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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Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Teaching with Fulton Sheen Curriculum- Over 200 Pages of content, all free!

If you've been around my blog for long, you know that Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen and I are old friends. He and I grew up in the same Diocese and he's now entombed in the Cathedral just across town from my school. When I was in college, reading one of Sheen's books was the reason I finally began to understand and believe Mary's role in the Church- and then started to get to know him as a "local" celebrity. When my dear friends' son was miraculously healed (Vatican approved miracle!) through Fulton Sheen's intercession, I knew that I needed to share his life with my students in the classroom. 

That was almost ten years ago, and I can now credit Fulton Sheen as being one of the greatest influences on my work as a teacher and catechist. His deep prayer, his warm humor, his evangelical use of technology, and the way he could connect the seemingly everyday with the loftiness of Heaven- these all inspire me to be a better teacher and a better follower of Christ. The first year I taught about him in my classroom (and with him) was a powerful and memorable experience. At the end of the school year, I collected the resources I had created and shared them here and within my diocese. Since then, much more has been added to the collection, being used with different grade levels of kids, in CCD classes, youth groups, whole family activity days, and more.

While I have created many more resources about Fulton Sheen and the things that he taught... I haven't been as great about sharing and keeping them organized here on the blog. So without further ado, I'm happy to present the 3rd Edition of Teaching with Fulton Sheen!

With over 200 pages of resources, printables, and ideas, this collection has applications in homes and classrooms with kids of all ages. It's not just for those who want to dive into a study of Fulton Sheen- it's more about using his wisdom and words to present the truths of our faith. These tools are things that can reinforce the content that you already plan to cover, or could be pulled from for a fun mini unit or project.

Some major topics covered:
-Biographical info about Sheen
-Resources for teaching about the Canonization Process, heroic virtues, etc. as well as non fiction sources on Sheen's Cause for Canonization
-Topics that were especially important to Sheen- devotion to Mary, commitment to Adoration, the World Mission Rosary, Spiritual Adoption, etc.
-Tools to help with using outside resources in the classroom, like newspaper articles, 61 Minutes to Miracle, Word on Fire's Pivotal Players Documentary, and the Servant of All Documentary
-Projects for universal Catholic topics, including all seven Sacraments, prayer, Mary, the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy, virtue, and more
-The resources cover a variety of skills and ability levels, from simple things like coloring pages to more complex writing prompts to non fiction research, making it useable across grade levels
-And much more!

This curriculum is NOT intended to be taught cover to cover- even I only use pieces of it in my classroom each year. It's more a collection of resources that can be pulled from to support a wide array of Catholic topics while also inspiring students with the life of Fulton Sheen and the message that they are also called to be SAINTS!

Someday soon hopefully I'll get the individual activities posted and my Fulton Sheen tab updated, but until then, I hope you download, use, and share this resource.

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, pray for us!

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Resources for the Year of St. Joseph

Happy Year of St. Joseph! St. Joseph has long been a favorite of mine (how can he not be?), and I was so excited to hear about the Year of St. Joseph which is being celebrated from Dec. 8, 2020-December 8, 2021. You can read Pope Francis' Apostolic Letter here and more details from the Vatican here.

I'm sure that March will be filled with focus on St. Joseph especially with his feast day on March 19th, but I've been thinking that filling these quieter days of Ordinary Time with St. Joseph might not be a bad idea. Following the lead of St. Joseph, we can ask him to teach us how to follow Jesus with abandon, giving Him all that we are. St. Joseph, whose heart was united with the hearts of Jesus and Mary, can guide us in growing in holiness personally, as a family, as a nation, and as a Church. I hope to create more new resources to help learn and pray with and celebrate Joseph this year, but I also have quite a bit in the archives I thought I'd share with you now. Scroll through for a couple of new resources and links to some of my old favorites. St. Joseph, pray for us!

You know block carving is my new favorite hobby, and I've been making some new prints in honor of the Year of St. Joseph. Click here for a 5x7" print of these St. Joseph symbols:

I've got a few more ideas for the Litany of St. Joseph in the works, but for now, here's a printable of the Litany to hang on your fridge or add to a journal. These titles of St. Joseph are so powerful and praying with them has helped me understand not only St. Joseph, but also his role in the Holy Family and for the whole Church.

Here's a activity guide for learning about St. Joseph, perfect to send home to the families at your parish or school. It features four weeks of recommended prayers, a Bible story about St. Joseph with reflection questions, printable activities, and extra projects and ideas for parents- all in clickable links to free resources.

 Click here for a printable card with the Pure Heart of St. Joseph and the Memorare to St. Joseph, as well as an explanation of the symbols on the Pure Heart of St. Joseph.

St. John the XXIII wrote this beautiful prayer for fathers, and you can use it with these prayer cards:

Click here for a digital version of the Litany of St. Joseph that is easy to pray in a group- set it to full screen either on your computer, TV, or smartboard:

Click here for a fun five question scavenger hunt in Google forms. It will make a copy for you, so you can edit it to fit the needs of your kids/students.

Easy St. Joseph Shrines You could make these shrines as simply or as detailed as you like using a favorite coloring page or St. Joseph or have your kids draw their own!

Holy Family Coloring Page

A few years ago while visiting the Philippines, Pope Francis wove his love for St. Joseph into an address on prayer and family.  Specifically, he spoke about a statue he has on his desk of the Sleeping St. Joseph.  From the Gospels, we know that St. Joseph listened to God in his dreams and then rose to act on His will.  Pope Francis shared with his audience that he asks St. Joseph to pray for his intentions by writing them down and slipping the paper under the statue of St. Joseph.

This sweet devotion has been spreading slowly across the world.  A dear friend was the first to introduce it to me, and I just love this new connection with one of my very favorite Saints.  How comforting to think of St. Joseph caring for the Church, for us and our concerns, while resting in God.  Go check out this post for all kinds of ideas and activities about the devotion to the Sleeping St. Joseph.

Perfect for the month of the Holy Family (February) or to use for Valentine Cards!
If you  would like to pray the St. Joseph novena you could use this color-a-novena printable.  There's one lily to color in for each day you pray.  You can begin this novena any time (or leading up the feasts on March 19th and May 1st) and for any length to increase your devotion to St. Joseph and ask his powerful intercession.

This quote from St. John Paul II has long been one of my favorites, and I lettered it as a reminder to pray for the work of the leaders in our lives and homes.
"St. Joseph was a just man, a tireless worker, the upright guardian of those entrusted to his care.  May he always guard, protect, and enlighten families." ~St. John Paul II

St. Joseph Holy Saturday Coloring Page
Click here for some resources for Holy Saturday and a couple of printables with a line about St. Joseph from a favorite poem:

St. Joseph Memorare Prayer Cards
Similar in wording to the original Memorare, this one asks for the intercession of St. Joseph.

Good St. Joseph, Pray for Us!

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Preorder Bonuses for "Through the Year with Jesus"!

***UPDATE 2/7/21- Since the book is now available, I'm "closing" the preorder bonuses and have contacted the winner of the free workshop. However, you can still access the printables as tools to use alongside the book here!

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.  (***Update- for entries to be considered for the free workshop giveaway, they must be entered by 2/6/21!)

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! (***Update- for entries to be considered for the free workshop giveaway, they must be entered by 2/6/21!)