Logo and Kids V3

The CritterKin series of book and related programs are designed to teach kids social-emotional skills such as empathy, compassion and kindness along with more traditional literacy skills.

Your kids will love the funny, engaging story and delightful characters whose adventures illustrate both the challenges and the gratifying results of admitting and grappling with our imperfections. There are currently three options:

Virtual Visits: Dressed as Ms. Jenaia, the goofy, dog loving character in the CritterKin books, Jena will arrive via her very own virtual room (ZOOM), Skype or a Google Hangout ready to introduce your kids to the CritterKin stories. Each virtual visits consists of an interactive reading, a short discussion, and an art activity designed to help children explore their own inner creativity.

Share the Magic

Click to Hear Ms. Jenaia and Students Greet Each Other

Introduce Your Kids to Ms. Jenaia 

Author, illustrator and educator Jena Ball is known for her engaging, laughter filled stories about the adventures of a goofy band of mixed breed dogs and the people who love them. Dressed as Ms. Jenaia, the retired teacher turned dog trainer in all her stories, Jena walks right out of the pages of her books and into the classroom wearing her signature overalls, work boots and Not Perfect Hat.  Jena’s unique combination of interactive storytelling and creative project based learning has made her a favorite with students, teachers, administrators and parents:

“We had the best day ever! We had a chat with Ms. Jenaia (aka author Jena Ball). It was fun. We got to help save a dog’s life and draw it.” – Felisitee, 4th. grade student, Missouri

“CritterKin was really the most enjoyable experience I have ever had in my 17 years as an educator. I wouldn’t change what we did, and I’d do it all over in a heartbeat!” – Erin Preder, LMC Director, K-5 LMC REP for Valley View School District, Illinois

”Bella read The Not Perfect Hat Club to Zubi (our border collie)! She loved it. She LOVED Newton! She was so excited when I told her about it. I wish I had filmed her reading it. She is working on a little thank you video for you!” – Anna Carswell, mother of Bella and Head of Junior School, Shoalhaven Anglican School, New South Wales, Australia

 “Thanks for the invitation to such a great learning opportunity. You did a masterful job and I am so glad I was able to see it while it was happening! It makes me wish I was still teaching.” – James Michael Root, retired teacher, School Board Member, Liverpool CSD, New York

“ I love this program!!! It’s great on every level for kids – listening, learning and DOING! I especially love all the smiles, giggles and joy filling the room.” – Ann Feldman, District Technology Trainer, Adjunct Professor, Bellevue, Nebraska

In-person Visits: During the approximately four-hour visit, Jena will do interactive readings and art activities designed to spark discussion about what it means to be not perfect and help students discover what makes them each uniquely special.  She is also available to meet with teachers, answer questions and sign books.

Watch this inspiring video of Jena’s visit to Mooresville

Extended Programs: Designed to immerse your students and teachers in multimedia, story-driven readings and creative activities, these programs give student an opportunity to experience, discuss, reflect on and share their work with others in the classroom and communities around the world. The goal is fourfold:

  • Teach the whole child – heart, body and mind – through a combination of multimedia story-driven projects that develop social-emotional as well as academic skills.
  • Empower each child to find and develop his or her unique abilities through a safe, supportive and collaborative environment that celebrates the process of learning as opposed test scores.
  • Encourage students and teachers to become empathic and adaptive co-travelers in learning.
  • Debunk the myth of perfection so that both students and teacher see errors as opportunities to learn.

For Details About the Three Options Above, Please Contact:

Jena Ball:


Phone: (919) 454-9917