April 23 is a day for remembering two great authors, Miguel de Cervantes and William Shakespeare. They both died 400 years ago on this day. People mark the day in different ways around the world. In Spain, it’s a romantic holiday when women give men books and men give women roses. The United Nations observes both English Language Day and World Book and Copyright Day. Readers in different parts of the world also celebrate World Book Night on this night by giving away books, especially to people who don’t usually read.
Here are a few options for enjoying both writers with young readers:
Don Quixote and the Windmills retold and adapted by Eric A. Kimmel; from The Ingenious Hidalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra; pictures by Leonard Everett Fisher
“Immersed in tales of knights and dragons and sorcerers and damsels in distress, Señor Quexada proclaims himself a knight and sets out on his first adventure against some nearby windmills that he thinks are giants.”
Don Quixote retold by Martin Jenkins; illustrated by Chris Riddell
“An illustrated retelling of the exploits of an idealistic Spanish country gentleman and his shrewd squire who set out, as knights of old, to search for adventure, right wrongs, and punish evil.”
Robot Zot by Jon Scieszka and David Shannon
This story of a tiny robot and his sidekick is quietly dedicated to “Don Q. and Sancho P.”
The Walls of Cartagena by Julia Durango
A teenaged boy who loves Don Quixote has his own experiences with heroism working with a fellow Cervantes fan and St. Peter Claver.
The Chosen Prince by Diane Stanley
“Prince Alexos, the long-awaited champion of the goddess Athene, follows the course of his destiny through war and loss and a deadly confrontation with his enemy to its end: shipwreck on a magical, fog-shrouded island. There he meets the unforgettable Aria and faces the greatest challenge of his life. Based loosely on Shakespeare’s The Tempest”– Provided by publisher.
The Orchard Book of Classic Shakespeare Verse
A selection of verse and poetry by William Shakespeare, illustrated by Emma Chichester Clark.
Secrets of Shakespeare’s Grave by Deron R. Hicks
“Twelve-year-old Colophon Letterford has a serious mystery on her hands. Will she discover the link between her family’s literary legacy and Shakespeare‘s tomb before it’s too late?”– Provided by publisher.
Shakespeare’s Secret by Elise Broach
“Named after a character in a Shakespeare play, misfit sixth-grader Hero becomes interested in exploring this unusual connection because of a valuable diamond supposedly hidden in her new house, an intriguing neighbor, and the unexpected attention of the most popular boy in school.” This title is also available as an audiobook on CD.
The Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue presents Macbeth written by Ian Lendler; art by Zack Giallongo; colors by Alisa Harris; [originally] written by Willy Shakespeare
“The Stratford Zoo looks like a normal zoo… until the gates shut at night. That’s when the animals come out of their cages to stage elaborate performances of Shakespeare’s greatest works. They might not be the most accomplished thespians, but they’ve got what counts: heart. Also fangs, feathers, scales, and tails” — from publisher’s web site.
The Total Tragedy of a Girl Named Hamlet by Erin Dionne
“Hamlet‘s attempts to be a “normal” eighth grader become increasingly difficult when her genius seven-year-old sister and her eccentric Shakespeare scholar parents both begin to attend her school. ”
The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt
“During the 1967 school year, on Wednesday afternoons when all his classmates go to either Catechism or Hebrew school, seventh-grader Holling Hoodhood stays in Mrs. Baker’s classroom where they read the plays of William Shakespeare and Holling learns much of value about the world he lives in.” This title is also available as an audiobook on CD or Playaway, and as an ebook to download from eRead Illinois.
Wicked Will by Bailey MacDonald
“Performing in the English town of Stratford-on-Avon in 1576, a young actress (disguised as a boy) and a local lad named Will Shakespeare uncover a murder mystery.”
You Wouldn’t Want to be a Shakespearean Actor! Some Roles You Might Not Want to Play written by Jacqueline Morley; illustrated by David Antram; created and designed by David Salariya
Another in the continuing series about times and places in history that you can be glad you’re only reading out.