• Thu. Jun 13th, 2024

Ira’s Shakespeare Dream by Glenda Armand Illustrations by Floyd Cooper


This above all…to thine own self be true

Shakespeare. Iambic pentameter. Such good stuff!

Young Ira Aldridge loved The Bard too. In the early 19th century, however, the last thing many Blacks could think about was Shakespeare.  When many people were sold into slavery or trying to make a living to feed their families, acting in plays seemed foolish.  And Ira’s father told him so.

Ira's Shakespeare Dream

Thank goodness young Ira listened to his heart and his older brother.  Young Ira pursued his dreams and became a celebrated actor across Europe becoming famous for his role in Othello.

This is a GREAT book for kids of all ages. Perfectly suited for grade school read alouds, Black History Month projects, preschool storytime, and Shakespeare aficionados.  I had never heard of Ira Aldridge before reading this book; what a treasure!

Many thanks to the folks at Lee & Low Books for sharing this gem with me. The learning potentials are endless with this well crafted and beautifully illustrated picture book.

And you know what? It also counts toward the 2016 Diversity Reading Challenge. Start the kiddos young learning about iambic pentameter. It’s a writing skill that will stick with them forever.

And so will this story.