Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Preorder Bonuses for "Through the Year with Jesus"!


Ok, you all are blowing me away with support for my new book! Thank you so much for all of your kind messages and encouragement. In case you missed it, Through the Year with Jesus: Gospel Readings and Reflections for Children will be out soon and is available to order at the St. Paul Center and on Amazon. You can read more details about the content and see a few endorsements here. If you've  already ordered and want to skip ahead, you can fill out the Preorder Bonus Form here. ;)

If you know much about new books, you know that preorders really matter, especially for a new author. And this year where normal speaking gigs and conferences and workshops are still unlikely, your early support is such a powerful way to help see this book shared. As a thank you, I've been creating a set of special preorder bonuses for you to use alongside the book or just throughout the Liturgical Year in your home or classroom. They are pretty open ended and I am already thinking of ways I'd like to use them myself! The printables are all available as pdfs in a Google Drive folder, so they are easy to access, download and print however you like. A preview of those resources can be seen below.

And as a special bonus, I'll also be randomly picking one person who preorders to win a free virtual talk or workshop with me! We've all gotten more used to doing things virtually, so why not take advantage of that and let me speak to your teachers, catechists, Bible study, or moms' group. We'll work together to choose a good time and the right topic for your group. 


The rest of the preorder bonuses are available for everyone!
Some of the items included in the Preorder Bonus Printables Folder include:
-Liturgical Season Planning Pages
-Journaling pages to support praying with Scripture (for both older and younger kids)
-Liturgical Year Journal "cover" in three color choices
-Liturgical Year Journal tabs
-Jesus & the Children Coloring Page
-Jesus & the Children Watercolor
-Lectio Divina prayer guides (small cards and full page)
-Liturgical Wheel watercolor


I love how these Liturgical Season Planning Pages turned out.  I think they could help you anchor each Season with a printable to set up ways you plan to pray, serve, sacrifice, and celebrate, as well as lists of prayer intentions and inspirational quotes. Perfect to hang on the fridge or with your calendar or to add to a journal, and could be completed individually by kids or together as a family.


This Liturgical Wheel Watercolor printable is something great to hang up or add to a journal:


These journal printables are super flexible and could help you and/or your kids set up a journal following the Liturgical Year themes. Pretty "endpaper" cover options, tabs for the seasons, and journaling pages for both older and younger kids are included. I also added a Google Slides version for those of you that might want to use it digitally with a classroom:


This coloring page is from my sketch that was used as inspiration for the book cover:

And here's a little watercolor version too:


If you have preordered, you can fill out the form hereAccess to the printables will be shared in the Confirmation message, so don't miss that link! If someone preordered for you as a gift, you are welcome to still fill this out, or if you ordered multiple copies to give to others, you can share the printables with them. I appreciate your honesty as this seems to be the simplest way to manage getting you the bonuses asap and still allow me to attend to real life. ;) Again, thank you for your support and excitement for the book! I can't wait to see it at work in your homes and classrooms!


Thursday, December 31, 2020

Happy New Year- My Book Is Ready for Preorder!



Merry Christmas, friends! I hope that you are experiencing a beautiful Christmas season and are filled with the hope of Christ as you look into the coming new year. I wanted to pop up a quick post to share two exciting announcements about my book- a cover reveal, and preorder information!

Through the Year with Jesus: Gospel Readings and Reflections for Children from Emmaus Road Publishing should be out in mid February and can now be preordered at the St. Paul Center and on Amazon

I'll be sharing more in the coming weeks, including freebies to go along with the book, special pre-order bonuses (update- get them here!), and giveaways, but for now I'll leave you with the back cover description of the book, and a few kind words from those that have already read it. Feel free to drop any questions in the comment box. I'm so, so thrilled to be able to share this resource for homes and classrooms with you!

~ ~ ~

From the back cover:

The liturgical year invites us to walk with Jesus through the most wonderful story ever told: the Gospel. In Through the Year with Jesus: Gospel Readings and Reflections for Children, catechist and popular blogger Katherine Bogner reveals the rich mystery of the seasons we celebrate in the Church.

