Call Me Penny Pickleberry

A Story to Help Kids Manage Worries

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Pub Date 06 Sep 2022 | Archive Date 04 Sep 2022
Girl Friday Productions, Bird Upstairs Books

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Description

And that’s when it started . . . the inside-out squeezing, pulsing, whirly feeling in Penelope’s belly. 

Meet Penelope Pickleberry, first-grader extraordinaire. Penelope can do lots of things, like pack her own snack and tie her shoelaces in under thirty seconds. But Penelope has one huge problem—Nelly, the negative voice in her head that tells her about bad things that might happen. 

At the final game of the soccer season, Nelly’s I-just-can’t message is getting louder. Luckily, Penelope also has Penny, the positive, confidence-boosting voice inside her that tells her to be brave and persevere. Will Nelly win the battle? Or will Penny’s words of encouragement prove more powerful? 

This fun and relatable picture book helps kids manage childhood anxiety by learning to quiet their negative self-talk and listen to their own Penny, the inner voice that fills them with the courage to conquer everyday obstacles. 

Includes “A Guide for Shushing Your Nelly”—practical tips to help children overcome anxious thoughts.

 

And that’s when it started . . . the inside-out squeezing, pulsing, whirly feeling in Penelope’s belly. 

Meet Penelope Pickleberry, first-grader extraordinaire. Penelope can do lots of things, like...


A Note From the Publisher

Meghan Grana has been an advocate for students and families across the United States for nearly two decades. She holds a master's degree in speech language and hearing science and has served students with a broad range of communication issues, including learning disabilities, autism, cognitive impairments, language disabilities, and social-emotional disorders.

Recognizing that the greatest factor in overall student achievement is social-emotional wellness, Grana became certified as a Pupil Personnel Worker (PPW) in Maryland in 2018. As a PPW, she works in Student and Family Support and Engagement at one of the largest school districts in the country, serving thousands of families just north of Washington, D.C. She partners with families, students, and school-based staff in the areas of attendance and engagement, access to community resources, mental health, discipline and behavior, homelessness, and crisis support.

Meghan Grana has been an advocate for students and families across the United States for nearly two decades. She holds a master's degree in speech language and hearing science and has served...


Advance Praise

"Call Me Penny Pickleberry is a gift for any child struggling with anxiety. Grana’s sensitive and charming story empowers children to become their own cheerleaders. And the inclusion of simple practices for reorienting negative thoughts and supporting self-confidence is invaluable. A must-have book for school libraries!"
—Kitty O’Meara, author of And the People Stayed Home and The Rare, Tiny Flower 

“Call Me Penny Pickleberry is an intentionally written story that provides context and explanation at a developmentally appropriate level of how some children experience anxiety. As a person who has experienced anxiety for their entire life, this would have been an extremely helpful tool to explain what was going on. By breaking down Penelope’s inner monologue into two voices (positive and negative), author Meghan Grana reinforces the idea that we are not our anxiety.” —Corrie-Locke Hardy, The Tiny Activist 

"Call Me Penny Pickleberry is a gift for any child struggling with anxiety. Grana’s sensitive and charming story empowers children to become their own cheerleaders. And the inclusion of simple...


Marketing Plan

Prepublication buzz campaign

Digital galley distribution on Edelweiss and NetGalley

Trade advertising

Target outreach to blogs and websites

Listing and pricing promotions run through Bird Upstairs’ Aerio store

Social media posts to support pre-order, book launch, and book reviews

Prepublication buzz campaign

Digital galley distribution on Edelweiss and NetGalley

Trade advertising

Target outreach to blogs and websites

Listing and pricing promotions run through Bird Upstairs’ Aerio...


Available Editions

EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9781954854581
PRICE $17.95 (USD)

Available on NetGalley

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Average rating from 18 members


Featured Reviews

Call Me Penny Pickleberry uses engaging illustrations and a simple, yet exciting story to introduce young children to emotions- specifically to anxiety. The two voices in first-grader Penelope Pickleberry’s head follower her around her days’ activities: one voice is the condemning voice of anxiety, and one voice is hopeful and encouraging. This book helps children see how they can choose which voice to listen to- and provides them with helpful tools to deal with anxiety.

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Call Me Penny Pickleberry is a classroom must have! It offers children a way to name that inner negative "Nelly" that never wants to leave but reminding you to take a deep breath and put one foot in front of the other. Social Emotional Learning is more important than ever and both Miss Pickleberry and Grana explore anxiety and those everyday worries that we all fear in a way that young people can connect to and grow from in such a refreshing way, hopefully with a donut in hand!

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This is a story about a young child overcoming the anxious voice in her head by listening to her more positive voice. This is a great message for all kids to hear. I think my pre-school-aged kiddo might be a touch to young for this because she wasn't really understanding the concept of inner voices, and I'm actually a little worried the story created things for her to worry about that she might not have been worried about before. Maybe be more appropriate for 6+ or so.

