Shakespeare's Secret by Elise Broach, was one of the first books I added to my Fall Into Reading Challenge list. I've been wanting to read it for quite some time, but just hadn't gotten around to it. I knew that putting it on the challenge list would definitely make me read it and I'm so glad that I did.
Sixth-grader, Hero hates her Shakespearean based named and knows she'll be ridiculed on her first day at her new school. Who names their kid Hero anyway? Already an outcast due to her outlandish name, Hero decides to spend her time listening to stories her elderly neighbor, Mrs. Roth tells, instead of trying to make friends, which she believes is impossible anyways. Mrs. Roth soon tells her the story of Hero's new house and the legend of the million-dollar diamond that is supposedly still hidden somewhere in the house, immediately striking up Hero's interest. Hero and her unconventional new friend set out to try and solve the mystery of the diamond, as well as to try and discover some interesting facts about the history of Shakespeare.
Not only was this novel entertaining in it's plot, but it was also a complete history lesson. Kids (and adults like me) are reading along, not even realizing they are learning about Shakespeare, Anne Boleyn, and other Elizabethan facts. There are various Shakespeare quotes that are explained, perhaps helping children that often shy away from Shakespeare's language, better understand how to read it. This was a thoroughly enjoyable story, filled with mystery, history, and a little bit of humor.