With Gospel readings for each week of the liturgical year, along with tools for reflection, discussion, and prayer, Through the Year with Jesus offers endless opportunities for discovering who Jesus is and better understanding Catholic teaching about his life and mission.

  • Promote prayer and conversation about the life of Christ with children through
  • Weekly readings from the Gospels
  • Lectio Divina prompts to nurture personal prayer or journaling
  • Sacred art to accompany the Gospel reading
  • Stories of saints and many rich Catholic traditions for the liturgical year

The easy-to-use format of Through the Year with Jesus helps adults lead children to an intimate encounter with the heart of Jesus through the rhythm of the liturgical year and the powerful words of Scripture.

"Katherine Bogner hits a liturgical living home run with this devotional for children…. This book is an excellent, all-in-one way to bring the stories of Jesus and his family and his friends and his life into a home or classroom in a way that kids of all ages can connect with at their own levels. Grownups are sure to find their own faith deepened as well." Kendra Tierney, Author of The Catholic All Year Compendium

"If you've been looking for a way to engage your family or classroom in meaningful conversations throughout the liturgical year here is your answer. Buy this book!" Bonnie Engstrom, Author of 61 Minutes to a Miracle

"Through the Year with Jesus not only has beautiful Scripture readings and reflections on the Gospels, it is also an invaluable guide to help parents, teachers, and catechists learn how to pray through the Bible with their children—and how to teach them to pray and live God's Word." Katie Warner, Catholic Children's Book Author, FirstFaithTreasury.com

"Lectio Divina (and Visio Divina)are the hidden gems of prayer in the Catholic Church. With this book, Katherine Bogner brings these devotions to life for children, teachers, and parents. I am certain her guidance here will lead many young people into an encounter with Jesus Christ." Jared Dees, Founder of TheReligionTeacher.com and Author of Christ in the Classroom

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Epiphany Home Blessing Kits (Update for 2021 & Beyond!)

 

(Posting this a little early to give you time to share with your parish and school. You are welcome to email out the pdfs so that they can use them at home!)

"Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage."  ~Matthew 2:2

After Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem, the Holy Family was visited by three Magi from the east. They came to worship Christ and bring him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.  The Feast of Epiphany is celebrated on the 12th Day of Christmas, January 6th, but in the United States is moved to the Sunday between January 2nd-8th.  On Epiphany, it is traditional for families to bless their homes, remembering the hospitality of the Holy Family to the Wise Men and asking for protection and blessing on the home and all who enter.

The home blessing is done by writing on the door or door frame with chalk the symbols 20+C+M+B+21. The 20 and 21 represent the current year. The + reminds us of the cross on which our Savior died. The C, M, and B stand for the traditional names of the Wise Men, Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, as well as an abbreviation for the Latin phrase “Christus mansionem benedicat” which means “Christ bless this house.” Writing on the door also brings to mind the Passover of the Jews during the final plague in Exodus, when the blood of the lamb protected the inhabitants within. 



A few years ago, I wanted to send some resources home with my students and CCD families to help them celebrate this Epiphany Home Blessing Tradition.  Knowing that writing on the door or doorframe might not work in every house (or be every parent's favorite thing), I made these little signs that can hang over or near the door.  They are about 8" x 3.5" and are just made with scrap wood from my parents' barn.  I drilled holes in each corner, painted them with some left over chalkboard paint, and tied on some twine.

I added a small piece of white chalk and a booklet (printable below) explaining this Epiphany tradition, a short blessing prayer, and a few suggested Scripture passages and songs.  I packaged it all in a brown paper bag with the top folded down to form a "roof" and stapled on these cute tags (printable below).


If you'd like to share this tradition with your students, but don't have spare lumber, paint, and twine (or time...), you could easily send home your students with a kit including a black piece of cardstock, chalk, and the traditions booklet.  Or make it even easier and just tape the chalk right to the booklet and pass them out.  This would be a great way to share them out Mass- put a stack with the bulletins and then anyone who wants to can take one home. (Bonus points if you have a priest bless the chalk!)


