How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare by Ken Ludwig

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Winner of the Falstaff Award for Best Shakespeare Book, How To Teach Your Children Shakespeare is a foolproof, enormously fun method of teaching your children the classic works of William Shakespeare by Tony-Award winning playwright, Ken Ludwig.


To know some Shakespeare provides a head start in life. His plays are among the great bedrocks of Western civilization and contain the finest writing of the past 450 years. Many of the best novels, plays, poems, and films in the English language produced since Shakespeare's death in 1616--from Pride and Prejudice to The Godfather--are heavily influenced by Shakespeare's stories, characters, language, and themes. In How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare, acclaimed playwright Ken Ludwig provides the tools you need to inspire an understanding, and a love, of Shakespeare's works in your children, and to have fun together along the way.


Ken Ludwig devised his friendly, easy-to-master methods while teaching his own children. Beginning with memorizing short passages from the plays, his technique then instills children with cultural references they will utilize for years to come. Ludwig's approach includes understanding of the time period and implications of Shakespeare's diction as well as the invaluable lessons behind his words and stories. Colorfully incorporating the history of Shakespearean theater and society, How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare guides readers on an informed and adventurous journey through the world in which the Bard wrote.


This book's simple process allows anyone to impart to children the wisdom of plays like A Midsummer Night's Dream, Twelfth Night, Macbeth, and Romeo and Juliet. And there's fun to be had throughout. Shakespeare novices and experts and readers of all ages will each find something delightfully irresistible in How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare.

"Ken Ludwig's enthusiasm for Shakespeare and his lucid, accessible and inspiring book on How To Teach Your Children Shakespeare is a rare treat. You and your children will be transformed into the magic and mystery of Shakespeare and his stories in an instant. I highly recommend the book to all who have a love of language and history." --Sir Derek Jacobi, CBE

" How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare is an inspired and inspiring book. It's also a deeply rewarding one that will bring a great deal of pleasure to many parents and children. Ken Ludwig, a wonderful playwright, proves to be a superb guide to Shakespeare as well." --James Shapiro, author of A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare and Contested Will

"I wish someone had given this book to my parents. It would have made a life-changing task downright fun. Ken Ludwig is a smart, congenial and inventive guide, and everywhere in this remarkable book he takes the strangeness out of Shakespeare's work and leaves the enchanting mystery. A book for all lovers, and potential lovers, of Shakespeare. Like nothing else, it creates a magical home theater for parents and their children." --J. D. McClatchy, Yale University


"I have been in [Ken's] home. His children really do know Shakespeare. Read the book and you'll see why. It's scholarship dancing around with fun." --Hal Holbrook


"Don't be fooled by the title. This book is for anyone who wants to brush up on Shakespeare... Don't buy this book to teach your children; take them along as you commit these beautiful speeches to memory." --Kirkus Reviews


"[Ludiwg's] enthusiasm is also infectious . . . it's hard to come away from this book without wanting to find someone, child or adult, to convert."-- Cleveland Plain Dealer

Table of Contents:

Introduction / John Lithgow -- Part 1. A Midsummer Night's Dream -- 1. Passage 1: Learning the First Line -- 2. The Reason for the Book -- 3. The Plan of the Book -- 4. Passage 1, Continued: Imagery and Rhythm -- 5. The Final Six Lines -- 6. Passage 2: Pucks Announcement and the Story of A Midsummer Night's Dream -- 7. Digging Deeper into A Midsummer Night's Dream -- 8. Passage 3: Bottom's Dream -- 9. Passage 4: Theseus and Hippolyta -- 10. Poetry Versus Prose: How Does Poetry Work? -- Twelfth Night -- 11. Passage 5: Cesario's Willow Cabin -- 12. The Viola Plot -- 13. Passage 6: Orsino's Heart -- 14. Passage 7: The Nature of Shakespearean Comedy -- 15. Passage 8: Cakes and Ale -- 16. The Malvolio Plot -- 17. Passage 9: Carpe Diem -- 18. Passage 10: Sisters and Brothers -- 19. Passage 11: Do Not Embrace Me -- Romeo and Juliet -- 20. Passage 12: Juliet in Love -- Interlude -- 21. Shakespeare's Life and an Overview of His Work -- Part 2. Macbeth -- 22. Passage 13: Macbeth's Conscience -- 23. Passage 14: Lady Macbeth and the Imagery of Evil -- Henry IV, Part -- 24. Passage 15: The World of Falstaff -- 25. Passage 16: Falstaff's Voice -- As You Like It -- 26. Passage 17: Rosalind -- 27. Passage 18: This Wide and Universal Theatre -- 28. Passage 18, Continued: The World as a Stage -- Henry V -- 29. Passage 19: O, for a Muse of Fire! -- 30. Henry the Patriot -- Interlude -- 31. Hooray for Heminges and Condell -- Part 3. Hamlet -- 32. Passage 20: What a Piece of Work Is a Man -- 33. Passage 21: Who's There? -- 34. Passage 22: The Advice of Polonius -- 35. Hamlet's Soliloquies -- 36. Passage 23: O, What a Rogue and Peasant Slave Am I! -- 37. The End of the Story -- 38. Passage 24: The Most Famous Words in the World -- 39. Hamlet and the Theater -- The Tempest -- 40. Passage 25: A Summation -- Epilogue -- Appendix 1. A Chronological List of Shakespeare's Plays -- Appendix 2. Five Additional Longer Passages -- Appendix 3. Fifty-five Additional Passages to Teach Your Children If They Want to Continue -- Appendix 4. A List of Favorite Epigrams -- Appendix 5. Sample Quotation Pages -- Bibliography -- Books for Children -- Books for Parents, Teachers, and Advanced Students -- Films -- Audio Recordings -- Acknowledgments -- Photo Credits.

KEN LUDWIG is an internationally acclaimed playwright who has had numerous hits on Broadway, in London, and throughout the world. His plays and musicals include Lend Me a Tenor, which won two Tony Awards, and Crazy for You, which won the Tony Award for Best Musical. He has also won two Laurence Olivier Awards and the Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America. His work has been commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company, and has been performed in over thirty countries in more than twenty languages. Visit him at

Crown Publishing Group

Pub Date: July 01, 2014

0.99" H x 9.28" L x 6.11" W

348 pages