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 
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,

 “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

Friday, October 8, 2021

Book Review: Fulton Sheen and the Very Bad Week {Plus a free companion activity book!}

Do you know the story of when young Fulton Sheen was altar serving and dropped the wine cruet during Mass? He  happened to be in a cathedral (St. Mary's in Peoria) serving for a bishop (Bishop John Lancaster Spalding), making the mistake even more memorable. This is one of my students' favorite stories of Sheen, I think because it makes him so relatable- they all know what it is like to make a mistake. They also love that afterwards he didn't get in trouble, but instead received from the Bishop a prediction of the plans God might have in store for his future.

As they look to the Saints, kids can benefit from remembering that the saints were all once children themselves. Most didn't achieve heroic virtue immediately, and all give witness to how following God changed the course of their lives. However, biographies that contain real details from the childhood of Saints are pretty hard to come by.

That's one reason that I am so excited to share with you Bonnie Engstrom's brand new book Fulton Sheen and the Very Bad Week! Sharing true stories from the childhood of little Fulton, Bonnie created a collection of tales that are real and relatable for today's kids. Each of the stories is adapted from events Sheen wrote about in his autobiography Treasure in Clay. (affiliate links)

This book is super fun to read aloud. With a recognizable days-of-the-week format, the rhythm of events connects with wonderful storytelling. The full color watercolor illustrations on every spread enhance the book. They share rich details and are based on real locations and photographs. I also love the little hidden symbols and connections to Sheen, which are revealed in a key at the end- they are perfect for going back to search for!

Most importantly, the theme that God is with us, is so close to us, even in our "very bad" moments is taught to the reader. Fulton's mom and dad and the Afterward of the book reveal that His plans are far bigger than what we might see in our current circumstances. The Lord is calling us to Himself through our particular path to holiness, and that is a message I want every kid to hear.

I've taught about Fulton Sheen in my 5th-8th Grade classrooms over many years, and have collected those resources into the Teaching with Fulton Sheen Curriculum. However, there aren't as many resources available for our younger kiddos, which makes this book a perfect tool for Kindergarten through 4th graders. To help expand its impact in homes and classrooms, I had the honor of working with Bonnie and the illustrator Mari to create a companion activity book that we all are so excited to offer you for FREE!

The activities are intended to be a companion to Fulton Sheen and the Very Bad Week with matching fonts, illustrations, and topics. The pages start simple and easy and get more challenging, offering a range of activities for K-4th Grade. 

The activities work on basic skills like copywork and coloring, but also include reading strategies like matching, sequencing, and recalling facts. The pages for older kids include reflection prompts and room to write.

Within the activities, kids will come to know Fulton Sheen, but more importantly grow in understanding of the love that God has for each one of us. You can see a preview of the activity pages below, and the full pdf also includes a couple more coloring pages, a table of contents with recommended ages, a letter to teachers and parents, and an answer key for the necessary activities. :)

I hope you consider adding  Fulton Sheen and the Very Bad Week to your home or classroom library! It would also make a great Christmas gift for your nieces and nephews, godchildren, and grandchildren. Plus, you can print and include a copy of activity book too!

Venerable Fulton J. Sheen, pray for us!

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Resources for the Month of the Rosary {Including editable tools and Spanish Printables!}

October is the month of the Rosary, so it's a perfect opportunity to share this beautiful prayer with our kids and students. Rather than just pull out a Rosary and start reciting the prayers, I think we need to slow down and first share with them the why and the how and the meaning behind this tradition. With that knowledge, its much more likely the Rosary, whether prayed completely or a decade at a time, will impact kids and help them know the major stories from the life of Christ.

If you are teaching in the classroom, some of these printables or links hopefully will help you as you pray together with your students. If you are teaching virtually or providing support for at-home catechesis, this schedule is ready to email and provides guidance for how to learn about the Rosary. All of the linked printables and videos are free to access. I'm sharing two versions of the schedule-  one that is just broken down by a four week period, and one that is editable and can be used how ever you like.

Click here for a month long schedule:

Want to design your own schedule but not start from scratch? Click here for a version in Google Slides that you can make a copy of or edit and make your own: 

Click here for a printable with all the prayers of the Rosary:
If you print two sided, cut in half horizontally, stack, fold, and staple, you've got an easy little mini book.
If you can't print two sided, just cut all the cards apart, stack, and staple.

Click here for the same prayers of the Rosary in Spanish:

Click here for a set of cards with all the Mysteries and where to find them in the Bible:
If you cut this page in quarters, they will fit just right with the Rosary prayers mini book above.
Click here for the Mysteries in Spanish:

I also made this "review" sheet to use with my students. I had them try it off the top of their head to see what they had memorized, but then let them correct by checking it again their prayer books.
Click here to download it as a pdf, or click here to open it as a Google Slides file that you can edit.