“In the magi, representatives of the neighboring pagan religions, the Gospel sees the first-fruits of the nations, who welcome the good news of salvation through the Incarnation. The magi's coming to Jerusalem in order to pay homage to the king of the Jews shows that they seek in Israel, in the messianic light of the star of David, the one who will be king of the nations." ~CCC 528

Click here for the Epiphany Tradition Booklet:
(I'm just going ahead and updating for a few years into the future, because someone is always looking for this before I get to it!)




Friday, December 18, 2020

Merry Christmas! {Free Baby Jesus Block Print}

 

Earlier this fall I shared with you that block carving and printing has become my new favorite hobby. I've really enjoyed sharing process videos on Instagram and am grateful for the creative outlet this medium has been. I hand carved this sweet infant Jesus stamp for my Christmas cards, and creating it was a beautiful opportunity for reflection and prayer on the hope of the Incarnation.

I'd love to send all of you a personal Christmas card, but since that isn't quite possible, I'm happy to send you this greeting as a little Merry Christmas and thank you for being part of the Look to Him and Be Radiant Community!


Here is the original test print and the carved block- this was my most detailed block to date. The image of Jesus is based on some photos of my sweet nephew, and the Christmas star, poinsettias, holly, and pine are all symbols connected to the birth of Christ.

Click on either image below for the free pdf, both in black on white, and black on brown kraft paper. Feel free to share as a little digital greeting to your friends and family! The edges of the print are marked to an easy to frame 5x7" size. If you display it in your home, I'd love for you to email me a pic or tag me on Instagram!


May the Infant Jesus, born to save us, 
fill our hearts with hope this Christmas Season and always. 
Know of my prayers for you, your families, and your students each day.
Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

O Antiphons Projects {Free Printables, Bible Study, and Google Classroom Projects}



O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel

As the end of Advent draws near, I wanted to give my students a tool to help ready their hearts for Christmas. There is no better way to do that than with the O Antiphons! Packed with meaning from both the Old and New Testament, the O Antiphons have been prayed by Christians for over 1200 years. I created two Google Classroom assignments for my students to choose from, one more open ended and one more structured.

Both studies include:

  • O Antiphon Art
  • Background info on the O Antiphons
  • Links to videos to listen to the O Antiphons in both English and Latin
  • A chart with the English & Latin titles, dates, and Old & New Testament references
  • Links to O Antiphon printables (coloring pages/ornaments/etc.)
The Bible Study invites the student to read the Old Testament prophecy connected to the O Antiphon and then the New Testament fulfillment. The Creative Project allows the student to study one O Antiphon and create a unique reflection based on their skills and talents- art, poetry, video, news article, etc. If I were teaching in person right now, I probably would have done the Bible Study as a whole class, and then had the students complete the project on their own, but as they are working individually at home I set it up so they could choose.

I would expect either of these tasks to take my junior highers about 60-90 minutes, so this is a multi day assignment for them. You could shorten it by taking out slides, or spread out over several days. Remember the tasks can also be edited to simplify for younger students or enriched for older students. Make it work for your kids!

These were created in Google Slides because I will share them directly to Google Classroom for my students, but you also can download them and edit in PowerPoint to use or share as you need. (A few more details about that at the end of this post).

And FYI, there is a new section under the Sharing the Faith tab with all of the other editable Google Classroom assignments I've made available on the blog. ;)

Click here for the digital O Antiphon Bible Study:


Here's a little preview of the slides:


Click here for a more open ended project allowing the students to learn about the O Antiphons and then create a project like art, a poem, a video, news article, etc.

Here's a preview of the slides:

These activities originally began as a set of printables, which I added to the blog five years ago. If you'd rather have some coloring pages, I have them in several sizes. Each has the title of Jesus, the date, the Old and New Testament references, and an image. They are great as coloring pages, ornaments, gift tags, decorations, or Bible Journaling. Check out this post for the printables:

It includes a full size O Antiphon Coloring Book:
Click here for the 4-per-page mini book, which also make great ornaments or gift tags:


Or they are also available in a 2" size which are great for Bible Journaling or tiny ornaments.

I wish you a holy remainder of Advent and a very blessed Christmas!

