The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.2306  Wednesday, 29 December 1999.

From:           Joe Conlon <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 26 Dec 1999 17:23:38 -0500
Subject: 10.2009 Re: How to . . .
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.2009 Re: How to . . .

I am sorry to have taken so long to respond to this post.  I just got

A personal anecdote on the forbidden fruit aspect.  I remember with
great fondness a neighbor lady I had at about age 8 or 9 who was the
children's librarian at the Broadway Branch Library in Indianapolis,
Indiana.  I was heavily into comic books at the time and had run across
the Classics Illustrated version of The Iliad.  A little tag at the end
said, "If you liked this Classics Illustrated retelling, go to your
local library and read the entire book."  I went but couldn't find it;
so I asked Miss Earhardt, "Do you have this book by Homer Somebody
called the Iliad?"  She said , "Yes, but it's in the adult section.  You
only have a juvenile card."  I looked crestfallen and she looked around
conspiratorially and whispered to me, "If you promise not to tell
anyone, I'll let you check it out anyway." Over the next few days and
nights I read The Iliad in my closet and by flashlight under the covers
in my bed.  When I returned it and asked if that Homer guy wrote
anything else, she directed me to The Odyssey.  No one ever told me it
was supposed to be hard for kids to understand and I had no trouble with
anything but the weird names all the characters had.  I had a great
thrill by getting away with something forbidden and over the next few
years Miss Earhardt guided me through most of the classics and I loved
them. My first exposure to Shakespeare was Romeo and Juliet in the ninth
grade and I loved it.  When I discovered that Shakespeare wrote about
SEX in Hamlet (the "Shall I lie in thy lap? passage), I was hooked.  (I
also almost got tossed out of class when I tried to explain what I had
discovered that passage was all about :) )

I guess my point is go with the interest of the child and don't
underestimate them.  Lois Burdett, a gifted elementary teacher in
Stratford, Ontario does wonderful things with Shakespeare and her second
and third grade students.

Joe Conlon, Warsaw, Indiana

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