6 Great Questions About Allegories for Kids to Make Your Homeschool Discussions Really Delightful

Using allegories for kids in your homeschool can make for some delightful homeschool discussions. And knowing the right questions to ask can get you started.

My nearly grown son’s voice faltered as he began to tell me his thoughts about faith, struggling, as we all do, with personalizing the beliefs he’d been taught growing up. “You know, mom,” he said, “it’s like Puddleglum in the Silver Chair. I’m holding on to what Aslan has told me even if it’s hard to believe there is an Aslan sometimes.”

My heart swelled. Over the years the Chronicles of Narnia were just a few of the amazing allegories we’d read. And I well remembered the amazing homeschool discussions we’d had about some of those allegories.

An allegory is a story in which the characters, events, or places have a deeper meaning. There is a story happening on the surface. But if you explore further, you can find the symbolism woven throughout.

The parables that Jesus often used in teaching people were a type of allegory. He would tell a story with characters and situations and settings that his listeners could relate to. But these stories had deeper meanings if the listeners would stop and think about them. They were very relatable but also very thought-provoking.

Good allegories for kids can inspire some great discussions in your homeschool if you know the right questions to ask. Here are ten questions you can use to discuss allegories that you are reading with your kids. And keep reading for some suggestions of great allegories you can start reading today.

Allegories for Kids Discussion Questions

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Questions to Use When Discussing Allegories for Kids

Who are the main characters and what/who do you think they represent?

Sometimes every character in the story has a meaning beyond the literal one. In other allegories only some characters are symbolic. Take time to list the main characters in the story and who or what your kids think they represent.

Why did the author choose those characters for that representation?

Why do you think that those particular characters were chosen? Is there something obvious that makes the character a good representation? An example of this would be that Aslan the lion in the Chronicles of Narnia. He represents Jesus, who is called the "Lion of Judah."

Do you think the whole story is meant to be a representation or illustration? What of?

In some allegories there are parts of the story or characters in the story that represent specific things. In other allegories the whole story is symbolic or representative of something else. For example, in the Kingdom Tales allegory I mention below, the entire story is symbolic as well as some of the specific characters and events in the story.

Do you think the characters and/or story are a good illustration for what the author means to represent? Why or why not?

Some allegories are great representations. Others struggle with creating recognizable symbols. Some allegories fall flat because the reader doesn't "get it." Talk about whether or not the allegory you're reading works or not.

Is the illustration too obvious? Why or why not?

While some allegories aren't clear enough, others are too obvious. In a good allegory the reader can understand the symbols but the author isn't making it too obvious. Which is the allegory you're reading?

What does this story make you personally think of? Why?

This question can make for some great discussion. It helps the reader make connections with the allegory and its symbols and representations.

Mom and child discussing allegories

Seven Great Allegories for Kids to Get You Started

The Chronicles of Narnia- One of my favorite read alouds of all time. I typically read through the seven books to some or all of the kids every couple of years. The relationship that the Pevensie children have with Aslan and the experiences that they have in Narnia parallel many parts of the Christian walk.

Aesop’s Fables– Many of these classic fables are allegories. You can explore how the characters in the fables act or react to the situations at hand and draw parallels from real life.

Dr. Suess- The full length books written by Dr. Suess are almost all allegorical. Yertle the Turtle- written during WW2- is a look at a king who wanted to become more and more powerful. Sounds like Adolf Hitler, hmm? The Lorax is a look at pollution and caring for the environment. The Sneetches points out how foolish racism is and how harmful it can become.

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein is a beautiful allegory that depicts giving and self-sacrifice through the story of a tree and little boy.

The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan is one of the most famous allegories of all time. Following the journey of Christian to the Celestial City, the book parallels the Christian life. The original Pilgrim’s Progress can be difficult reading, but we’ve read Little Pilgrim’s Progress, an adaptation by Helen Taylor, several times.

The Giver by Lois Lowry is an allegory that brings up some good discussion about individualism versus being submersed in the collective thoughts of the society. There are actually four books in The Giver series. In two of them, it’s difficult to see how the books tie together, but the final book does help it all to make sense. We’ve mostly focused on reading the first book- The Giver.

The Kingdom Tales Trilogy by David and Karen Mains 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.

Questions for allegories for kids

Reading allegories with your kids provides an opportunity for great conversation. And sometimes you’ll be surprised at how long the ideas from those conversations last with your kids. Try out an allegory with the questions suggested here and enjoy the great discussions in your homeschool.

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