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 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.

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.

Great Books for New Readers

One of the most common questions I get from parents in the library is how to help their child learn to read.

The first answer is that reading out loud to your child early and often is the number one way to help them become a good reader. Not only do they learn many pre-reading skills by watching you read aloud, but they also very importantly learn the love of reading from you. For more early literacy tips, check out these recent blogs from Jerissa. TalkReadSingPlay

When my own son was learning to read, he started by pre-reading books like “Great Day for Up,” where he gleefully picked out every occurrence of the word “up” and read it to me as I read the story. He also loved “reading” the book “Bears on Wheels” back to me, reading the pictures and telling me the story as he went.

When he was ready to start really reading and decoding the words on the page, he started with the Bob Books from the library. These super short books with just a few words per page really helped build his confidence as well as his reading ability. He loved when he could declare that he read a whole book by himself!

I have compiled a list of great books to help get your child started on their reading journey. These books range from those with one or two words per page to some with easy sentences. I hope that these books can help start your child on their lifelong love of reading!

Building Brains by Singing 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 third 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 singing.

No musical training? No worries! It is your voice that soothes and comforts your child, describes the world to your child, lets your child know they are loved. Rest assured, your singing voice can do all of that, too. The benefits of singing and engaging your child in musical experiences extend across all domains of development, including the following:


  • Singing fosters phonological awareness, the ability to hear and manipulate units of sound.
  • It reinforces and develops vocabulary, especially if unfamiliar words are explained.


  • Singing to or with your child is a positive and nurturing interaction that strengthens your bond.
  • It can ease transitions between activities and help a less desirable activity be more fun.
  • It can calm a fussy baby or toddler (and a hardworking parent).


  • Singing and related musical activities promote the development of crucial executive functioning skills. These skills are deemed essential for school readiness and include a child’s ability to focus attention, utilize working memory, and exercise self-control. Learn how to use music and other everyday activities to foster these skills in your child from Harvard’s Center on the Developing Child.


  • Young children strengthen muscles and develop gross motor skills as they move to music.
  • Young children develop fine motor skills when they practice fingerplays (e.g., Itsy Bitsy Spider, Where Is Thumbkin, etc.).


Add more music to your family’s routine by trying one or more of the following activities:

  • Make up a lullaby for your child. Find inspiration with the endearing Carnegie Hall Lullaby Project.
  • Insert your child’s name into familiar tunes, like “Old [Mateo] Had a Farm.”
  • Share fingerplays and action rhymes with your child. Check out the library’s Fingerplay Fun videos to expand your repertoire.
  • Make a shaker, like these. Or these!
  • Make a drum set with pots, pans, food storage containers, and wooden spoons for mallets.
  • Make a playful craft microphone for you and your child, and put on a show.
  • Plan a family dance party or a family lip syncing contest.
  • Read musical books! View a handy dandy musical book list here.
  • Read nursery rhymes! View a handy dandy nursery rhyme book list here.

Enjoy singing and engaging in other musical experiences with your child! Find information and tips about the other early literacy practices here: talking, reading, and playing.

Additional Resources 

Baby Music: The Soundtrack to Your Child’s Development

A resource from UNICEF on how making music, not just listening to it, impacts child development. Includes a link to a related Mini Parenting Masterclass (5 minutes).

Beyond Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star

An article from NAEYC and Zero to Three on how music supports each domain of development and what early childhood professionals can do to enhance early learning experiences with music.

Book Recs from our Young Adult Advisory Board

Did you know that Youth Services has a special advisory board for teen services, run by the teens themselves? The Young Adult Advisory Board (YAAB) meets each month to discuss ideas for programs, teen materials, and much more! Teen members recently created a booklist of some of their favorite teen reads to share with you all.

Check out these book recommendations for you or the teens in your life. Teen reads recommended by teens for other teens. What’s better than that?

