Saturday, November 20, 2021

Advent Activities for Home and Classroom

Happy Solemnity of Christ the King! If you'd like some music to celebrate, here's a playlist for your prayer and enjoyment: Christ the King Music Playlist

And that means it's almost time for Advent! The wonder, the hope, the light- and the focus on a newborn King come to save us. Here is a collection of free ideas, activities, and printables to help your family and classroom enter into the Season. 

(Just a reminder- you are always welcome to share these resources with your classroom or parish-  I'm happy to be of help! When possible, I always appreciate a link back to the original blog post or a mention of looktohimandberadiant.com.)

First up, here is a "schedule" of suggested Advent activities for each week, perfect to add to a classroom newsletter or parish bulletin. The links all send the reader to free resources, like videos, printables, and music playlists. Or you are welcome to pull ideas from this and send them individually! 

Or here is an editable version that you can tailor to your students/program:


And now here are some links to individual activities or resources. Some of these are new, and some are old favorites- so sometimes they will just open straight to the resource, and others will send you to the original blog post with all the details. You can also look under the Liturgical Year Tab above for a list of past posts.

Weekly Advent Reflection Slides for Google Classroom (include videos, art, Scripture, Lectio Divina, and prayer)

Sacred Art for Advent and Christmas- This set of Google Slides contains 20 pieces of sacred art for the Season, as well as steps for Visio Divina for older and younger kids. Perfect to pull up on a big tv, smart board, or projector!


And in Spanish: (and I forgot, they are in Dutch too!


Booklets for families on praying with the Advent Wreath, celebrating Saint Feast Days in December, and an overview of the new Liturgical Year:



Advent Family Traditions: There are about ten different cards like this highlighting various traditions celebrated during Advent.



Advent YouTube Video Playlist- wide range of videos for little ones up to high schoolers.

Advent Jeopardy  and a second Advent Jeopardy game here ( There are a few different games for Advent and December Saints are available if you search "Jeopardy" over in the search bar, but some of them need some reformatting, fyi. They don't always transfer well to Google Slides! Best option is to download and use in PowerPoint.)

What Advent Looks Like Coloring Page

What Christmas Looks Like Coloring Page (or use the whole Liturgical Year Coloring Book)

O Antiphons Bible Study and Creative Project (Google Slides for Google Classroom)

O Antiphon Coloring Book (and mini version for Ornaments or decorating)


Seeking Our Savior Detective Journey in English:

And Spanish:
And there are tons more, especially projects for Christmas and Epiphany in this list of links!

May this Season draw all of us closer and closer to the Light of the World!

Monday, November 15, 2021

Favorite Books for Catholic Kids- Growing List!


I'm not doing a great job of keeping up with my Katie Reads posts- but it probably is because I've been reading way more than I have time to blog! ;) This year I'm up to 60 books on my personal read list, in addition to who-knows-how-many children's books. Instead of trying to catch up, I thought I'd update my growing list of Catholic kids' books and re-share them with you here.

A few notes:
-Some of these books I've inherited, a lot I have purchased, and some were sent to me by the author/publisher, but all of them are books I have used/gifted/recommended in my classroom or as a DRE. I'm only sharing with you what I like and use.
-This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. That means that if you click through and purchase something, I will receive a small commission at no cost to you. I'd also love to encourage you to shop directly with the publisher or with your local bookshop!
-By recommending these books, I am not saying they are perfect.  Their quality is somewhat dependent on the age and interests of the kids reading them as well as the support and background knowledge they have.  As always, you should preview and make the decision as to what is best for your kids or classroom (possibly thinking about some of the qualities I talk about in this post).
-Obviously there are tons of books that you could find Catholic themes within (virtue, symbolism, etc.) but these are books with explicit Catholic content and I've sorted them into a "genres" below.
-These lists are roughly organized from youngest interest level to oldest.  They are also far from complete and I invite you to chime in with your favorites in the comments.  Feel free to book mark this post as I will come back and continue to add to it!


