LAKE WALES, Fla. — Jenayssi Padgett has a passion for literacy and building self-esteem in young children. She spent years as a teacher molding the minds of elementary schoolers before opening a preschool called Next Jen’eration Kids Academy. 

What You Need To Know

  • Jenayssi Padgett, a local author, has written a book to help kids learn about the importance of self-esteem

  • Padgett collaborated with Polk County's early learning coalition to be able to read her book, Perfect Penny, to preschoolers in Lake Wales

  • The goal of Padgett's books is to remind kids that they are perfect just the way they are

“We know that the way we see ourselves is the way we show up to the world, even in adulthood,” Padgett said.

Padgett’s passion for books and education came together in “Perfect Penny,” a children’s book she wrote to help build self-esteem in young kids.

Padgett is now teaming up with the early learning coalition of Polk County to teach kids that perfection is not one size fits all and that people can be perfect by just being themselves.

“What we want to do is instill that confidence at a young age so that they can present themselves strong and confident,” she said.

Padgett, along with Lake Wales mayor Jack Hilligoss, recently read her book to a group of preschoolers at the Lake Wales YMCA Child Care Center.

She said she hopes her book also helps to improve their mental health.

“I just want to plant a seed of confidence in each child so that they can grow up to be a better version of themselves,” Padgett said.