Theo

by Barbara Harrison

Theo and his older brother Soc, a member of the resistance, flee from Athens as soon... read more

Theo and his older brother Soc, a member of the resistance, flee from Athens as soon as the Nazi regime announces that all orphans will be sent to Germany. It is 1943, and the war raging across Europe has already transformed life for the two. Theo's companion is Karagiozis, a legendary folk puppet of the Greek shadow theater, to wom he gives his voice. It is Karagiozis who gives Theo courage to confront his growing hatred of injustice. Throughout his childhood, Theo has possessed the capacity for compassion and empathy. Now Theo must decide under which circumstances, if any, he himself will pick up a gun. Within a deeply moral story fully portraying the effects of war on the common people she characterizes so believably, Harrison weaves allusions to the history and culture of ancient Greece. She provides readers with a literal sense of the Greek countryside through which Theo moves. Her expertly paced narrative alternates violence with reverie, and action with reflection. Theo retains a purity of heart throughout so that readers can continue to hoe he will respond to the immediate horrors with his prior knowledge of good acts. A unique and valuable addition to holocaust literature for young readers. Winner, 2000 CCBC Newbery Discussion. (Ages 11-14)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2000

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