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Bard of Avon: the Story of William Shakespeare

In Bard of Avon we follow two parallel stories: the rebirth of drama in Elizabethan England and the life of a remarkable genius who arrived in London at just at the right moment, when budding new theater companies were hungry for plays, and became the quite possibly the greatest writer in the English language.

We see the theaters where Shakespeare worked—open to the weather, with no stage lights, sets, or curtains, but equipped with fabulous costumes, sound effects like thunder and wind, stage blood, and trapdoors above and below, from which gods could descend and ghosts arise. We meet the companies of actors—the leading men, the fools, and the boys who played women’s roles. Best of all, we follow Shakespeare from his boyhood days in Stratford to the great city of London, where he rises from actor to successful playwright and poet. We watch as he rubs shoulders with ruffians and royalty, is suspected of involvement in a treasonous rebellion, and literally brings down the house with his final play, when cannon effects set fire to the famous Globe Theater.

Recognition & Awards

Booklist, Top of The List, Youth Non-Fiction; American Library Association Notable Book; Horn Book, Fanfare Books; Parenting Magazine, Reading Magic Award, Ten Best Books; School Library Journal, Best Books; New York Times, The Best of the Children’s Picture Books; Booklist, Editor’s Choice; Publisher’s Weekly, 50 Best Books; Horn Book, 25 Best Nonfiction Books of the Year; Nominee for the Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction, NCTE; Notable Children’s Books in The Language Arts; Publisher’s Weekly’s “Cuffies,” Honorable Mention, Nonfiction Book of the Year; Library of Congress, One Hundred Noteworthy Children’s Books; Children’s Book Council, Notable Children’s Trade Books in the Field of Social Studies; American Booksellers Association, Kid’s Pick of the Lists; New York Public Library, One Hundred Titles for Reading and Sharing; Nominee for the Texas Bluebonnet Award; Nominee for the Maine Student Book Award; Nominee for the Kansas William Allen White Children’s Book Award; Starred review, Horn Book; Starred review, School Library Journal; Starred review, Publisher’s Weekly.

Bard of Avon
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