Are you a classroom teacher who uses Google Classroom for quizzes? Here are a set of Google Forms with short quizzes on each set of Mysteries. (Note- these links will automatically open up as a fresh copy of the form. To use with students, save in your drive, edit as desired, and then use the regular sharing link to send to them, not the link below. Otherwise you'll get a new quiz every time a student opens it, and you won't have access to them ;) )

For Petitions to use with the Mysteries of the Rosary during the ongoing pandemic, available in both English and Spanish, click here:

Our Lady of the Rosary, Pray for us!

Thursday, September 23, 2021

"My First Catholic Church" Book in Spanish! {¡Mi Primer libro de la Iglesia Católica!}

Earlier this year I brought you a guest post with a free project that ended up being widely popular. LHBR reader Helen Tine offered a flexible resource for creating a mini book to help young Catholics learn the nomenclature of the items used during the Mass, and also encourage them to grow in familiarity with their own parish church. You can find the background info and all the printables in this post.

Immediately after posting, I had several requests to offer this resource in Spanish- which is always something I am happy to help facilitate, but is out of my personal skill set. Anytime a volunteer wants to step up and help translate, proofread, etc. a new version of something offered here on the blog, I am so grateful! You can find other translated resources at these links: Spanish  Dutch  French

I appreciate both the generosity of Helen and the dedication of the volunteer who worked hard to translate this book. (With more resources to come!) Feel free to reach out if you have any requests for other resources on the blog and what language you would like to see them in!

Click here to see the original project in English:

And click here to find the same resource in Spanish!

And if you are looking for a project for older kids, this Sacrament Scavenger Hunt has a similar objective, or you might also like these Mass Article Graphic Organizers.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

"Notes from Our Lady" Bulletin Board Set

I posted a little classroom tour on Instagram a few weeks ago and got tons of questions about this bulletin board! These narrow bulletin boards have presented a bit of a challenge to decorate, so for a couple of years I featured #NotesFromTheSaints with a rotating collection of Saint prints and handlettered quotes. Ready to change it up this year, I'm featuring #NotesFromOurLady! I've picked out a collection of quotes about Mary from the Bible, Catechism, Saints, and other authors to rotate every week or so. Paired with my favorite Mary poster from Catholic Paper Goods and a little Ave Maria banners, this stack of 35 mini posters presents teachings about Mary that are good and true and beautiful, and making it easy to work in a little extra catechesis and inspiration for my students.

While you might not have need of bulletin board decor, these Marian quote posters have lots of applications. Print a favorite from the collection to hang above your desk or kitchen sink,  use the 1/4 scale set as note cards, or pull quotes from the list to write in your planner.

I love using a clipboard on a display like this- it adds a little depth, makes it easy to hang up the prints, and even allows you to "store" the set all in one place. You can print the Ave Maria banners and the set of quotes below.

Click here for the Ave Maria mini banners. Print on colored paper, trim, and you've got a bulletin board header!

You can pair with your favorite Marian image, but if you like the Miraculous Medal poster I used in my classroom, you can purchase it from my friend Shari at Catholic Paper Goods. She has it both in her shop and on Etsy. With her digital download, you can easily send it to your local office store to print inexpensively. I trimmed the white edges off mine to make it fit on my bulletin board.
(She also has the same image available as a sticker too! Oh, and I love her Marian coloring page bundle!)

Click here for the 35 Notes from Mary quotes. This pdf is a regular 8.5x11" size, so they are quick and easy to print on a regular printer. I grabbed a variety of shades of blue paper from my stash and have them on my clipboard ready to rotate each week.

Or if you'd like to print the quotes on a smaller scale, this pdf has four quotes per page:

Aaaannnnddddd... I might have Mary on the brain for a while, because I have a little surprise!

After all of your excitement and support for Through the Year with Jesus: Gospel Reading and Reflections for Children, I'm so happy to share that a companion book called Through the Year with Mary: Ponder and Pray Together with Children is on its way!

Similar in structure but independent from the first book, Through the Year with Mary offers weekly readings, prayers, and art covering Marian devotions, apparitions, Saints, stories from the Bible, and more. Each reflection invites the the children to connect the teaching about Mary to how she helps us to know and love her Son, Jesus. All of the quotes from this "Notes from Mary" bulletin board set are actually in the book somewhere, showing the great variety of wisdom we have as a Church on our Blessed Mother.

Through the Year with Mary should be available before Christmas, and I can't wait to see it at work in your homes and classrooms! I'll keep you in the loop when it is available for preorder, and in the meantime, I'm working on lots of freebies to help you teach your kiddos about Our Lady. 

