Sunday, February 14, 2021

Ideas for the Lenten Season


Lent gives us 40 days of opportunities to grow closer to Christ. As you are planning for the upcoming season, here are some ideas for you to use in your home or classroom.  This round up post contains music, videos, art projects, or coloring pages, click on the images below to go to the original posts. If you are already thinking ahead to Easter, check out this post or the list under The Church Year tab.

Lent- Pray, Fast, Give Activity in English

Also in EspaƱol (Folder here and idea strips here)

Lenten Prayer Challenge Board (Perfect for self guided prayer with choice for older kids, includes an editable version)
Lent Family Plan- Ideas for prayer, fasting, and giving for each week of Lent centered around the Sunday Gospels and the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy. (editable format)

Lent Looks Different- Ideas for Classroom and home decoration during Lent:

Lenten Visio Divina using classic art, including printable art and a Visio Divina guide:

The Sound of Lent: A Song Playlist (my personal go-to music during Lent, but great for a classroom as well)

Books for Lent for Kids and Adults here and here and in this overall list:

Sunset & Shadow Stations of the Cross Project (one of my students' annual favorites!)

Resurrection Eggs (Tell the story of Holy Week with items in each egg)

The Gospel in an Eggshell (Object lesson connecting Advent, Lent, & Easter)

Lent Notes Foldable (notetaking device for the Season of Lent)

Lent Word Cloud Notes (print mine or use as an example to have students make their own)

Give Up, Take Up (Lent goals printable and ideas for Youth Group lesson)

I don't have a link for this one, but we usually have a sacrifice crown of thorns in my classroom.  It's a simple grapevine wreath with large brown toothpicks.  When the students make a sacrifice, they can pull a thorn from the crowns and place it in the bowl.

Student created Lenten Acts of Mercy organized by the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy
(It's a great time of year to teach about the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy.  Find printable coloring pages and mini books here and here.)

Using the Stations of the Cross as Inspiration for Lenten acts of charity

What Lent Looks Like Coloring Page (Also available in the Liturgical Year Coloring Book)

What The Triduum Looks Like Coloring Page

Passion & Resurrection Peg Doll Set

Connecting the Passover and the Passion (Youth Bible Study, can use movie Prince of Egypt)

New Life Seeds Printable

Fulton Sheen Good Friday & Easter Sunday Quote

Looking ahead to Holy Week, this Holy Week Journal and Retreat Schedule, available in English, Spanish, and French:

Oh, and these Bible Margin Doodles (bookmarks, mini coloring pages, templates, etc.) are in my Etsy Shop!

I pray you have a blessed and fruitful Lent!

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Katie Reads {25} (Enter to win a copy of my new book!)

Hi there! Time for a new stack of Katie Reads recommendations- and in honor of my book releasing this week, I'm giving away a copy at the end of the post! Through the Year with Jesus: Gospel Readings and Reflections for Children will be available on February 1st, so if you preordered, they should be on the way to you this week! I can't wait for them to start arriving and for you to put them to good use in your homes and classrooms. 

Check out all of my Katie Reads Posts under this tab, and my growing list of Books for Catholic Kids here.

