Shakespeare in Action’s Sonnets by Kids program has been bringing the bard to poetry-lovers everywhere for three years’ worth of Valentine’s Days now. As the big day draws closer once again, and our Sonnet Kids make their final preparations to spout sonnets to your sweeties, we wanted to take some time to reflect on how this program has touched the lives of everyone who participates in it: from the kids who read the sonnets, to the patrons who give the gift of poetry to their loved ones, to the volunteers and staff here at Shakespeare in Action who make the program a reality.
Alania Weisdorf has purchased Sonnets by Kids for her loved ones every year since the program’s inception. We asked Alania what the program means to her:
“With regards to my story, we got married at Toronto City Hall and Sonnet 116 was read at the end of the ceremony. Then a few years back, sometime in February, the National Post featured an article on gift ideas for Valentine’s and that’s how I found out about Sonnets by Kids. Since then, it has become a tradition in our family. To me, the message in the sonnet is a meaningful and lasting gift that I want to share with my family and friends.”
Sonnets by Kids has also had important impact on our Sonnet Kids. Every year in 30 different library branches across the GTA, SIA runs TD Shakespeare for Kids Library Club, a free readers’ theatre program for young people. And every year we invite the most enthusiastic, the most excited, the most dedicated Library Club students to become Sonnet Kids. SIA’s education team works closely with the Sonnet Kids to teach them about Shakespeare’s sonnets: what the words mean, how the rhythm of the poetry flows, how best to deliver a line, etc.
We asked some of our Sonnet Kids what they liked about Library Club and Sonnet by Kids. Sonnet Kid Temina Tova (age 12) liked the programs because she was able to develop her acting skills, and learning Shakespeare’s plays and poetry gave her confidence at school.
The best part for Sonnet Kid Spencer (age 8) was being able to share the poems he had learned with his friends and family.
For Sonnet Kid Audrey (age 9), it was the fact that these programs united all of her passions:
“I love Library Club because I love acting, and I love reading, and I love libraries, and I love books, and I love Shakespeare, and other people.”
And in all this reflection, how could we not hear from the brains of the operation, our wonderful and dedicated Education Coordinator, Laboni?
“For me, the program celebrates poetry and kids! I love meeting them, helping them learn, learning from them, and seeing their confidence build and build. In the bigger picture, I enjoy linking all of our kids’ programming – TD Shakespeare for Kids Library Club, Sonnets by Kids, and Summer Camp – to create a Shakespeare Family. It’s special having these kids grow up with us and hearing their younger siblings say: ‘I want to learn Shakespeare too!’”
So, from our Shakespeare family to yours, happy Valentine’s Day!
Sonnets will be available for purchase until 5PM on February 13, so be sure to order yours now!