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Pilgrimage Postcards

Hi Friends! Well, it's been quite a while since I've posted new content on the blog- the longest stretch between posts since I started ten years ago, to be honest! Don't worry, nothing is wrong- life just has been busy! Summer was filled with tons of wonderful time with my family. I've been working hard to pick up a book more than I pick up my phone (I'm at 48 completed books this year with several more already started!). Back to school has been a little crazy, but it's so, so good to be back in my classroom. And I have lots of exciting projects in the works I can't wait to tell you about.

One to mention now is that I am in between blog email subscription services this month. If you are used to receiving LHBR content right in your inbox, no worries, I'll be back, but just have some bugs to work out. I am likely going to start offering a "monthly newsletter" style subscription versus a "blog roll update/every new post" as it had been in the past. One reason is that I have a decade of content to point you towards, and with a monthly newsletter I can dig some things from the archives that fit well for upcoming seasons and feasts as well as share new resources with you. Never fear, all the content on the blog will always be free and easy to access. That won't change! If you have any questions while I work out the details, don't hesitate to contact me at looktohimandberadiant (at) gmail (dot) com.

Have you ever been on pilgrimage? Whether across the world to a well known site or just across town to a local shrine, a trip made for a religious purpose can be an intentional and memorable way to draw closer to God. 

Providential Co.'s beautiful pilgrimage themed calendar inspired my classroom door decorations at the start of this school year. I snatched up one of her calendars on sale this summer, pulled off the wire binding, trimmed the edges, and had twelve mini posters to use in my classroom. I love the vintage postcard style she created, and after they were hung up, my mind rolled toward a fun first-week-of school activity I could do with all my classes. Inspired by the Christian tradition of pilgrimages, I want my students to know about their purpose as well as the many holy sites around the world. So I made a quick little project that was a great "ease in" activity for everyone and added to our classroom display. The kids flipped through the collection of student created postcards while they waited in line or went in and out of the classroom. I think this would be a great mini unit or open ended project for your middle or high schoolers!

A quick note- Providential Co. is all sold out of her awesome 2021 calendars. I have chatted with her and she plans to have a new calendar for 2022, so be on the lookout! In the meantime, if there is a particular pilgrimage image that you love, she does have them available as large art prints (Lourdes, for example) or sets of postcard sized images here and stickers here.

If you 'd like to teach a pilgrimage project with your own students, I have a few resources for you to get you started!

We used these booklet style notes to discuss the basics of pilgrimages and pilgrimage locations around the world and locally. The booklet also contains a page for researching one pilgrimage location.

After doing some quick research on a pilgrimage location of their choice, the students' task was to create a postcard as if they had traveled on pilgrimage to that site. You could adapt your expectations to whatever standard, but for this simple project, my students had to write a 2-3 sentence message describing their pilgrimage (including some features of the site) on one side. On the blank side they needed to create a simple illustration depicting the pilgrimage location. Some kids drew the outlines of churches/shrines, some Marian apparitions or Saints, and some drew flags of the countries or word banners with symbols tied to the reason for the pilgrimage. There are so many possibilities to stretch this to older or younger kids, or to a short and simple project or something with greater detail.

You also could use these same materials to research one specific pilgrimage site as a class, studying its features, history, and unique story. The resources work just as well for a famous international location, or discussion how your diocesan cathedral or a local church or shrine can be a place of pilgrimage.

You can use the Pilgrimage Postcard and notes as they were created, or I'm also including a digital version that you can edit (or share more easily on a platform like Google Classroom). The editable version will open in Google Slides. To edit or share with your students, you will need to either download or "make a copy" into your own Google Drive. Instructions are in the notes section of each file.

Click here for the Pilgrimage Postcards as a pdf.
These are far from perfect, but are where we recorded our discussion each day. There are a couple of videos I used with different classes, as well as a few quotes from Scripture and the CCC.

I hope you and your students enjoy these resources!

If you are looking to do some research on a specific location, I will recommend checking out the actual websites of both local and international pilgrimage sites. Some places offer virtual or video tours, or even just collections of photos with descriptions. 

Here is a basic list of sites I have found that offer virtual or video pilgrimages. I'll try to add more as I find them- and if you know of a good one that is missing, leave a comment or send me an email!

And I'd also like to recommend that you check out The Little Pilgrim- they have a bunch of exciting projects in the works, all intended to help kids have an authentically spiritual and educational experience while on pilgrimages. Her Instagram is also filled with tons of awesome info on the history of Catholicism and Saints in the United States of America!

Monday, June 28, 2021

American Saints Activities- All Free Resources, perfect for the month of July!


Looking for some activities to celebrate faith in the month of July? I created this at-home VBS last summer featuring some of our inspiring American Saints. Since then I've added even more resources and just checked/corrected some of the broken links and updated Ven. McGivney to Blessed! 
Here are some of the features of this American Saints collection:
-All the resources are free! Some are things I have created, but I also link to coloring pages, recipes, videos, and songs outside of my site. 
-You could do an in depth study throughout the month on lots of the Saints, or just choose a couple that your family would like to learn more about.
-I provide way more resources than you would ever need, so it is easy to pick and choose what fits your child's age and interests.
-If you would like to share this collected in a school/parish setting, you are always welcome to, and there is also an editable version you can tailor to your audience.
-For a more formal classroom/homeschool application, there I've added a biographical info sheet as well as a Google Slides version for Google Classroom.
-There are resources included in the overall list for adults too so that you can learn about these inspiring people alongside your kids!