Scripture
Through the Year with Jesus- Bogner, Katherine
The Word of the Lord- Warner, Katie
The Gospel for Little Ones- Roche, Maite
Jesus, Savior of the World, Marlyn Evangelina Monge
What Did God Make? Henning, Heather
Colors of Creation, by Paul Thigpen
God's Wildest Wonderment of All, Thigpen, Paul
Noah and the Ark, Tomie de Paola
David and Goliath, Tomie de Paola
Jesus, Son of Mary- Sheen, Fulton
Jesus, Our Savior- Szczebak, Patricia
The First Christians: The Acts of Apostles for Children- Hunt, Marigold

Mary, the Mother of Jesus, Tomie de Paola


Saints (Individual)
The Sword and the Cape- Love, Pamela
Soldier of God. St. Maximilian Kolbe- Treece, Patricia (and other comic books on Fulton Sheen, Emil Kapaun, Solanus Casey, etc. but I can't find them at a reasonable price online.  You can always contact the Foundations for the Causes for Canonization to order them more affordably)


Picture Book of Saints- Lovasik, Fr. (and others in series)


Prayer
O Come, Emmanuel, Kendra Tierney


Church Teachings/Q&A
Kiddie Cat- Warner, Katie


Stories/Novels/Activity Books
Before Austen Comes Aesop: The Children's Great Books and How to Experience Them- Blomquist, Cheri (great guide for discerning reading the great books with your children)
The Phantom of the Colosseum, Sophie de Mullenheim

Sunday, October 24, 2021

All About Relics, Q&A on Saints, and Tons of Activities for Halloween, All Saints, and All Souls

Through the upcoming celebration of All Hallows Eve, All Saints Day, and All Souls Day, we remember the close connection of the entire Mystical Body of Christ. On All Saints Day, we celebrate all the holy men and women who have gone before us, now gathered before the throne of God praying for us. All Souls Day then invites us to pray for those who have died, completing the connection between the Church Militant, Church Triumphant, and Church Suffering. These special days are so valuable to share with kids, and I have some activities to help!

All About Relics Activity Book

First up, a couple of new resources that I created in cooperation with the St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Shrine in New York. These two activity books are only available on their website, but are totally free for you to download and use! Both designed at a middle school level, they aim to help kids understand the important connection we have with the Saints.

Kids are typically fascinated by relics. Why do we have them? Is this just a weird Catholic tradition? Can they be found in the Bible? Discover all that and more in this All About Relics Activity Book: (Once at the cabrinishrinenyc.org site, click on the "download pdf" button in the gray bar at the bottom of the viewer.)

Q & A: Saints Activity Book

Why do we ask the Saints to pray for us? How can they hear us if they are dead? What's the difference between worship and veneration? All this and more is included in the Saint Activity Book. You can see a couple of sample pages below:

All Saints Day Pennants 

I originally made these Saint pennants for my students celebrating their Confirmation Saints, but then saved and tweaked the files, and printed them 1/4 the size to make the little mini Saint pennant banner pictured above. The collection has 50 pennants and there is more info below about how to make your own if a favorite Saint isn't included.

Click here for the full size pennants (2 per page), 

Click here for the medium size (4 per page),

And click here for the minis (8 per page):

If you would like a banner for a Saint you don't see, or would like to change colors, etc., I've also got this editable version:

And also black and white coloring pages:


If you are looking for some other resources for this weekend or going into the month of November, here are a few suggestions:

Catholic Connections to All Hallows Eve:

Saintly Friends Bingo:


Saint Scavenger Hunt
This Saint scavenger hunt is fun for all, but great research for kids preparing to choose their Confirmation Saint. It has lots of tasks for discovering Saints they have things in common with (name, birthday, interests) as well as getting to know "random" Saints. There are tons of links to sources to help with the search for different topics. My students really like this one! I have a similar version on paper here.

All Saints Day Art Project

One of my all time favorite art projects over the years! And it is super easy to adapt for various ages.

Make your own Litany of the Saints cards:

And Prayer for the Faithful Departed cards for All Souls Day:


And more! Just check under the Saints Tab above for tons of other ideas and printables. Happy All Saints Day!

Monday, October 11, 2021

Through the Year with Mary Preorder Bonuses

It's (almost) here! Through the Year with Mary: Ponder and Pray Together with Children, my second book, is ready for preorder! A stand alone book, but certainly a companion to Through the Year with Jesus, this book offers weekly readings, reflections, art, discussion questions, and prayers. Its topics include Marian devotions, feast days, traditions, apparitions, Bible stories, Saints, art, prayers, and hymns, all organized by themes that fit within the Church year. There are also a couple of great appendices with a Marian timeline, all the feast days in the book, and the full text of dozens of Marian prayers- making it easy to pray and learn about Our Blessed Mother all year long. (***Update based on lots of questions- the book is expected to start shipping in mid November, so even if a little delayed, will arrive in plenty of time for Christmas gift giving!)

