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Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month!

Hispanic Heritage Month runs from September 15 – October 15. Let’s celebrate by reading books by Hispanic authors and illustrators! One great way to find these great books is to check out the Pura Belpré Award. This award, established in 1996, is an annual award presented to a Latino/Latina writer and illustrator whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth.

I compiled this list of Pura Belpre award winners to help get you started. Books on this list are all award winners or honorees and range from easy to chapter to teen titles.

But who was Pura Belpré? Pura Belpré was a woman that changed the way children’s librarians work with kids. She was the first Latina children’s librarian in the New York Public Library. As a children’s librarian, storyteller, and author, she enriched the lives of Puerto Rican children in the U.S.A. through her pioneering work of preserving and disseminating Puerto Rican folklore.

In honor of the Pura Belpré award, all Chippewa Valley residents can access TeachingBooks.net which offers a searchable database of more than 1,000 online Belpré resources, including author interviews, book trailers, book discussion guides and more! Visitors to the site can hear directly from Latino/Latina authors and illustrators as they talk about and read from their books.

New stories available in the parks!

Both of the two StoryWalks® available in Eau Claire parks have recently been updated with new stories! Stop by Owen Park to explore Being a Frog by April Pulley Sayre and Carson Park to check out Is Everyone Ready for Fun? by Jan Thomas.

The walks were created in partnership with the City of Eau Claire’s Parks & Forestry Division and made possible through a COVID Recovery Grant from United Way of the Greater Chippewa Valley. StoryWalks® combine literacy with physical activity, placing large, colorful book pages at regular intervals along a walking route, encouraging users to walk (or run or skip or hop) as they read the book and/or enjoy the pictures.

Try it out with your littles! Take a pic of your family enjoying the StoryWalks® and tag @ecpubliclibrary on social media or email it to Youth Services (listed below). We may feature your photo on our website and social media pages. 

Be sure to bookmark our StoryWalks® page to find current story and location details – and to take our feedback survey!

Contact Youth Services at 715-839-5007 or ysstaff@eauclaire.lib.wi.us to learn more. The StoryWalk® Project was created by Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, Vermont and developed in collaboration with the Kellogg-Hubbard Library. Storywalk® is a registered service mark owned by Ms. Ferguson.

NEW! In-Person Storytime

Storytime Song (Tune: London Bridge)

Monday morning storytime
Owen Park, Owen Park
It’s in-person storytime
Come and join us!

That’s right, folks! In-Person storytime* returns at 10 a.m. on Mondays, July 12 – August 9 at Owen Park (1st Avenue) near the playground. Enjoy playful stories, songs, rhymes, and movement. This storytime is great for families with children ages 0-5, but the whole family is welcome. No registration required.

Safety: We ask that kids stay with their adults to help with social distancing. We’ll mark off sitting areas to help ensure enough space between groups of attendees. We highly encourage wearing masks while in large groups, even at outdoor events such as Storytime in Owen Park.

Important! If you are experiencing COVID symptoms, please stay home. If possible, consider attending our virtual Storytime.

Extra! Extra! Our BookBike will also be in Owen Park near the playground on Monday mornings (9 a.m. to noon) and our Dabble Box staff will be on hand to offer creative play and projects such as coding and robotics, water coloring, button making, and more. While you’re at it, enjoy a story while you stroll through Owen Park with our new, permanent StoryWalk®.

In-Person Storytime, BookBike, and Dabble Box activities are all weather permitting.

*Virtual storytime on Zoom will continue through July 28 on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 10 a.m.

Librarian reading book during Storytime

Storytime is back!

Our Youth Services librarians are back online, bringing families stories, songs, and storytime magic to foster of a love of reading and promote the development of early literacy skills.

From June 7 – July 28, we will offer interactive storytime on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays at 10 a.m. on either Facebook Live (Mondays; no registration required) or Zoom (Tuesdays and Wednesdays; registration required). Find all the details here: https://www.ecpubliclibrary.info/kids/storytime-online/

Check out a summer Storytime Kit! Packed with activity scarves, music makers, bubbles, song and rhyme sheets, and other items, our Baby/Toddler Storytime Kits and Family Storytime Kits are designed to enhance your storytime experience and provide continuous opportunities for early literacy fun at home. It is not necessary to have a Storytime Kit to participate, but it does up the fun factor! Pick up a kit at the Youth Services desk starting Tuesday, June 1, while supplies last.

New this summer! We are thrilled to partner with Family Resource Center to offer “Practical Parenting” facilitated discussions after Baby/Toddler storytime on Tuesdays. A parent educator will present a brief parenting topic and lead an interactive discussion. Come meet other parents, discuss common parenting issues, and get your questions answered.

If you have any questions, please contact Youth Services at 715-839-5007 or ysstaff@eauclaire.lib.wi.us.

Dabble Box Joins the BookBike for Summer Fun!


This summer, the library’s BookBike will join forces with our Dabble Box makerspace to visit area parks and help locals connect with library services and materials.

The library’s Dabble Box room—a DIY makerspace offering educational STEAM projects and equipment—is on hiatus while the library is using its temporary location. However, Dabble Box staff will be venturing outdoors this summer to offer creative play and projects through a rotating selection of activities such as coding and robotics, water coloring, button making, and more.

Weather permitting, beginning June 1, the BookBike and the Dabble Box will be in Owen Park on Mondays, 9 a.m.–noon; and in Carson Park on Wednesdays, 9 a.m.–noon.

