Monday, May 4, 2009

Category 4, Book 7: Nonfiction - Reimagining Shakespeare

Reimagining Shakespeare for Children and Young Adults, edited by Naomi J. Miller
Category: Nonfiction

This collection of essays discusses various adaptations of Shakespeare for children, critical viewpoints of Shakespeare's plays and adaptations, and pedagogy in teaching Shakespeare to grades K-12. Because this book is primarily and plays and teaching methods, I decided to put it in my Nonfiction category rather than Books about Books. Probably most useful for teachers (though part 1 about adaptations could also be of interest to parents and librarians), I found in reading these essays that I had a definite opinion about my own approach to Shakespeare, story, or really any sort of convention that becomes ingrained. Each author has his or her own unique perspective, but agreed most with those who would "play" with Shakespeare's words or story, arguing that this is exactly what Shakespeare himself did when he rewrote the works of those who came before him. If his work is not entirely original, do we really have to hold his work up as untouchable?

I enjoy reading and watching Shakespeare's plays, and I've enjoyed historical fiction with Shakespeare as a character or stories that play with Shakespeare. So this exploration of Shakespeare and teaching was a fun read for me even though I am not a teacher and would not find the pedagogy portion of this useful in any practical way. I still managed to add a handful of books to my TBR list, from young adult novels like King of Shadows to more academic works like Shakespeare, the Movie. 4.5 stars.

Cross-posted at the 999 Challenge.

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