Here's a look at the Table of Contents. Each weekly entry includes a quote (wisdom from Scripture, Saint, CCC, or author), an explanation of the tradition or devotion, a few discussion questions, a piece of sacred art including a reflection topic, a connection back to Jesus, and a prayer. (Click on the image to enlarge or zoom in to read the themes and topics)

And here's a sample week:


You can click here to preorder directly from my publisher. The St. Paul Center will also be offering a free ebook of bonus resources for all who preorder- it will include content on the monthly themes, prayers, art, and more. (***Update- the St. Paul Center free bonus ebook will be emailed out by the end of October to all those that preorder. It will have tons of content that supports but is unique from the actual book!)

Right now, the book currently only listed in hardback, but will also be available as an ebook on the release date. You can also find it here on Amazon (affiliate link).

If you like to shop local, now is a great time to ask your favorite bookstore to preorder the book for you. They can order the book for you to pick up locally, and they might also consider adding it to their shelves!


As a thank you for preordering, I'd like to offer you a free 20 page activity book, designed as a companion to the book and just a good set of tools for helping kids grow in devotion to Mary. Journaling pages, meaning of Marian symbols, a mini Marian shrine, Marian art scavenger hunt, quote coloring pages, and more! If you've preordered Through the Year with Maryjust fill out this form and the link to the all the activity pages is yours!


From all the entries in the preorder bonus form, I'll also choose one random winner to receive a free virtual workshop with a group of your choice! Entries must be submitted by 11/27/21 to be in the drawing. 

I can't wait for this book to be added to your collections in your homes and classrooms, helping children come to know the Blessed Virgin Mary, who always leads us closer to her Son!

---

From the back cover:

For two-thousand years, Christians around the world have sought the Blessed Virgin Mary as a guide to growing closer to her Son, Jesus. Through Scripture, Catholic teaching, devotions, and countless works of art, we come to see Mary as our Mother, too.

Through the Year with Mary by Katherine Bogner brings together the Church’s traditions in one place and provides a year-long plan for coming to know and love the Mother of God through:

  • Weekly passages from Scripture, saints, and scholars
  • Reflections to nurture your understanding of Marian teaching and devotion
  • Sacred art from around the world
  • Marian prayers to teach you to grow closer to Jesus through Mary

This comprehensive resource will help adults and children alike to entrust themselves to the most loving Mother of Jesus.


Through the Year with Mary has received the nihil obstat and imprimatur.
Nihil obstat:
Msgr. Philip D. Halfacre, V.G.
Censor Librorum 
Imprimatur:
Most Rev. Daniel R. Jenky, C.S.C.
Bishop of Peoria
September 15, 2021 


“In this companion volume to her wonderful book, Through the Year with Jesus, Katherine Bogner again hits all the right notes. Everything you’ve ever wondered about Mary is covered here, with quotes from saints and scholars, Church doctrine, Marian apparitions, Scripture from the Old and New Testaments, beautiful works of art, and prayers. It’s great for all ages, and would be useful in the home or classroom. Alongside your children, you’ll learn everything the Catholic Church has taught about Our Lady over the centuries, and how all of it, always, points us to a deeper understanding of her Son, Jesus.”

Kendra Tierney, Author and Blogger, CatholicAllYear.com

 “This book is an absolute must for families interested in deepening their devotion to Mary and honoring her in their homes and hearts all year long. In simple and compelling language, Katherine has made the wealth of the Church’s teachings on the Blessed Mother accessible without sacrificing depth. With easy-to-read reflections, beautiful art, and prayers from around the world, this book will easily become a cornerstone of your domestic church.”

Colleen Pressprich, Author of Marian Consecration for Families with Young Children

 “I am always looking for things to help us better communicate the faith to our daughters, who have lots of questions and an appetite to learn about Jesus. Who better to help us help them meet Jesus than His mother? Through the Year with Mary has been such a great resource for us to pray with on the way to school each morning, at the dinner table in the evening, and to try to grow our little domestic church with intentional focus on the person who knew Jesus best: His mom.”

Katie Prejean McGrady, Award-winning Author of Follow: Your Lifelong Adventure with Jesus and Host of The Katie McGrady Show on Sirius XM

 “Katie Bogner has done it again! Through the Year with Mary is an outstanding guide for children and adults as they grow in their love of God and His Church. Katie’s book offers a robust collection of Marian art, theology, prayers, and feast days to lead us to Jesus through Mary. Just like its companion book, Through the Year with Jesus, Through the Year with Mary is the perfect addition to any Catholic classroom or home. Buy this book!”

Bonnie Engstrom, Author of 61 Minutes to a Miracle