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The Worry Balloon (Hardcover)

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The Worry Balloon By Mónica Mancillas, Betty C. Tang (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Mónica Mancillas, Betty C. Tang (Illustrator)
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Staff Reviews

What if my teacher is mean? What if the other kids don’t like me? What if that dog walking down the street toward me is scary? What if the what ifs in life get me so tangled up that I can’t see that some of them are good? With layered illustrations in gorgeous earthy colors that exude calm, Mancillas and Tang offer an honest look at the concerns the first day of school can create and several loving tools that kids (and their adults!) can use to keep the worries at bay. A great book for every classroom with so many gentle suggestions! Another wonder from Monica Mancillas!

— Linda


A thoughtful and reassuring picture book about how one child experiences anxiety, and what she can do to manage her worries.

On the first day of school, Isla’s mind plays the what if game. Scary thoughts come, the world goes dark, and everything feels stormy.

With Mami at her side, Isla takes a deep breath and blows her worries away in a big balloon. But as school gets closer, Isla’s worries come back like a tornado. Mami encourages her to imagine something happy, and Isla remembers there’s nothing she can’t handle.

The storm might come again, but for now, her mind is quiet.

The Worry Balloon includes a guide for kids to build their own worry tool bag, perfect for children and caregivers alike to use when faced with anxiety and change.

About the Author

Mónica Mancillas authors books for children of all ages, as well as adult fiction. She received her B.A. in Anthropology from the University of California at Berkeley before pursuing a decade-long career in the recording industry. Her picture book, The Worry Balloon, is inspired by the challenges she, and those she loves, sometimes face managing anxiety; and the tools, great and small, that have helped them to walk through each of those challenges.

Betty C. Tang is the New York Times bestselling illustrator of the Jacky Ha-Ha graphic novels. She earned her BFA from CalArts and after a successful animation career, she is now passionate about creating books for children. Betty loves squirrels and hates roaches. Born in Taiwan, she currently lives in Los Angeles, California. Her debut graphic novel Parachute Kids is a 2023 National Book Award longlist. Visit her at

Praise For…

"Anxious readers will recognize themselves in Isla’s struggle and perhaps learn a new way of approaching their fears. . . Sure to help kids conquer first-day-of-school fears." - Kirkus

"Realistically depicting thought spirals and intrusive worry, [The Worry Balloon] takes a sensitive, strategic approach." - Publishers Weekly

"This book creates mental health awareness, while opening the door for conversations to be held, in a gentle and validating manner." - Melissa Gonzalez, Latinx in Publishing

Product Details
ISBN: 9781250852939
ISBN-10: 1250852935
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Publication Date: July 11th, 2023
Pages: 40
Language: English