Sunday, October 20, 2013

What exactly is the theme?

Recently, we've discussed conflict and why it's important to have your main character involved solving a problem of some kind.  The conflict is the element that keeps the story moving forward. It keeps your young readers engaged in the events of your tale. Today we’re going to discuss another important element you need for a successful children’s story:  theme.
·        What exactly is a theme? It’s the underlying message the author wants you to ponder. It’s an overall idea that the author wants you to think about. Generally, it appears in the story several times. For example, when I wrote Tails of Sweetbrier, the main thing I wanted my young readers to consider is that you shouldn’t abandon your dreams when things don’t go the way you’d like.
·        How do you know that was the theme? There were many times throughout the story where the main character (in this case, me) could have given up. I wanted to become an excellent horseback rider. But my legs weren’t as strong as most children’s because I have cerebral palsy. I’d fall off when my legs got tired. I’d fall off if my pony stumbled.  I’d repeatedly lose my balance when I was learning to jump. During all of these incidents, readers found that I often reminded myself that giving up was not an option. They learned that I could have given up, but I realized that would prevent me from ever reaching my goal.
·        Is there a difference between a theme and a moral? Yes, the moral is usually clearly stated. For example, in the story, ”The Tortoise and the Hare,” the author tells you, “Slow and steady wins the race.” But, theme is something that readers need to discern for themselves. I think it’s more valuable to them because they’re likely to remember it, since they discovered it themselves. 
I hope you've enjoyed learning more about the theme of your story. Thank you for stopping by.


  1. Interesting and helpful post, Deanie. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Thank you, Julie. So happy you enjoyed it. Thanks for visiting. D

  3. Good post. I enjoy trying to discern the theme of a book. It involves a little thinking.

  4. Thank you, Sherry. It's good for us to sort out those things. Thanks for stopping by to comment. Always love to hear from you.

  5. Good post. This is helpful for writers young and old.

  6. Thank you so much, J. L. I love to be as helpful as possible to everyone. D