Hands-On Faith with OSV Kids Magazine and Editor Lindsey Riesen

In today’s episode, I speak with OSV Kids’ Presentation Editor, Lindsey Riesen. You’ll hear about:

  • A (bookish!) tradition to celebrate the ENTIRE Christmas Season
  • Writing question answered: Do I need an agent?
  • How the OSV Kids Magazine came to be
  • How to help kids get hands-on with their faith
  • How OSV Kids can help busy parents
  • Inspiration for the magazine
  • And more!

**Sorry about the sound quality; my mic glitched during the interview. Doh!**

Book Shopping Time!

I love shopping for books right now. This is my favorite book buying season, coming into Christmas. I love picking out books for people, especially for the children in my life and giving those at Christmas time. Books are my favorite gift to give. So right now I have a massive order of books from Our Sunday Visitor coming up.

They are the publisher of my upcoming book, Arthur the Clumsy Altar Server coming out in spring of 2022, I’m very excited. And for this order, I’ll be ordering a few books I’ve been eyeing for a long time. One of those is Saintly Rhymes for Modern Times, and then the new book God the Father and the Best Day Ever, it looks really good. And The Mass Book for Children.

And so while I am putting this order together, I would love to hear from you. What are your favorite Our Sunday Visitor books? I would love to hear your recommendations. Send me, you know, an email or put something in the comments because I would love to hear your favorite books.

New Christmas Season (Book!) Tradition

Last Christmas, we started a new tradition in our house for giving books. Most people who are not Catholic end Christmas on midnight of December 25th. But books are actually a great way to keep celebrating the Christmas season all the way to Epiphany. So what we did is we wrapped one Christmas-themed book or DVD for each day of Christmas, not Advent, where you have the Advent calendar and the Jesse tree. This is for the Christmas season. So we wrapped one Christmas-themed book for each day of the Christmas season in special paper. So it was clear: that is not what we were going to open on Christmas day. Everything in that paper would be saved. And we numbered the wrapping paper.

So one all the way up to the number of days of Christmas. So on the Christmas day we opened #1 and that had the first book that we’re going to read together as a family to celebrate the Christmas season. So some of those were books we already owned, some were library books, and some are new books.

You can always take library books back after you and wrap them and read them. And if you’re worried about due dates and just put the library books on the first few days of Christmas and you’ll unwrap them and then can return them. So this was a really fun way to take time to celebrate Christmas throughout the entire season and to spread the excitement of unwrapping packages for multiple days.

So if you’re looking for some Christmas ideas, keep that in mind. It was really fun for us. It’s also a great time during Advent and Christmas to introduce the idea of the liturgical colors and what they mean to children. This is the official start of the liturgical year during Advent, and the colors are changing fast for the first several weeks.

You know, you have purple, excuse me, violet, technically violet and rose during Advent, then you have white during Christmas. And then you switch to Ordinary Time after Christmas. So it’s a lot of changing of the colors, but what do they actually mean? And how does it relate to your relationship with God?

This is a great time to introduce that. My board book, Liturgical Colors published with Holy Heroes explains the meaning of the liturgical colors in the context of God’s love for the child. It is a cozy read for parents with little ones, perfect for bringing to church or wrapping and placing under the Christmas tree.

And it makes a wonderful gift for a niece, nephew, or a grandchild. You can find A Little Catholic’s Book of Liturgical Colors at my website, TheresaKiser.com or at the publisher’s website, Holyheroes.net

Today’s Writing Question: Do I need an agent?

Today’s writing question is: do I need an agent? So for Catholic books, for the Catholic market, you generally don’t need an agent.

If you are submitting to specifically Catholic publishers, you don’t need an agent. If you are writing for the broader Christian or general market, then you will most likely need an agent to submit to some of the larger publishing houses. Either way, you definitely need to know what you’re doing. If you submit a query, you need to know how to write a professional query, how much to include in your query, how often you can submit and so on, you will also want to study the publishers to figure out who will be the best fit for your books, so you have better chances of getting a match. 

There are so many resources to help you figure out all these things. I particularly like the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. It has been a great help to me. And also for a Catholic approach, we have the Catholic Kidlit Writers Club, which is the whole point of starting it so that we can talk specifically about Catholic books, no matter which market they’re for, and how to write them, make them excellent, and get them into children’s hands.

So for more personal guidance on your writing? I do offer book coaching through my website, Theresa Kiser.com. And I will answer a question on writing and publishing every podcast, I’ll include a question going forward. So for now let’s head over to our interview with Our Sunday Visitor, all about their magazine for kids!

Interview with OSV’s Lindsey Riesen

Welcome to the Catholic Kidlit podcast. This is Theresa Kiser here with Lindsey Riesen who is the Presentation Editor of the OSV Kids magazine. Lindsey is here today to talk with me about the OSV Kids magazine, which is new this year.

Lindsey Riesen: Yes. Thanks so much for having me on. 

Theresa Kiser: Oh, absolutely. I’m so excited.