Two New Permanent StoryWalks®!

The library’s Youth Services team is delighted to announce the installation of two all-new, permanent StoryWalks® in Eau Claire. The walks were created in partnership with the City of Eau Claire’s Parks & Forestry Division and made possible through a COVID Recovery Grant from United Way of the Greater Chippewa Valley.

StoryWalks® combine literacy with physical activity, placing large, colorful book pages at regular intervals along a walking route, encouraging users to walk (or run or skip or hop) as they read the book and/or enjoy the pictures.

Andy Neborak, Executive Director of the United Way of the Greater Chippewa Valley, says, “We’re honored to support this project. The StoryWalk® project advances the development and learning of children and also supports the mental and physical well-being of these children and their families. These were all primary goals of our recovery grant process. After a long year, people are eager to get outside and enjoy a wonderful Wisconsin summer.”

Open now, locals will find the walks in Owen Park and Carson Park. The Carson Park walk is located around the main playground. The Owen Park walk can be found along the Chippewa Valley State Trail, starting near the playground. Each park features a different story, which will be switched out on a regular basis.

Extra, extra! The library’s popular BookBike and Dabble Box team will be visiting the StoryWalks® this summer so you can check out books, sign up for a library card, register for the Summer Library Program, grab a take and make bag, ask reference questions, and more. Beginning June 1, the BookBike and the Dabble Box will be in Owen Park on Mondays, 9 a.m.–noon; and in Carson Park on Wednesdays, 9 a.m.–noon, weather permitting. Learn more about the BookBike here.

Try it out with your littles! Take a pic of your family enjoying the StoryWalks® and tag @ecpubliclibrary on social media or email it to Youth Services (listed below). We may feature your photo on our website and social media pages.

Contact Youth Services at 715-839-5007 or ysstaff@eauclaire.lib.wi.us to learn more. The StoryWalk® Project was created by Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, Vermont and developed in collaboration with the Kellogg-Hubbard Library. Storywalk® is a registered service mark owned by Ms. Ferguson.

Meet the Parenting Collection

Parents and caregivers, let me introduce you to Youth Services’ new(ish) parenting collection!

Launched at the end of 2019, this collection contains materials for both children and adults on a range of family topics. You’ll find picture books for children about welcoming a new baby, potty training, adoption, divorce, and managing emotions. You’ll also find informational books for parents and caregivers of children ages 0-8 that focus on four main categories:

Click on the links above to see book suggestions in each of those categories.

Browse the whole parenting collection online, or visit the library in person during our appointment-free library service hours. Find our current schedule here.

Building Brains by Playing with Your Children

Parents, did you realize that children develop essential skills that help them learn how to read long before formal reading instruction begins? These are called early literacy skills, and they include vocabulary, print motivation, phonological awareness, print awareness, letter knowledge, and narrative skills.

How do children gain these skills, exactly? The answer is simple. Through everyday nurturing interactions with you! When you talk, read, sing, and play with your children, you are helping them build these foundational skills, and you’re strengthening your bond with your child in the process. Win, win!

*This is the fourth post in a series of blogs about utilizing the early literacy practices (talk, read, sing, play) to foster your child’s development. This entry focuses on the practice of playing.

“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning.” –Fred Rogers

Research has consistently shown the positive impacts of play on child development. Through play, children practice and develop social skills, language skills, cognitive skills, and motor skills.

Play takes many forms and evolves throughout a child’s early years. Exploring their surroundings, building with blocks, creating art or music, dancing, and pretending are just a handful of the myriad ways in which young children play.

If you’re like the average parent, time and energy are precious commodities. Rest assured that setting aside just a few minutes a day to play with your child will strengthen your relationship and yield benefits that extend far beyond the years they’re interested in pretending you’re a dinosaur.

Make the most of playtime with these tips:

  • Let your child take the lead.
  • Make observations (“You built a structure with 7 blocks.”).
  • Ask open-ended questions (“What are you making?”).
  • Pose challenges (“I wonder what would happen if…”).
  • Focus your praise on their effort, rather than the outcome. This is key to developing a growth mindset.
  • Set up invitations to play by arranging a few enticing materials in a play space for your child to discover.
  • Add variety. Take it outside, add movement, create art, make a sensory bin, read a book and pretend to be the characters afterward, etc.

Want some fresh ideas for playful activities to enjoy with your young child? Check out this list of books from our parenting collection that will inspire YOU to ask your child, “Wanna play with me?”

Storytime OnDemand with Miss Kelly

It is fun to tell a story, but did you know that you can tell a picture, too? Join Ms. Kelly for Monkey’s Picture, a silly story about a monkey who makes a gift for his mama.

The Animal Antics full storytime line-up includes:

  • Monkey’s Picture
  • Roly Poly
  • Put Your Hands Up High
  • Tiny Tim
  • Going to Kentucky

When you are done quacking like a duck and swimming like a turtle, be sure to check out our other Storytime OnDemand and Fingerplay Fun videos!

STEAM Resources

If you’re looking for some fun and interactive experiments to introduce, expand, or enhance your kids’ knowledge in the areas of STEAM (or if you’re simply looking for a fun afternoon project!), check out the links below for a wide variety of STEAM-related e-books through Hoopla.  There are activity books for young children through teen to support Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math. E-materials may be checked out from Hoopla with your Eau Claire library card.

Quick Links