that as his grandchildren never had children, Shakespeare has no direct descadents?
- A World Full of Dickens Stories is part of the same series. Many children never get closer to Dickens than watching the Oliver! musical on TV. But as you likely know, Charles Dickens also had a bit social conscience, and there are good morals in all his tales. This book introduces 8 of his greatest works including Oliver Twist, A Christmas Carol, David Copperfield, Great Expectations, Hard Times, Nicholas Nickleby and A Tale of Two Cities.
The Wordsworths is a beautiful retelling of the life of William Wordsworth, one of England’s most celebrated poets. To mark his 250th birthday in 2020, this book adapts the lyrical diary of his sister Dorothy Wordsworth, detailing their life together, roaming the beautiful Lake District. Dorthy’s works are now considered early examples of women’s literature, as they confront issues spanning social justice and nature. Lush Lake District and London landscapes are brought to life, with costumes that bring the era to life. And of course there are extracts from works like The Prelude, to tie into the national curriculum.
The Brontë Sisters
The Brontës (children of the Moors) is a highly illustrated guide to these literary sisters from Haworth in the Yorkshire Dales. Told from Charlotte Brontë’s point of view, the book is written to coincide with her 200th birthday. The book introduces these three extraordinary sisters: Charlotte, Emily and Anne. We also meet their brother Branwell. With a mix of strong story-telling and wonderful illustration, Mick and Brita relate the sisters’ tragically short lives in their remote village. They explore how the girls were inspired to become writers, and the sensation that their books caused, when people found out they were written by women.
Each of the sisters’ greatest novels are re-told:
The illustrations and text capture the life of the children of the Moors, and how the wildness of their surroundings inspired their work. Author Mick was brought up in this region, and played a shepherd boy in a BBC adaptation of Wuthering Heights!
All siblings died tragically young. After Branwell died age 31, Emily caught a cold at his funeral and died 4 months later, age 30. Anne died a year after, age 29 (she too had TB and died on a restorative trip to Scarborough). Charlotte married and yet she too died age 38 after suffering from a pregnancy condition that is easily treated today. Her unborn child died with her.