The King of the Golden City, An Allegory for Children
by Mother Mary Loyola with text prepared by Janet McKenzie
Bessemer, MI: Biblio Resource Publications, 2007
I read "The King of the Golden City" with my children this year as part of our homeschool religion program. It had come well-recommended by friends, and as I read this aloud with my boys, I completely understood why.
This story was originally written in 1921 by Mother Mary Loyola of the Bar Convent in York, England, in response to a student's request for a story to help her prepare for her First Holy Communion. While this story can certainly help prepare one for that special event (and all the Communions that come after), it is more accurately described as a preparation for life.
My children are quickly embarking on that stage of life where they will make so many decisions about the course that their life will take. They will face peer pressure and the call of the secular world and all the "goods" that the world can offer. This book illustrates all of those temptations, and the importance of focusing on what matters.
Even as an adult devoted to serving God, I found much to take away from these pages. The story of young Dilecta and her visits from the King as He desires to bring her closer to Him tells of the desire of Jesus for each of us. My children easily picked out the majority of the allegorical images. What they didn't understand at first reading, I was able to help them with. There is also a very helpful study guide included, which can be adapted as needed for the age of the reader - from child to adult.
This makes an excellent read-aloud book, even for children old enough to read well. Reading it aloud allows it to be discussed as needed. We read two chapters per week, once a week. My children looked forward to it every time. I highly recommend this book, either as part of a homeschool program, or simply as part of family faith formation.