~ ~ ~

A few notes about the digital versions: 

-These assignments were created in Google Slides with the intention of being assigned in Google Classroom. You can certainly download them in PowerPoint and send them through email, or whatever tool you are using to communicate with your students.

-They are totally editable. You just have to make a copy on Google Slides or download to PowerPoint before making any changes. Delete, change, add-- make them work for your kids. (If you request edit access on these files, I won't be able to grant it because it would change the master slides for everyone. You have to make a copy to make changes.)

***All of the resources needed for the tasks are readily available- like public websites or docs I've created. If you share the slides with your students, make sure that they can access all of the links as well. For example, if you have a closed Google Domain (many schools are) they will not be able to open any of the files I have linked because I am outside of their domain. You will have to make a copy, save in your own Google Drive, and link. (Unfortunately, I get A LOT of student access requests to docs shared by their teachers, but I can't even email them back because of domain permissions. It breaks my teacher heart to not be able to help them- so if you are in a closed Google Domain, please keep that in mind!)***

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Weekly Advent Reflections {Editable Assignments for Google Classroom}


Forgive this for being a bit "late" but I literally just made these for my own students and thought that maybe they could help another teacher or DRE or parent ;) These slides are intended to help guide a student through a little reflection and prayer based on the Advent theme each week. 

Each week, the slides include:
-A short video and included questions on that video
-The reference for the Sunday Gospel of the week and a few reflection questions
-An connection between the Advent theme of the week and beauty- examining art, music, or poetry
-A closing prayer

I would expect this to take my 7th or 8th graders about a half an hour, or it is something that could be spread out one piece at a time over the week. You could certainly edit to simplify or beef it up to stretch to older or younger students. 


These were created in Google Slides because I will share them directly to Google Classroom for my students, but you also can download them and edit in PowerPoint to use or share as you need. 

I also just added a new section under the Sharing the Faith tab with all of the other editable Google Classroom assignments I've made available on the blog. ;)


Click here for the Hope Reflection Slides:

Click here for the Peace Reflection Slides:

Click here for the Joy Reflection Slides:

Click here for the Love Reflection Slides:


A few notes: 
-These assignments were created in Google Slides with the intention of being assigned in Google Classroom. You can certainly download them in PowerPoint and send them through email, or whatever tool you are using to communicate with your students.

-They are totally editable. You just have to make a copy on Google Slides or download to PowerPoint before making any changes. Delete, change, add-- make them work for your kids. (If you request edit access on these files, I won't be able to grant it because it would change the master slides for everyone. You have to make a copy to make changes.)

***All of the resources needed for the tasks are readily available- like public websites or docs I've created. If you share the slides with your students, make sure that they can access all of the links as well. For example, if you have a closed Google Domain (many schools are) they will not be able to open any of the files I have linked because I am outside of their domain. You will have to make a copy, save in your own Google Drive, and link. (Unfortunately, I get A LOT of student access requests to docs shared by their teachers, but I can't even email them back because of domain permissions. It breaks my teacher heart to not be able to help them- so if you are in a closed Google Domain, please keep that in mind!)***

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Interviews with TWO of My Favorite Authors, and a GIVEAWAY!

For several years I've been sharing my book reviews with you, but today instead of just listing favorite books, I get to share two of my favorite authors! Maura Roan McKeegan and Katie Warner are both prolific authors of Catholic Children's books, many of which are the books I've used frequently in my classroom and parish, bought multiple copies of for gifts, or recommended to others time and time again. I had the opportunity to ask each of them about their insights on sharing our Catholic faith with kids through the words and illustrations found in their books and I'm so excited to share those interviews with you today! AND to celebrate, I'm also hosting a giveaway for you, my awesome readers! The winner will get their pick of one each of Katie and Maura's books. Check out the end of the post for how to enter!