Thank you to Bird Upstairs Books and NetGalley for the opportunity to access this free e-arc in exchange for an honest review.

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What an amazing story! Penelope struggles with anxiety, a problem that is plaguing more and more students due to circumstances beyond their control. Penelope learns to overcome her anxiety with the help of Penny and by the end of the story thinks less and less about Nelly. This is a story that can be share with many different grade levels and will generate conversations in the classroom that will help all students. The pictures are bright and colorful which adds to the storyline.

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This beautiful picture book tells the story of Penelope, a grade 1 student who is constantly fighting with Nelly, the negative voice in Penelope's head that warns her about all of the bad things that might happen. Luckily for Penelope, she also has Penny, a positive voice in her head who reminds her that she can do big, scary things. The story shows the conflict between Penny and Nelly as they both fight to try to convince Penelope of what choices she should make. I think this story demonstrates, in a way that young people will understand, that people have worries and that it takes a lot of work to deal with them or ignore them and to remind yourself of the positive affirmations. The book also shows strategies like deep breathing, five minutes of worry, both in the story as well as in a list with clear descriptions at the end of the book. I could also see using the nelly and penny characters as part of my mental health lessons, and would encourage my students to find names for their voices in their heads.

My only wish is that the author did not specify which grade Penny was in. I think that the first grade comment was not needed and if it hadn't been mentioned readers would easily assume that she was somewhere between grade 1-5, but by specifying her grade, older students who might find this book very helpful and relatable might be scared off by it being written about (for) little kids. As a grade 3/4 teacher I could definitely see many of students relating to this concept and wanting to learn how to combat these feelings, thus gravitating towards this book in my classroom library or as part of home reading to share with families. The text is probably at approximately a grade 3 reading level, with about 1-2 multisentence paragraphs per page. I would recommend this book to teachers and families of children in the age 4-10 range. I so appreciate Netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book!

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What an amazing book! As an early childhood educator who has worked with countless young students who suffer from anxiety, as well as a parent of a child who has struggled with anxiety since the age of 5, I can tell you just how necessary this book is! There are many resources available to older children to help them deal with anxiety, but very few for younger children.

This book gives life to the feelings that many children simply cannot describe. It shows how anxiety affects children in situations that they can relate to. I actually appreciate that the main character does not always "win" because, let's face it, life doesn't always end up the way we want it to! I love that it demonstrates how to take "losing" and look at the positive side. Finally, I love the strategies presented at the end of the book for children to use when they are feeling anxious.

I'm so excited to add this book to my classroom library. My only wish is that it had been written 10 years earlier so my own child could have read it!!

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A beautiful and inspiring book for little readers who battle with anxiety. (and for other kids too.)

Penelope Pickleberry, a first grader, is “simply spectacular” at her work. But she has a big problem in Nelly. Nelly isn’t a real person but a voice in Penelope’s head, constantly telling her about bad things that happened or might happen. Luckily, there is one more voice in Penelope’s head – that of Penny, the smarter voice who trusts that Penelope can do anything. Whom should Penelope listen to?

I appreciated the idea of the book. It focussed well on how to get rid of negative thoughts, and to focus on the positive. I also loved the idea of naming the voice in your head. Imagine how wonderful for a child to give their own names to the good voice and the bad voice in their heads! It would make their choices and their internal conversations so much easier. The book ends with a lovely and practical guide on how to “shush your Nelly”.

This is a chapter book and the content is built in paragraphs of 2-3 sentences, with each page containing 2-3 paragraphs. Though Penelope is mentioned to be a first grader, the book would work for slightly older children for independent reading, maybe grade 3 onwards. As a read-aloud, it might work for kids age 4 onwards, but things would definitely need a lot of explaining.

The illustrations are adorable and suit the story perfectly. Nelly and Penny are sketched wonderfully, as can be seen from the cover image.

Definitely recommended to all little ones who want a boost in their confidence and are tired of being pestered by the Nelly in their minds. This book would also be a great addition to school reading sessions.

4.5 stars.

My thanks to Girl Friday Productions and NetGalley for the DRC of “Call Me Penny Pickleberry”. This review is voluntary and contains my honest opinion about the book.

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Thank you to NetGalley for providing a copy of this in exchange for an honest review.

I really liked this book and all the characters. Great flow of story. It was a creative way of showing kids that worry is ok, and normal. Listening to our worries or encouraging voice can be hard, but can also change our mood and outcomes.

The pictures that went with the book were well done. I really liked them.

Overall, I would read more by this author.

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I don't like Nelly! But she is a very necessary part of the book to emphasize the need to kick out the negative voices from one's mind, kids and adults. This book is very clear on the importance of maintaining positive, constructive parts in order to overpower any opposing thoughts that try to push their way through. Great confidence builder for kids and a great reminder for adults. Well done. Highly recommend.