So tell us a little bit about this new magazine who it’s for. Because not everybody knows about it yet. And I hope that everybody can learn about it because it’s such a fun offering for kids. 

Lindsey Riesen: Yeah, sure. So OSV Kids magazine was launched back in January of this year and we’ve spent a long time researching what people wanted and coming up with the design and the format.

So it’s been a long time in the making but we’re coming up on our first full year of issues and it’s been received really great. People really like it. The magazine is primarily for kids ages two to six, and we’re envisioning it as something that comes in the mail that’s addressed to the kid.

They can get really excited about it and then they could consume it with their family. So we really want it to be a hands-on parents, families reading it together. And we know that some kids on the spectrum of our age group will be able to read it themselves, but we really want that to be consumed as a family.

For Families with Multiple Children

Theresa Kiser: Well, that’s great. I was going to ask that if a family has multiple children, what do you recommend? 

Lindsey Riesen: Yes. Yeah, we do have some families that have multiple subscriptions but it definitely can be used together. 

The only thing that we do have in there is a craft and you can print extra copies of that online, so that should help with any sibling quarrels that might occur when they get the magazine.

Theresa Kiser: That’s awesome. I didn’t even know that. So I’ve been a subscriber throughout the year. And one of the things I really love is the craft, which like is kind of a heavier paper so that it will hold up after the kids make it. But I didn’t know that you could find an extra printable copy online.

Where would parents go to print? 

Lindsey Riesen: Sure. There’s some right in the magazine, it tells you the website that you can visit. And then there’s just a code that you enter as a subscriber. So it’s actually on our Teaching Catholic Kids website right now. And it’s a Bitly/TCK activity and the password is kidsmore.

Self-Contained Magazine (No prep!)

We wanted the magazine to be self-contained. We didn’t want a lot of extra steps for families. So that’s why we have that insert card with the heavier paper because you can just tear it out and do it right then and there. 

I’m not a huge fan of crafts because I have three little boys and it’s like, things just explode and it’s a huge mess.

So Jenna has worked her crafts work perfectly because all you need is a scissors, some glue, some crayons…stuff you’re already going to have on hand. And then it’s just easy to clean up. Working with Jenna has been fantastic. She has so many ideas and I think they just fit so perfectly in the magazine for this age group for people.

Yeah. So Jenna Heinz you can find her online at Lazy Liturgical and she has so many great crafts for kids. Just simple, simple ideas that for basically, you know, you pick a feast day or a Saint and she’s got an activity for it. So yeah. I encourage you guys to check her out on Instagram, just Lazy Liturgical.

So it’s been great working with her. 

Theresa Kiser: These are great tips and resources in addition to this magazine. So each issue, it comes once a month. 

Lindsey Riesen: Yes. 

Theresa Kiser: Inside, there’s a theme. So this October was the Rosary and this December is the Light of Christ. So besides the craft, what can families expect? It’s addressed to their child, the child gets it in the mail, opens it up… What will they see and what can the family do together with the magazine? 

Activities for Kids

Lindsey Riesen: Sure. So one of the things we’ve worked really hard to try and do is provide some simple “activity” is not really the right word, maybe “game.” 

Things like Can You Find or Spot the Difference–stuff that you would see in maybe like the Highlights magazine 

Yeah, I think people will notice, like, that’s definitely an inspiration for this…a faith-based Highlights.

But we worked hard to provide, you know, two to three of those kinds of activities in each issue. And then we also. I thought it was important to include “In the Bible” section. So typically this is based off of one of the Gospels of the month and something that would be relevant to kids or easy for them to apply to their lives. 

Learning the Saints

Theresa Kiser: I like that Scripture tie-in. And the Scripture, the craft, there’s a Saint section… is there always the Saint section? 

Lindsey Riesen: Yeah. So every month we’ve got a Saint story and actually for next year, we’re going to mix that up a little bit and we’re going to be working with Megan Bausch, who, if you don’t know wrote a book called Saintly Rhymes for OSV Kids’ book line. And it’s just, they’re just really fun, catchy rhymes about saints that just give you a little taste of the saint’s life, but are fun. A fun prose to read to your kids. 

So we’re working with her next year. So the Saint story won’t be quite as long. It’ll just be these rhymes. And some of the rhymes will be from her first book and some will be from her new book that will be coming out in 2023. So it’s just another wonderful partnership. You know, the book has been so well received. We’re so excited that she’s going to be in the magazine.

And again, it just hits our age group perfectly. Just cute little rhymes. You don’t have to slug through a Saint bio because little kids don’t have the attention span for that, but the rhymes are just perfect. So, that’s what we’ll be doing starting next January. 

“Can You Spot?”

And then another favorite section people love is the Can You Spot, which is a beautiful illustration. That’s usually original artwork that we commission and we have a list of things to find in the artwork and we try to make sure the things that you find are relevant to whatever we’re talking about. So for December it’s a manger scene.

So, you know: find baby Jesus, find Mary find Joseph, find the angels… So it’s just a really nice addition in the magazine. 

