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Illustrated First Folio for children launched today by Stratford’s Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

A NEW book aimed at making Shakespeare’s works more accessible to young people is published for the first time today (Thursday).

The Children’s Folio, which was announced last year by the Shakespeare Birthday Trust, is an abridged and illustrated version of the landmark book that helped to ensure Shakespeare’s legacy more than 400 years ago.

Prof Charlotte Scott, director of knowledge at SBT, who led the project, said: “The First Folio set the highest bar for creativity, performance and collaboration, and so we could think of no better way of marking and celebrating this important anniversary than to re-introduce the works and words of Shakespeare to young people.”

The Children's First Folio includes a dedicatory poem by Michael Rosen.
The Children's First Folio includes a dedicatory poem by Michael Rosen.

The book’s full title is Shakespeare’s First Folio, All the Plays: A Children’s Edition. It is believed to be the first fully illustrated and abridged version aimed at children aged seven to 14.

All 36 plays in the First Folio are featured having been abridged by the book’s editor, Dr Anjna Chouhan, allowing them to be performed by as few as eight people in 20 minutes while keeping Shakespeare’s original language.

She said: “Each play is packed full of Shakespeare’s language so that budding performers might feel the texture of the words, follow the rhythms, and be excited to quote Hamlet, Julius Caesar, Rosalind, Volumnia, Coriolanus, Lady Macbeth and even King John.”

The illustrations for the book, which is published by Walker Books, were created by Emily Sutton.

The first 10,000 copies are being distributed to 6,000 primary schools with 3,000 going to libraries across the UK for free.

The Children's First Folio.
The Children's First Folio.

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