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Call Me Penny Pickleberry is a must for caregivers and educators. This engaging and sometimes silly story introduces the topic of anxiety in a way that all children and adults can relate. Who hasn't felt nervous, worried, or fearful when trying something new or challenging? This book cleverly illuminates the power of positive self-talk to over come such negative thoughts. Call Me Penny Pickleberry will entertain and provide a platform for recognizing, discussing and addressing anxiety. The added bonus of "A Guide For Shushing Your Nelly" provides additional tips and practical activities for persevering through anxious moments. This is sure to be a pre-k and elementary favorite!

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At last! Call me Penny Pickleberry, a fun and relatable story, provides a much needed opportunity for caregivers to discuss and address anxiety with children. When Penelope spends too much time listening to a negative internal voice named Nelly, she starts shying away from activities such as attempting a new trick at recess or participating in classroom partner work. Fortunately, her positive internal voice Penny steps in and teaches coping strategies, encouraging Penelope to actively engage in everyday occasions. This inventive tale will captivate readers of all ages, and “A Guide to Shushing Your Nelly”, provided at the end, reinforces the mindfulness tools shared by Penny. Call Me Penny Pickleberry will become the “go-to” book to confront anxiety and embolden children to live courageously!

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Penelope Pickleberry immediately connects with your heart as you read through her journey. Grana beautifully crafts words to share the story of young Penelope who struggles with anxiety. Relatable on so many levels, this story is a must have for classrooms, counselors, and parents. Penelope's experiences mirror so many that many children - and adults - have on a daily basis. Thank you, Meghan Grana, for this amazing resource! I plan to use it with all of my students, as well as my own kids, to help them build an understanding and awareness of their own "Nelly" and "Penny."

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Very sweet story with a clever and wonderful ending. I liked the strategies at throughout to give kids real life exemplars of what they can do to control their emotions. Cute illustrations and positive story about a serious topic.

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As a classroom teacher, and also as a parent with a 7-year-old who suffers from anxiety, i can't rate this book highly enough!

We need more books like this that address anxiety in a relatable way for students to realise that what they are feeling is normal and ok, whilst teaching them the strategies to overcome their anxieties and worries.I feel like the story's main character Penelope and the situations she finds herself in are very relatable for so many children and love that the voice in her head is given a name as i feel this helps the reader (specifically a child) to realise that it is just a voice, and they can overcome that voice with self-belief and confidence in their own abilities. I also love that the story talks about strategies to overcome worries and anxiety as things like deep breathing is so simple and can be used anywhere by anyone.

Thank you to NetGalley for providing a copy of this in exchange for an honest review

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Call Me Penny Pickleberry’s relatable story and sweet illustrations offer the perfect vehicle for conversation around acknowledging, understanding, and overcoming the negative voices in our head that sometimes bring us down. The Guide for Shushing Your Nelly, in the back of the book, provides actionable steps for how readers, young and old alike, can conquer their own negative Nelly. I strongly recommend this book for parents, teachers, counselors, and anyone else interested in an engaging story that also supports social emotional learning.

Edited to add- I read and talked about this book with my 7 y.o. daughter as I reviewed it. Later that night, as she was snuggling down in bed, she said, "What's the name of that girl that sits on your shoulder and makes you think bad things? (Nelly) She was just making me think..." And I was able to jump right in by asking her what her inner Penny might say and whose voice she should focus on. It led to a nice conversation and was a testament to the power of naming emotions and having books and characters that help us think them through. Thank you, Meghan Grana and Fanny Liem!

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An excellent book for elementary school counselors and other mental health workers who counsel children from the ages of 6-10. I love that the book addresses one of the fastest growing problem in children's mental health: generalized anxiety. Although the book specifies that the main character is in first grade, the format of the book (amount of text per page) is more appropriate for second grade readers and above. First graders will be able to understand the concepts with adult assistance but only advanced first graders are likely to be able to read the book on their own.

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Penny Pickleberry is here to help your little one to overcome their anxieties. I think kids and their caregivers will find Penny and Nelly SO relatable. The illustrations are wonderful any make this topic easier to digest. Even if you don’t think your child is suffering from anxiety, chances are someone they know is, and this will help to be an empathy builder. I’d recommend this for the elementary crowd and definitely a must have for school libraries.

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"Call Me Penny Pickleberry" is beautifully told story that illustrates the real struggle with anxiety that many young students experience. As a 3rd grade teacher, I can't wait to read this with my students as an anchor text for our Growth Mindset unit. I know that my students will be able to connect to the experience of Penelope, which will help them realize that those negative thoughts don't have to rule our thinking! Kudos to Meghan Grana for a fabulous debut story!

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