Lesson 1: Teaching "Theme" with Children's Literature
Handout 1

What Is the Theme?


Theme: an opinion about life or human nature or society that the writer shares with the reader. It is usually not stated directly, but must be inferred.
A. For each of the following statements, place a "T" next to it if it is an acceptable theme statement for The Cello of Mr. O, and a "U" if the statement is unacceptable as a theme statement. (There can be more than one acceptable statement.)
_____1. Even when life is at its most difficult, there are always ways to find peace and happiness.
_____2. You should always listen to music when you feel sad about things.
_____3. Music has the power to make us feel more courageous and less afraid.
_____4. A man plays his cello for people in a war-torn town.
_____5. People who are committed to something can always find a way to make it happen, even in the most adverse or arduous circumstances.
B. Write your own theme statement for another children's book. Identify your book in proper bibliographic style.