Canadian Congenital Heart Alliance

Penelope goes for her heart checkup

Illustration of Penelope

The Canadian Congenital Heart Alliance is excited to launch a children's book "Penelope goes for her heart checkup".

This illustrated book for children ages 5-8 , follows Penelope - a young girl - as she travels to the hospital for her ‘heart checkup’.  Reading this story with your child a few days before their ‘heart checkup’ will assist in preparing them for their appointment.

It also includes a colouring activity to engage children as they interact with Penelope's journey. Along with your child, you can follow Penelope and she and her mother visit the ‘Heart Team’.

Check out our KIDS ACTIVITY page and submit by February 26, 2021 and be entered into our draw.  

Some discussion points for parents include:

  • The importance of life-long ‘heart checkups’ to monitor your heart and stay healthy. It is normal for an individual with a congenital heart condition to have regular ‘heart check-ups’, just like checkups at the dentist or eye doctor.
  • Talk with your child about their fears and anxieties leading up to or after a ‘heart check-up’ and develop strategies to cope. For example, being prepared with a list of questions.
  • Discuss what to expect with your child. Plan ahead how to best help your child to understand their visit – e.g.  what can they wear to the heart check-up that will be suitable for their echo or ECG if they don't want to get undressed or wear a hospital gown.
  • Discuss with your child any limitations on their activity. Most children with CHD do not have any restrictions, but each child is unique, and this may be something to talk about with the ‘Heart Team’.

The book is available as a flipbook on our website, or as a downloadable PDF. Our next steps include translating it to French, making printed copies available to paediatric CHD clinics across Canada, and also available for purchase. It is also hoped that an animated video can be produced.

If you would like to support this initiative or have found this resource helpful, please consider donating here.

Penelope goes to her heart checkup - flipbook


Penelope goes to her heart checkup - download

PDF icon Download Penelope goes for her heart checkup_Final.pdf (23.6 MB)

Created by Ava Haldane and Sydney Burechailo, students from University of British Columbia (Okanagan) School of Health and Exercise Sciences and beautifully illustrated by Kristin Foster (

Made possible through a Riipen virtual student internship with funds from the RBC Future Launch program.





Check out how congenital heart disease stacks up against better recognized diseases in Canada! So many affected and so little awareness and funding! Get involved with CCHA, donate, and spread the word about the growing population of of "survivors" so that we can get the care and support we need to live long, healthy lives!


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