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The Bard and the Book

How the First Folio Saved the Plays of William Shakespeare from Oblivion

Author Ann Bausum
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On sale Apr 02, 2024 | 1 Hour and 21 Minutes | 978-0-593-82429-0
Age 10 and up | Grade 5 & Up
The unlikely true story of why we know the name William Shakespeare today, and the four-hundred-year-old book that made it possible.

Four hundred years ago, no one bothered to write down the exact words of stage plays. Characters’ lines were scribbled on small rolls of paper (as in, an actor’s role) and passed around, but no master script was saved for the future. The main reason we’ve heard of Romeo, Juliet, Hamlet, and Shakespeare himself is that a group of people made the excellent choice to preserve the plays after the Bard died. If they hadn’t created the book known as the First Folio, Shakespeare and his works would surely have been lost to history.  

Part literary scavenger hunt (the search for every existing First Folio continues today), part book trivia treasure trove, and part love letter to Shakespeare, this behind-the-scenes, sharply funny true story is an ideal introduction to the Bard and his famous plays.
Ann Bausum writes about history for readers of all ages. Stonewall is her twelfth book and her first book for Viking. Ann has written frequently about social justice history in the United States, including the fight for women’s voting rights (With Courage and Cloth), the 1961 struggle for integrated interstate transportation in the South (Freedom Riders), and the Memphis, Tennessee, campaign to unionize sanitation workers that led to the death of Martin Luther King, Jr. (Marching to the Mountaintop). Among other recognitions, her books for children and teens have received a Sibert Honor, the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award, the Golden Kite Award, and, on two occasions, the Carter G. Woodson Award. Ann lives in southern Wisconsin. Visit her website at www.AnnBausum.com or follow her on Facebook and Twitter. View titles by Ann Bausum

About

The unlikely true story of why we know the name William Shakespeare today, and the four-hundred-year-old book that made it possible.

Four hundred years ago, no one bothered to write down the exact words of stage plays. Characters’ lines were scribbled on small rolls of paper (as in, an actor’s role) and passed around, but no master script was saved for the future. The main reason we’ve heard of Romeo, Juliet, Hamlet, and Shakespeare himself is that a group of people made the excellent choice to preserve the plays after the Bard died. If they hadn’t created the book known as the First Folio, Shakespeare and his works would surely have been lost to history.  

Part literary scavenger hunt (the search for every existing First Folio continues today), part book trivia treasure trove, and part love letter to Shakespeare, this behind-the-scenes, sharply funny true story is an ideal introduction to the Bard and his famous plays.

Author

Ann Bausum writes about history for readers of all ages. Stonewall is her twelfth book and her first book for Viking. Ann has written frequently about social justice history in the United States, including the fight for women’s voting rights (With Courage and Cloth), the 1961 struggle for integrated interstate transportation in the South (Freedom Riders), and the Memphis, Tennessee, campaign to unionize sanitation workers that led to the death of Martin Luther King, Jr. (Marching to the Mountaintop). Among other recognitions, her books for children and teens have received a Sibert Honor, the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award, the Golden Kite Award, and, on two occasions, the Carter G. Woodson Award. Ann lives in southern Wisconsin. Visit her website at www.AnnBausum.com or follow her on Facebook and Twitter. View titles by Ann Bausum