New Childrens Book: Be A Healthy You! In Dubuque


Jeff Danna
Communications Manager

For immediate release

DUBUQUE, Iowa — The children in the new book Be a Healthy You! In Dubuque hike through the Mines of Spain, play at the Miracle League park, and read at the Carnegie-Stout Public Library. They make friends in school, help neighbors and support one another when they are feeling down.

In 13 colorful pages, Be a Healthy You! In Dubuque depicts an array of activities, emotions and situations that local children can relate to, emphasizing the point that the community offers many opportunities for positive physical, cognitive and social-emotional development. The book, published this month and available locally and online, is a collaboration among the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque’s Every Child Reads initiative, Dubuque County Early Childhood, Mental Health/Disability Services of the East Central Region and Homb Therapy.

“Academic success and positive childhood development go hand in hand, so what better way to support children in all areas of their lives than with an engaging book about the place where they live?” says Cynthia Wehrenberg, the Community Foundation’s youth impact coordinator. She co-authored the book with local family therapist Julie Homb, LMHC, and Abigail Degenhardt, director of Dubuque County Early Childhood.

Through the story written by the authors and the cheerful illustrations by Ames artist Tim Reed, Be a Healthy You! In Dubuque highlights opportunities to support a healthy body, healthy brain and healthy heart.

“In Dubuque, you can ask for help!” reads one passage. “You can ask a trusted grown-up to tie your shoe. You can ask a police officer to help you cross the street, or, ask a teacher to help you read a book.”

Every facet of the book is designed to be inclusive of children from many different backgrounds, from the diverse people depicted to the typeface, OpenDyslexic, which helps mitigate common reading errors caused by dyslexia. Throughout the book, “Bright Ideas” at the bottom of each page offer tips for adults to help children connect the story with situations in their lives.

Copies of the book are being distributed to every kindergarten student in the Dubuque Community School District and Holy Family Schools.

“Every Child Reads focuses on improving reading proficiency by third grade, which is a key predictor of high school graduation,” Wehrenberg says. “One way we do this is by ensuring all children and families have access to books. With the distribution of Be a Healthy You! In Dubuque and other community wide efforts, we’ve distributed nearly 6,000 books this year, far surpassing our goal of 2,021.”

How to purchase

Be a Healthy You! In Dubuque is available for purchase in hardcover at River Lights Bookstore and softcover through Kendall Hunt Publishing’s website. For bulk orders, please email Cynthia Wehrenberg at A companion coloring book is available, as well. All proceeds from book sales will go back into Every Child Reads’ book distribution program.

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About Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque
The Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque envisions a vibrant and inclusive Dubuque region where everyone can thrive. Since 2002, we have inspired people to give back to their community, and we turn this generosity into lasting change across our region, increasing access to resources and opportunities that help all people succeed. Visit to learn about the many ways we are building a strong, thriving Greater Dubuque for all.