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The Kingdom Tales Trilogy And Questions to Ask Kids About Allegory (Read Aloud Wednesdays)

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On the last Wednesday of each month I like to feature a particular book on Read Aloud Wednesdays. The book I'm featuring today wasn't originally the one I had planned for this month. But, it's a book we seem to keep coming back to as a read aloud in our family, and it's one I knew nothing about until last year. So I wanted to share this hidden gem in today's Read Aloud Wednesdays post.

Last year, as part of our My Father's World Countries and Cultures package, we received Kingdom Tales by David and Karen Mains. What we received as one book is originally a trilogy of allegorical books- Tales of the Kingdom, Tales of the Resistance, and Tales of the Restoration.

The books are allegorical stories, although not exact allegories. Tales of the Kingdom takes place when Enchanted City is under the rule of the evil Enchanter and only in Great Park can the people of the Kingdom be safe and free as they celebrate with the true King. Tales of the Resistance focuses on those in Enchanted City who are covertly working for the King and the Kingdom, leading some in Enchanted to be residents of Great Park. In Tales of the Restoration, the spell of the evil Enchanter has been broken through the sacrifice of the King. The city- now called Bright City- is slowly being transformed into a place where all will one day celebrate with the King.

I began reading the trilogy aloud to just the younger girls last year. We loved the book from the start. Each chapter- though all are tied together- is a separate tale, short enough to be read in one sitting. Before I had reached the end of the first part of the trilogy, the book had moved to be the one we read at lunch time when all the kids are listening. We continued on with a few read aloud detours toward the end of last school year. And I picked it back up to finish these last few weeks as we've started back to school. At the end of last week I finished with the last tale in Tales of the Restoration. We finished the book with contentment, and I was talking about what we would read aloud next. I was surprised when the older kids- Charles particularly- was rather insistent that we needed to go back through the trilogy. His reasoning: the older kids hadn't heard most of the first book. And so we've started over at the beginning.

I've definitely learned over my years as a homeschool mom to jump on anything great that interests the kids and ride it out. And an allegorical book that is so rich in truth as this one is, is one that I want to hold on to as long as I can. As long as it holds their interest, an allegory provokes excellent discussions. There are a few questions I've learned to use for good discussion when we read allegorical novels, or even partly allegorical novels (like the Chronicles of Narnia).

  • What does this represent? That's the first and basic question of an allegory. Sometimes there isn't just one right answer. Sometimes there are various things the author could have been thinking about. Discuss all possible answers.
  • Do you think it's a good representation? Why or why not? I love talking about the symbolism the author uses and whether or not we think it's a good representation or not. For instance, in the first book of the Kingdom Tales, there's a story of Princess Amanda and a dragon. The dragon is a representative of sin in some very obvious ways. We had a good time talking about that representation and how well it fit and why.
  • Is the illustration too obvious? The one complaint we've had about a few of the stories in the Kingdom Tales is the rather obvious names the authors sometimes give the characters. The kids find some of them humorous and wish they hadn't been such silly and obvious names.
  • What does this story make you, personally, think of? One of the greatest things about these allegorical tales is the implications we can draw for our own lives. Today's tale- one I've read before- was about a juggler learning to juggle to the rhythm of his own unique count. We've had one child that we've talked to quite often lately about being different. Is it okay to be different? Why are you worried about not being like everyone else? Standing out isn't something teenagers often want to do. But when I read this tale today, I got chills just thinking about the fact that our King doesn't want us to blend in. He wants us to juggle to our own rhythm. It just made me want to shout "Amen!" in the midst of our read aloud.
Allegory can make for an awesome read aloud experience. I encourage you to pick up The Kingdom Tales trilogy no matter the age of your kids. It's rich in meaning and an entertaining read.

Now it's your turn. Link up any reading related post. Share book lists or book related activities. I love to read your read aloud ideas.

As We Walk Along the Road

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