Theresa Kiser: I really liked that part as well. And and the book that you mentioned Saintly Rhymes for Modern Times is a book that I’ve heard so much about. And I have it in my cart now.

So I’m really looking forward to reading that. It’s one that has been on my list for a while.

 It’s also great to have rhymes because sometimes that can stick with Some people feel different ways about reading books that rhyme. But I love a well-written rhyme that’s good for your soul and good for your heart because it can just stay with you for so long. 

So, so that’s great. I mean, this magazine is jam-packed. There are also little call-out boxes with various definitions of things and little facts that relate to the month.

Reader Feedback

It’s all really well thought out and I used to love getting the highlights magazine. I think I would’ve been super stoked to get this. So what, what kind of feedback? You said you’re getting positive feedback. What are people saying about the magazine? What did their kids what speaks to their kids most? 

Lindsey Riesen: Yeah, we, we did a big reader survey and we had a lot of response. And people pretty much loved it. A couple of things here and there that we’re gonna tweak for next year, but the games and the Can You Find are obviously really high on the list. 

You know, I think having that beautiful piece of artwork that kids can really sit there and look at for a while. You know, they just gravitate towards that. And then it’s a fun game on top of that, where they have to search and find things. It’s just like a win-win. 

They also love the craft. I mean, the craft is just blown everybody out of the water, so it’s just, it’s great.

Yeah. People love the artwork. 

Oh, we also have the saint card, which I forgot to mention, which tears out and it’s sort of a collectible that you could keep around. And I’m hoping that eventually we’ll be able to offer the collection of the year for sale so you could buy additional cards.

They’d be on a little heavier card stock. So you can keep around and almost like trading cards. 

Theresa Kiser: That’s a great idea. And it’s already on heavy paper. It’s on the same heavier weight paper as the craft. And I can see, if you really wanted to keep it, you could laminate it like other Saint cards are laminated. 

Reasonable Price

That’s exciting. So the price is reasonable for this magazine, which I really appreciate. And next year there are some other changes too. So we’ll be getting more in the magazine. Can you tell us a little bit about that? 

Lindsey Riesen: Yeah. So the magazine is only $19.95 for the year.

So that’s 12 issues. And we’re actually going from 20 pages, which it is currently, to 24 pages. And it’s going to have all the same great content and we’ll have the activity, the craft, the saint card, multiple game activities… 

And then we’re also bringing back, which if you were a subscriber at the very beginning, we had included a calendar of the year as an overview to help parents wrap their mind around what’s going on that month.

And we’re bringing that back in. We’ll have the month laid out for you. And then we’ll also collaborate with Nancy from Catholic Sprouts and she’s going to provide some hands-on ways to celebrate the faith that month. So for January, for instance, you know, talk about your Baptism, bring out the photos, bring out your candle and just have a concrete way to explore the faith with your kids.

What else should parents know?

Theresa Kiser: Is there anything else that you want parents to know about this magazine and about what their kids can gain from OSV Kids magazine? 

Lindsey Riesen: Yeah, I think it’s just important that in today’s world, parents are busy…The whole magazine started because I was thinking about my own kids and how excited they got getting other magazines.

And, you know, there really wasn’t anything else like OSV Kids magazine out there; there’s nothing like truly Catholic that they could get. 

And this is presented in a fun, casual way. You know, it’s not a textbook. It’s not necessarily curriculum. I mean, it’s based off the Catechism and it’s very, very faithful to the church, but it’s, it’s fun and it’s modern art. It has illustration styles that they might see elsewhere here. Now they’re seeing it in a Catholic- based publication. 

So I want parents to know that it’s inexpensive, it’s easy, it’s a beautiful, and your kids will love it. 

Theresa Kiser: Thank you so much, Lindsey.

I’m really glad that OSV Kids is making this magazine and offering it. It is unlike anything else that’s out there and it provides so much variety and connection for the kids with the liturgical year. So thank you so much for sharing about the magazine with us today. 

More in the Catholic Kidlit Writers Club

We are going to continue speaking with Lindsey about the magazine over in the Catholic Kidlit Writers Club.

This magazine does not take submissions, as you can probably tell from our conversation. So far, OSV has connections with various authors and illustrators that they reach out to. But we are going to talk about the difference between writing for a magazine versus writing for a book and, and hear the publisher’s inside-look into how they source all this material for the magazine. 

And so if that’s something that is interesting to you, come and join us over in the Catholic Kidlit Writers Club. And for now, I just want to say a huge thank you to Lindsey for joining us here. And thank you to all of our listeners!

What are your favorite OSV children’s books? Have you read the OSV Kids magazine yet?

Let me know in the comments!

Theresa Kiser

I’m Theresa Kiser, speaker and award-winning children’s book author of the picture books Arthur the Clumsy Altar Server (OSV, Coming Spring 2022), Seven Gifts of Baptism (Holy Heroes, coming 2022), and Liturgical Colors (Holy Heroes, 2019), as well as the fantasy adventure series The Manakor Chronicles. Find more about my books at theresakiser.com and engage with me to write better Catholic kidlit in the Catholic Kidlit Writers Club!

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