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 also highly encourage you to buy directly from the publisher or from your local Catholic bookstore! 
+++Emmaus Road Publishing provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
***Pauline Books and Media provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
^^^Tan Books provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
~~~Ave Maria Press provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
%%% Ignatius Press provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
### Author provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

First up, I wanted to share with you a peek at a few inside pages to give you a feel for the contents of my book Through the Year with Jesus. There are over 60 entries like this, with the complete text of Scripture, a full page Sacred Art, a kid friendly reflection with discussion questions, a practical application, and Lectio Divina prayer starters. It's hardback, full color, and 232 pages, and I hope and pray it becomes a keepsake for you and your kids! You can order the book from the St. Paul Center (also available as an ebook) or on Amazon, and can access the preorder bonuses here. I'm also giving away a free virtual workshop to someone who preorders, so if you order by 2/6/21, don't miss out on entering!

Next up, here are some Lenten book recommendations:

This Lenten journal for kids (intended for ages 6-12) is just awesome. I love that they used the Holy Spirit as a theme- there's such a lack of resources for kids on the Third Person of the Trinity! The content is thoughtfully laid out with cool graphics and colors. It includes Scripture, activities, room to draw and write, reflections and questions, prayer and Saint quotes. Plus it has great design, a hardback cover and spiral binding. It's probably the best kids' Lenten resource I've seen- I love how interactive it is! There is also an adult devotional of the same theme and they are offering a great deal on a kid/adult bundle too!
Extra thought- if you happen to be in a diocese where Confirmation is received in 2nd/3rd grade THIS would be awesome prayer and preparation for your kiddo! Lent and the Holy Spirit- a perfect retreat leading up to Confirmations this spring! :)

I love having a "fresh" Stations of the Cross book to try each Lent, and this is the one I'll be praying with this year. Artist Jen Norton has a unique style that I'd call a modern folk art, and this journal is full of her beautiful work! More than just a prayer for each Station, the book contains Scripture, reflections, questions, and room to write. I look forward to enjoying both the words and the visuals as a fresh way to encounter the Stations of the Cross this Lent. Heads up, you can buy the book on the Ave Maria Press website for $13 and free shipping with the code KBOGNER from Feb. 1, 2021, through March 5, 2021! (I ended up with an extra copy and will be giving away one on Instagram later this week, too!)

These little pocket devotionals provide a simple tool for jumpstarting Lenten prayer. Messages of Letting Go offers a daily Scripture verse, short reflection, and action item. The Living Gospel offers suggestions for entering into prayer, a recommended reading from the Gospels, a bit longer reflection, an action item, and a closing prayer. At right around $2 each, these would be great to give away at your parish, or even to older students. I could also see using the Living Gospel especially for opening prayers during Lent in a high school classroom. Both are dated, making them easy to navigate this year, but unfortunately then not as valuable in the future. 

Here are a couple of daily reflection books that I am really loving right now (and have used for many gifts lately!)

This is hands down my new favorite Saint-a-Day type book. It is beautifully published as a large hardcover (7x10" and 432 pages) with gold foil accents and original illustrations on every page. I will definitely have this on display in my classroom, but it would be a good read for adults or as part of a family prayer table. I wrote a full length review with more details that you can read here- but the best endorsement I can give you is after getting my copy (it's a little bit on the pricey side), I immediately ordered five more to use as Christmas gifts. It's sure to be a timeless resource.

I've got a mixed review on this one- first, Fulton Sheen quotes for each day? Awesome! Gift-quality hardback with textured paper cover? Lovely! But when I opened this book the first time, I was surprised that it contains more blank paper inside than actual text. The quotes for the 365 days are good, (it is Sheen, after all) but the layout seems almost wasteful with all the empty space. However- I looked it over and decided that it would make a great "journal" with lots of applications- maybe jot down prayer intentions on that date, and then return the following year to see how they were answered, and then add more. Or make note of significant dates and their events. Or use it as an art journal, lettering the quotes and decorating the pages. There are many ways to use it and I've got some plans for turning it into a gift, but just know that it's a lovely "package" with less than you might expect inside.

And here are some great picture books for kids:

^^^The Monks Make Amends- Sylvia Dorham