***Looking to buy a few books for Christmas gifts? On this small business Saturday, I highly encourage you to buy directly from the publisher or from your local Catholic bookstore! Many of them are also offering great deals this weekend, too. (I've linked directly to the publisher's websites below, but these books are also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.) ;)

An Interview with Author Maura Roan McKeegan


I have long loved Maura Roan McKeegan's books, especially her Old and New Series that so beautifully brings Biblical typology to life for children. I was so honored to get to ask Maura a few questions recently about writing books for Catholic kids! Maura's books include Where is Jesus Hidden?, The End of the Fiery Sword, Into the Sea, Out of the Tomb, Building the Way to Heaven, and Conrad and the Wildfire.



Q: In Where is Jesus Hidden? and your other children's books, you do a beautiful job of communicating rich theological truths to little readers. What are some ways you think parents and teachers can share deep topics with young children?

A: Thank you! I think one of the best things parents and teachers can do is to cultivate their own sense of wonder about the Faith. When we read fascinating books and listen to captivating speakers, they create a spark within us. That spark can be passed on to children when we share our enthusiasm about our discoveries with them.

All of my children’s books began with me learning something about the Faith that struck me as fascinating (like biblical typology), or inspiring (like the story of St. Conrad of Piacenza). When adults are enthusiastic about a topic, they can impart that enthusiasm to children in a real and meaningful way. Then, instead of trying to feed children information because we think they “ought to know it,” we convey exciting truths about deep topics because we find it all just so amazing and we want to share it with the children in our lives!

My favorite college professor, who taught a course in elementary reading education, used to say, “Enthusiasm for reading is caught, not taught.” In the same way, I think enthusiasm for the Faith is caught, not taught. Children have an incredible capacity for understanding deep truths—in some ways, even more than adults do, because of the purity of their hearts. When we, as parents and teachers, fill our own hearts with Scripture, stories of the saints, good books, and interesting conversations, these things will give us the “good treasure of the heart,” from of the abundance of which “the mouth speaks” to children. (Luke 6:45)






Q: What are some practical applications or discussions you hope occur after reading Where is Jesus Hidden?

A: I hope that reading Where is Jesus Hidden? will help children find the hidden Jesus in their everyday lives. When I was growing up, even though I had a Catholic education, I had no idea that Jesus was truly present in the Eucharist, let alone that we could find Him in the poor or the sick. (I don’t fault my teachers—I probably wasn’t listening!) These were concepts I didn’t understand until I was an adult, but they are well within the grasp of children.

Mother Teresa is my inspiration for finding the hidden Jesus. She said, “In the Eucharist, I see Christ in the appearance of bread. In the slums, I see Christ in the distressing disguise of the poor. The Eucharist and the poor are but one love for me.”

It is my hope that this book will open children’s eyes to see, as Mother Teresa did, the many ways that the hidden Jesus is with us. I also hope that hearing and reading the words of Scripture will create a familiarity with the Bible that children can bring into adulthood. I hope that when children hear these same verses in other places, the verses will resonate with new understanding because of the discoveries the children encountered in Where is Jesus Hidden?, and that those Scriptural connections will last a lifetime.




Q: What do you look for in quality Catholic children's books?

A: In Catholic children’s books about Scripture, it’s important to me that the Bible verses are authentic and not changed or embellished. If Scripture is paraphrased, it’s important to me that it stays as close as possible to the actual text and doesn’t take liberties with the words and messages of the Bible. Every word of Scripture is packed with meaning. When we stay close to the actual words, we stay close to Christ.

In Catholic children’s books about saints or fictional stories, I look for good storytelling that:
--captures children’s attention (no one wants to read dry or boring books!)
--imparts truth in inspiring and unique ways without being didactic
--trusts children’s ability to internalize the story without watering down content
--respects the child’s intelligence and doesn’t talk down to children in a condescending way
--is accompanied by endearing illustrations

This article that I wrote for the St. Paul Center dives more deeply into the topic of reading spiritual books with children, with tips for parents, teachers, and others: Reading with Love: Tips for Sharing Spiritual Books with Children


An Interview with Author Katie Warner

Katie Warner's contribution to Catholic books for kids continues to amaze me! She brings the truth of the Sacraments and sanctity and more to such a relatable level for young children. I've always been so encouraged by her work and was thrilled to get to ask her a few questions about Catholic kids' books too! Her writing includes This is the Church, Lily Lolek, Future Saint, Fr. Ben Gets Ready for Mass, I Went to Mass, What Did I See, and board books like Kiddie Cat and The Word of the Lord. Her next title, Listening for God, is also available for preorder! (And she also has a whole series of books for adults on prayer, too.)




