Books Sonrise

Dear Families,

Recently my sixth-grade literature class was discussing the concept of “theme.” It was such a rewarding experience to see their little brains start to explore their stories from a deeper perspective. We talked about symbolism in the story and what the author wanted us to understand about life. Then we moved into judging that theme with a biblical lens. It was a day that I felt proud to be a Sonrise teacher; I was pretty sure the discussion we just had would not be taking place in a public school.

The concept of judging the story’s theme is one of the principles I use to choose each middle school musical we perform. This year’s production is The Little Mermaid, Jr. It is a story based upon a classic Hans Christian Andersen tale that is ripe with spiritual symbolism. Ariel makes a foolish bargain with Ursula. She wants to be accepted in a world she thinks is far better than where she lives. But Ursula’s evil motivation to have Triton’s power is really behind her willingness to help Ariel. In the climax, Triton sets aside his crown so Ariel can be free. It’s not a stretch to see the spiritual symbolism here. Also, of course, in the end, good triumphs over evil as all fairy tales conclude. The Little Mermaid is not a clear allegory as The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is, but it definitely has a gospel message worth discussing with our kids. In fact, God’s redemptive message is often found in most classic stories, if we take the time to analyze them.


Mrs. Carpenter
Middle School Teacher