I love the other titles in this series, and this one fits right in! Cute rhymes, expressive illustrations, and a super relatable storyline about anger, frustration, and forgiveness. It contains a great reminder that emotions are not sinful, but we need to control out actions. It also models forgiveness and turning to Jesus in prayer and the Sacrament of Confession. It would be a perfect read aloud for kids in the time leading up to their first Confession!

+++The Catholic Treasury of Prayers & Verses- Adalee Hude 

Adalee is one of my favorite Catholic artists, and this prayer collection she has created is both a tool and a truly beautiful keepsake. It contains many traditional Catholic prayers and favorite Bible verses alongside Adalee's gorgeous illustrations. At over 50 pages, hardback, and in a classic but warm style, it really is a treasure! I think that it would be such a great book for a Mass bag or prayer table, and certainly would make a perfect First Communion gift. 

%%%Bernadette: The Little Girl from Lourdes- Sophie Maraval-Hutin 
This book is not newly published, but is new to me so I still wanted to share it with you. It is a sweet picture book about the beloved St. Bernadette and tells the story of Our Lady of Lourdes. Short but thorough and warmly illustrated, I really liked how the book included Bernadette's life as a nun once an adult, as well as a little about her death, canonization, and the miracles associated with Lourdes. 

(If you're on Instagram, I'll be giving away a copy of this Bernadette and Hiawatha book on Sunday 1/31!) I know that parents and teachers alike love Demi books- she's a prolific author with over 300 biographies and legends published about cultures around the world. Her illustrations are a totally unique combination of painting and collage, rich in detail and symbolism. The book on St. Bernadette is lovely and is one of those picture books that has value even for older readers- using beauty and eloquent language, it's uses are not just for kids of a typical "picture book" age.

Demi's newest book focuses on the importance of Hiawatha unifying the Iroquois tribes in the League of Five Nations, his teachings of peace and forgiveness, and hints at his continued impact even today. It also points to the connection of his mission to the later work of the Jesuits who came to America as well as the creation of the US Constitution. I think it presented an interesting crossover of the respect that differing cultures and religions can have for one another, learning from all of our gifts and good work.

Sleepytime Saints:A to Z- Michael and Marcy Kelleher
Marcy and her dolls are old favorites here on the blog (read her guest post here). Her coveted handmade Saint dolls are hard to get (for good reason!) but now everyone can enjoy their beauty and creativity with this new book. Combining Marcy's dolls, her husband's poems, and fun collage style photography, there's lots to see and enjoy in their first book! There are so many details to explore and Saints that you might not expect are included on the A to Z list. I think older kids would like investigating the symbols and researching the biographies of the Saints to better understand the stories, and littles are sure to love the cozy images and fun rhymes!

***Brilliant: 25 Catholic Scientists, Mathematicians, and Supersmart People- David Michael Warren and Jaclyn Warren
 With full page gorgeous illustrations and short biographies on these 25 brilliant Catholics, this new book words to demonstrate to kids that science and faith are not meant to be separated, but instead seek the same Truth. This was a collaboration from Pauline Books and Media and Word on Fire, and I hope to see more in the future! We need more books like this for kids!

###Giorgio's Miracle- Laurie Schmidt
This middle grade chapter book just arrived in my mailbox, but I wanted to make sure to include it! I've read the first and last chapters already (a bad habit, but convenient for a teacher!) and I really liked it! A fictionalized version of the real Eucharistic miracle that occurred in Turin, Italy in 1453, this book is sure to draw in kids that are animal lovers. I think it could make a great read aloud following First Communion, or an independent read for 4th-6th graders. 

And finally, a couple of new books on Mary:

Taking the Song of Songs one section at a time and connecting to the beauty and virtue of Mary, this book dives deeper into understanding Mary's role as Mother and Bride. Each chapter opens with the Scripture, a short story, and then an explanation connecting and teaching about the Blessed Mother. A set of thorough reflection questions and prayer exercises make me think that this book would work well for either personal or group Bible Study. I plan to put this aside until the Easter Season or maybe the month of May, but look forward to diving into its riches.

St. Ildephonsus was a new Saint for me- he lived in the 7th Century, but this is the first time these writings have been published in English. He wrote about about the "jewels" that make up the crown of the Queen of Heaven, using 24 gemstones to describe her virtues. It's been a prayerful read so far, and has me inspired to create art to go along with his reflections! The quality of the book with lovely gold foil and pretty end papers would make it a great gift book.

And finally, to celebrate release week, would you like to win a copy of my new book? Enter the giveaway here, no follow/share requirements. Just provide your email address so I know how to contact you if you win! Sorry, US addresses only, but maybe next time I can do an ebook giveaway! ;) Giveaway closes midnight 2/6/21.

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