Q: This is the Church is a treasure among picture books! It shares the beauty of Salvation History in such an appropriate format for little readers. It seems to be a goal of First Faith Treasury books to present authentic teaching in an approachable way, even for preschoolers. How do you go about sharing the truths of the faith without watering them down?

A: I love this question. Our faith is so rich, and our children have the capacity for great understanding; it is our desire to create books that acknowledge these realities! We aim to publish books that children will want to read, because by their nature they are true, good, and beautiful -- qualities that any soul is drawn to regardless of age.

On a more practical note, I have a graduate degree in Catholic theology and have spent the better part of my life teaching the faith in some capacity, so I'd say that watering children's books down is not so much my challenge as is making them too rife with content or theology beyond a young child's age! But honestly, I find that our children and students, who were made by their Creator to know Him, are quite ready to scour depths of faith and mystery beyond what we might expect. It's incredible to hear from readers -- and to watch my own children -- fall in love with stories that don't talk down to them, but rather help form them into little disciples.





Q: Your books feature gorgeous illustrations, but each design is unique to the content of the book. How have you worked with your illustrators to create both images and text that enhance and build on one another?

A: I am blessed to work with the most amazing artists! In fact, I wouldn't be a children's book writer if it wasn't for my desire to see Meg Whalen's illustrations be enjoyed by kids around the world. She had been publishing small batches of her own illustrated books for years for family and friends' baptisms, birthdays, and other special celebrations, and I wanted her beautiful work to be more widely distributed. I knew I had the skills to arrange a publishing contract...and then along the way I discovered I loved writing children's books and that the Holy Spirit wanted this to happen for more reasons than I had originally planned!

But it is important to me that the illustrators bring a lot of their own creative talent to each book. The pictures tell the story as much, if not more, than the words do! After I finish a text, I like to let the illustrators (Meg Whalen or Amy Rodriguez have illustrated all of our current books, and Meg does the book design for all of them as well) take the lead in creating artwork for the book that expresses their own preferred style and enhances the text. We work together as the book progresses, in hopes that we can wed the text and the illustrations on each page beautifully, so that they are each a cohesive, mini work of art that make children and adults want to linger a bit as they read.

Meg and Amy are so incredibly talented that the whole process turns out to be so delightful, easy, and fun!



Q: What do you look for in quality Catholic children's books?

A: In addition to the qualities of truth, goodness, and beauty as I mentioned previously, a truly great Catholic children's book is captivating. It draws children to it. They want to reach for it from the shelf as they would its secular Barnes and Noble bestselling counterparts. It's okay for a Catholic children's book to be fun! To be creative. To be unique. To tell a great story. We started doing this work because we noticed that a lot of our Catholic children's books in the home had great content, but were missing that ... pizzaz? (to sound like a nerd)...that made us really look forward to reading them. I also think a quality Catholic children's book can foster experiences, discussions, and memories.

I've had so many teachers and parents tell me about their pastors' reading Father Ben Gets Ready for Mass to children and seeing the Mass and the priesthood come more alive for them through the special connection made through that interactive book. I've treasured stories of children who excitedly create their own club or litany of favorite saints and talk about their desire to become a saint someday after reading Lily Lolek, Future Saint. These anecdotes (along with hearing my own kids recite my books word for word by memory!) make my heart explode with joy and remind me that there are few things as treasured in childhood as a good book...so why not a good Catholic book? Even better, right?


Ok, and now for the GIVEAWAY!

I just love my readers so much, and am so grateful for your support and encouragement. I'd love to send you one of Maura and one of Katie's books of your choice! Winner must be 18 or older and have a US mailing address (sorry, international friends!). Lots of ways to enter below, and the giveaway closes 12/5/20 at 12 a.m.


a Rafflecopter giveaway