Young Adult Advisory Board Teens Recommend…

To find out more about our current Young Adult Advisory Board, head over to the Teen Lounge @ Home Blog for member profiles.The Young Adult Advisory Board (YAAB) is open to teens in grades 6 through 12. YAAB currently meets virtually on the 1st Thursday of every month at 6:30 p.m. to discuss ideas for programs, materials, activities in the Teen Lounge and ways to make the library a better place for teens. Always accepting new members: apply today!

Check Out Our Handy Guide to Great E-Reads

We love helping readers find the perfect book, and over the past year, we’ve had to get creative in how we get them into your hands. So we’ve been doing things like creating recommendation lists on Bibliocommons, which link right to our catalog listings. (Check those out here.)

But! Do you realize that, as a library customer, you also have access to our many digital media services? With these services, you can easily download or stream e-books, e-audiobooks, and other media—and many items are available on-demand. No wait lists!

To help you navigate these services, our Youth Services team has compiled a collection of our recommended e-books and e-audiobooks. You can find links to these Great E-Reads on our KIDS website, as well as details about which services offer each title. Many of them are available on-demand with no waiting list.

➜ Does your child loves mysteries? We have a list for that! Looking for picture books? We have those too! Need more books that are just like Wimpy Kid? We’ve got you covered!

Check out all of our recommended Great E-Reads, and find your next favorite book!

Pssst! If you are new to these services, we’ve made a great overview video explaining how to use Hoopla. And you can find support for all our other digital services HERE. Don’t have a library card? No problem! You can sign up here for an e-card, which will give you access to all of our digital services.

Funny Books for the Family

April Fool’s Day isn’t just about pranks; add a laugh to your day with one of these hilariously funny books!

Youth Services has compiled a list of books guaranteed to get you giggling. Laugh along with these books while developing language and a love of reading. Books on this list are for babies to teens and in-between.

Access the titles here:  Funny Books

Happy reading!

Personalized Book Bundle

Personalized Book Bundles

Personalized Book Bundle

Want some fresh reads to keep your kiddo interested and engaged in reading (and perhaps a few titles for yourself as well)? Let the knowledgeable staff at the library do the browsing for you! We will create a personalized bundle of books and other materials based upon your or your child’s interests. Staff will put up to 10 items on hold for each participating child or teen and up to five items on hold for each participating adult. You may request one new bundle each month for each participating reader. Ready to give it a try? Simply fill out this form: 


Books to Get Your Family Moving

Inspired by YMCA of the Chippewa Valley’s Strong Challenge, Youth Services has compiled a list of picture books that will get your whole family moving. Wiggle, jump, and dance along to these 25 interactive books that will help your child practice gross motor skills while developing language and content knowledge.

Why sit and read when you can MOVE and read?! Access the titles here: Books to Get Your Family Moving

Place a hold on any of the selected titles with your library card and pick them up using the Park and Pickup Service (no appointment necessary) or In-Person Library Appointments. Need help? Contact Youth Services at 715-839-5007 or e-mail

Happy active reading!

Family Literacy Month with CVTC

Now in its third year, CVTC is hosting a virtual Family Literacy Event that celebrates children’s books and the joy of reading. This event will highlight the works of Mo Willems–beloved author of Elephant and Piggie, Pigeon books, and more. You can participate by heading over to the Facebook event page. Enjoy literacy based activities, storytime, community resources, book giveaways, and more between November 1 and November 15.

We look forward to joining the fun as soon as we finish reading these great books! In the meantime, check out these Willems-inspired booklists, curated by Elephant-and-Piggie-loving Youth Services staff:
Lesser Known Books by Mo Willems–Elephant and Piggie recommend these books by Mo Willems. Pigeon thinks they’re OK. He’d rather drive a bus.
If You Like Mo Willems…These authors have numerous books that are funny, creative, and sure to please adults and children alike.
Elephant and  Piggie Read-Alikes–Enjoy these humorous and clever early readers that appeal to both adults and children.
Happy Family Literacy Month!