Press Kit


Taking the “Scary” Out of Checkups:


There’s no doubt about it: the yearly visit to the doctor is an event that many children and their parents dread. There’s anxiety leading up to the appointment, uncertainty about what exactly will happen during the checkup, and, of course, every kid’s least favorite part: shots. But these visits to the pediatrician aren’t only necessary for children – they’re beneficial in so many ways, and can even be fun!

In the new children’s book Jake’s Kindergarten Checkup, written by longtime pediatrician Dr. Chrystal de Freitas and illustrated by award-winning illustrator Tammie Lyon, both parents and children find comfort in the clear, positive story of a young boy, Jake, who goes to see Dr. Dee for his kindergarten checkup. Jake fears the necessary and inevitable shots at the visit, and his tag-along sister, Chloe, seems to increase his fear at each step until her surprising empathy helps Jake muster the courage to complete the checkup. The family heads home having conquered fears, Jake kindergarten-ready and both children deliciously rewarded.

Dr. de Freitas, a beloved pediatrician for over 34 years, founder of Carmel Valley Pediatrics, and President of the educational Healthy Chats® program, created the book to fulfill a need she increasingly sees in both children and parents who arrive to the doctor’s office nervous and unsure of what to expect. Through its beautiful illustrations and easy-to-understand, encouraging words, Jake’s Kindergarten Checkup addresses a variety of issues and questions for which many families need guidance. A “Tips” section is provided in the back especially for parents.

“This book is based off of a scenario I’ve witnessed many times as a pediatrician: the natural nervousness accompanying the idea of vaccines, a buildup of anxiety, and finally the conquering of that fear and the empathy of siblings shining through,” Dr. de Freitas says.

Soothing, helpful, and uplifting, Jake’s Kindergarten Checkup addresses:

  • The steps involved in a pediatric checkup – what kids can expect
  • How parents can help prepare their child for a doctor visit
  • Techniques to make shots less scary for everyone
  • Ways to ensure a checkup is educational and fun for children
  • The value of sibling support
  • And much more!

Dr. Chrystal de Freitas is an author, mother, and pediatrician with a special interest in health education. While Jake’s Kindergarten Checkup is her first picture book, she has authored several other well received books and educational material in her field.

A pediatrician for over 34 years, Dr. de Freitas is the founder of Carmel Valley Pediatrics. She is also the President of Healthy Chats®, which provides health education seminars to parents and their pre­teen children in the community at the local hospitals and online. Among her honors and achievements, she has been selected by the San Diego County Medical Society and San Diego Magazine as one of the area’s top doctors. Dr. de Freitas lives in San Diego, California, with her husband, Dr. Jeff Bonadio. They have three adult children.

Learn more about Dr. de Freitas and Jake’s Kindergarten Checkup at and connect with the author on Facebook and Twitter.

Jake’s Kindergarten Checkup can be purchased from Amazon and

Contact: Jennifer Tucker
856-489-8654 x303


Experienced pediatrician de Freitas shows her comforting bedside manner in this very encouraging, cheerfully illustrated picture book. Jake is ready for kindergarten except for one thing: his kindergarten checkup. His little sister, Chloe, who loves to play doctor, can’t wait for Jake to go, but he’s worried about having to get a shot. At a doctor’s office populated by a diverse array of patients and staff, Jake’s mom tries to comfort him: “It’ll be over before you know it,” she says. “Let’s wait and see what Dr. Dee says.” As the nurse takes Jake through all his measurements, Chloe can’t wait for it to be her turn. Jake’s frustrated by her distractions: “This is my appointment. Remember?!” Through the regular weight and height checks to the more specific kindergarten-readiness tests, such as the hearing test and a urine check, de Freitas describes everything approachably, allowing children to feel that maybe Jake’s worries aren’t so well-founded. When Dr. Dee, a woman pediatrician, enters, there’s even more checking to do. De Freitas introduces various medical terms—including the otoscope and opthalmoscope—that will please the Doc McStuffins crowd. But soon, despite the fun of the visit, the dreaded moment arrives: it’s time for a shot. It’s not Jake who needs comforting, though—it’s Chloe, who’s suddenly in tears! Jake is so distracted by Chloe’s crying and his admirable big-brother efforts to comfort her, he hardly notices his shot at all. Lyon presents all the instruments and atmosphere of the pediatrician’s office in clear, easy to identify, soft-hued illustrations, and her cartoonlike characters have easy-to-read facial expressions. With the heavy load of text, necessary for all the information offered, it could be a case of information overload. But Freitas and Lyon sidestep potential confusion with a well-considered layout that sometimes features three or four pictures per page, showing each step of the process. De Freitas’ dialogue is spot-on, and nervous youngsters will find Dr. Dee’s interactions with Jake and Chloe reassuring. Help kids prepare for a doctor’s visit, especially the Kindergarten checkup, with helpful tips for Mom and Dad, too.

Chrystal de Freitas
Illus. byTammie Lyon
Carmel Valley Pediatrics (38 pp.)
$9.95 paperback
ISBN: 978-0-9844529-4-1; January 10, 2016