Continue below for all the resources. Note that the photos are not updated, but the links to the documents should all be corrected. ;)

All you holy men and women of America, pray for us!


Leading up to the 4th of July, I wanted to create a shareable resource for your homes and parishes to celebrate and learn about the many, many faithful men and women who have impacted our country. This collection of activities could just be a resource for your home, can function as an at-home VBS, or can be easily shared out to your school or parish as an optional resource. There's even an editable version at the bottom to tailor it to your needs. Included are a few theme printables and then a pdf collection of (all free!) links highlighting fourteen American Saints (or soon-to-be Saints) including prayers, biographical videos, coloring pages. etc. There's also a column with resources for parents and older kids to help you research and learn alongside your kids.

Fourteen Saints are included. Honestly, my original plan was for ten and I just couldn't eliminate anyone on my brainstorming list. ;) Included are Americans spanning several centuries, men and women, lay people, religious, and priests, and Saints who are Black, White, and Native American. Each has a powerful and unique story of how they followed God's will and made our country a better place. I think that learning from their example and asking for their prayers is one of the best things we can be doing with our families right now.

There are many, many more Catholic Americans that could have been included, but I hope this starts you down the path of studying them and doing your own research. Theoretically, your family could study a new Saint every day for two weeks. Or you could spread the activities out over the month of July. There are lots of ways to jump in and no wrong method.

Before beginning the activities about the individual Saints, there are a few overall projects to set the vision for studying these holy men and women both as inspiration and as a challenge to pursue holiness ourselves. First, there is a map of the USA and an info sheet with a list of the fourteen Saints, the main states they lived in, and a symbol to add to the map. This page also lists the other Saints, Blesseds, Venerables, and Servants of God connected to America. Older kids could research them and add them to the map as well!

There is also a Litany of American Saints where your child can write in their favorite American patrons. The America the Beautiful Saints flag would be great to print out and display during the month as a reminder to ask for their intercession.

This resource is set up with a lot of the elements of a VBS (prayer, music, snacks, crafts) but with tons of options so it can work for a wide range of ages. I also pulled A LOT of resources- more than anyone would really use -but I wanted there to be variety and choice. All of the activities  are FREE so hopefully this project is easily accessible and shareable, even on a school or parish level.

For each Saint, there are links for:
-Prayer/Song/Bible Verse
-Short Videos
-Links for Parents or Older Siblings (to help parents feel equipped to teach their kids along the way, and to help older kids participate)

This whole plan is completely free and available for you to email out to your friends, parish, class, school, etc. I always appreciate when people include a link back to the blog so people can find more resources, but the schedule is especially designed to be easy to share as a pdf in a bulk email, school communication system, or parish bulletin. Please share! I'm always honored to be able to help, but especially now when we can't necessarily minister to our communities in the same ways we are used to. Click below to open all the resources!

First, here are the overall theme printables. (These are also linked in the shareable activity page as well.)

Click here for the American Saints Map. This helps identify the varied locations of the fourteen featured Saints across the United States, and also gives a list for further research:

Click here for the Litany of American Saints printable. You can fill in ten of your favorite holy men and women from America:

Click here for the American Flag Saints printable to display as you learn:
Click here for a Saint Bio Page if you'd like to complete a more formal study as you learn about the Saints:

Click here for the two page America the Beautiful pdf with links for the 14 Saints. This version cannot be edited, but is meant to be easy to share:

Click here for the editable version of the resources. It is a Google Slides file, so you can edit/add/remove to fit your audience. In order to make changes, you'll need to open and make a copy to edit in Google Slides or download and then edit in PowerPoint:

Click here for a Google Slides version that is perfect for a student project or classroom assignment, especially if using Google Classroom. (Note that I did not update the images in this set):

A special thank you to Shari from Catholic Paper Goods for offering a set of her stellar coloring pages for free to help round out the resources! She also has stickers, Saint trading cards, and more in her shop! Here are a few of her pages that are included in the links above:

And Kristina Markford (you might remember her super cute Emmaus Road Pegs shop) generously is sharing these awesome mini posters featuring 18 American Saints. You can find her on Instagram here.

All of those activities are free, but I also have been collecting books about these (and other American) Saints both to read myself and for my classroom. I'm still gathering titles and have some reading to do first, but hopefully I'll be able to do a Katie Reads post with some book suggestions! Feel free to drop any good titles about American Saints in the comments!