cover of Cell Phoney by Julia Cook

Cell Phoney by Julia Cook

Book Review:  A book that talks to kids about how to use cell or mobile phones in an appropriate way.

Book Review

Cell Phoney by Julia Cooke is a book for school aged children about using mobile/cell phones safely.  It teaches six rules that will help to keep children safe when using mobile/cell phones.

Cell Phoney was written by Julia Cook and illustrated by Anita DuFalla. Every family is different, but eventually, your child is probably going to end up with a phone of their own. Books like Cell Phoney , are a great way to pass the message onto kids about how to use their phones safely.

Please note that this article contains affiliate links. You can read my full disclosure here.

This book, tells the story of a little girl, Joanie, who has finally got her first phone. Her mother sits her down and explains that even though it is only a phone, that phones can hurt people and take over your life.

The 6 rules are:

  1. Don't let it take over  your life
  2. Don't talk or text whilst riding your bike, walking, moving around
  3. Don't use your phone to hurt others
  4. Don't text too much and forget how to talk to people
  5. Make sure your messages pass the 'Grandma' test before you press end (if she wouldn't approve then delete it)
  6. Only send photos that are clean - if you wouldn't display it on a billboard then you should delete it

Joanie signs her mothers contract of use, and  heads off to her room to play with her new phone. Slowly she begins to fall off the rails. She ignores her father at breakfast as she is too busy texting her friend Martha. She then walks into a tree on her way to school - she was too busy texting to watch where she was walking. She sees her friend Gerald picking his nose, takes a photo and sends it to all her friends. She doesn't listen in class because she is too busy texting.

Over the course of a day, she lets her new phone take over her whole life. And eventually, she turns into a cell phone herself. Her mother sees her and calls her a 'cell phoney' (hence the name of  the book). She then wakes up and it was all a bad dream.

Cell Phoney is a fun casual story that is a great way to be able to start having a conversation with your child about how to use phones safely. It is probably best used with kids who are happy to read picture books. You could read it with your child, or just pass it to them, and say 'Have a read of this and tell me what you think'.

What I love about picture books like this, is that it gives you the opportunity to start a conversation with your child. Plus the book gives you the words to use, so if it is a topic that you aren't too sure about, then the book does the work for you. And you don't need to remember all the facts.

Also, don't forget that kids learn more by watching what you do, than by what you say. So there is no point telling them how to behave responsibly on their phone, if you aren't as well. It is up to you, the parent, to role model the responsible behaviour that you expect.  And it is probably easier to start this when they are still too young to have their own phone. Which means that by the time they are old enough to have their own phone, they will already know about responsible usage.

Cell Phoney  by Julia Cook, is a good little book for younger kids who are still okay about books with pictures. It provides an entertaining story about what happens to a girl who becomes 'taken  over'  by her phone, and discusses 6 rules that are designed to help kids to use their phones safely.

Ideal ages

Cell Phoney by Julia Cook is ideal for children between the ages of 8 - 10 years of age.

Buy a copy

You can buy  a copy of Cell Phoney by Julia Cook  from Amazon or  Book Depository.

You can find more books like this in my extensive list of Sex Education Books for Children.

Video book review


My mission is to create resources that will help you to naturally talk to your kids about sex, all while respecting your personal values.

Which means that inside this website, you'll find lots of resources to help you with talking to your child about love, sex, relationships and growing up.

My Sex Education 101 page includes all of the information on sex education. You'll find lots of different blogposts to help with getting started, on a wide range of different topics.

My Puberty 101 page includes all of the information on puberty. You'll find lots of different blogposts to help with talking to your child about growing up.

You'll find videos about sex ed in my Sex Education Videos resource page that you can watch with your child or to learn more about sex education yourself.

You’ll also find an extensive range of sex education books for children, for kids of all ages. There's even some books in there for parents! 

If you're looking for some ideas on how to talk to your child about bodies, How to Talk to Kids About Bodies, will help you to start naming the private body parts and to have shame-free conversations with them about bodies. It is filled with lots of different ideas on how to have natural converasations with your child about their body. 

You'll also find some child friendly anatomically-correct cartoon illustrations of the genitals and internal reproductive organs that are appropriate for children from the age of 3 and up. Let's Look at Different Body Parts is a printable that will help take the awkward out of talking to your child about their body, so they grow up feeling educated, confident, and comfortable in their own skin.

If you're worried that talking to your child about bodies might lead to questions about sex, then you can relax. How to Talk to Kids About Sex, will help you to explain sexual intercourse to your child in a way they will understand. It breaks sex down into simple steps that  take the stress out of explaining!

If you want a printed book to hold in your hands, then the  The Sex Education Answer Book will give you age-specific answers to the most common questions kid's ask parents about sex. Which means you don't need to worry about finding a child-friendly explanation that your child understands. 

If you want the answers to questions about a lot more than just sex, then Sex Ed Quickies is your best option. It has answers to 300+ questions  that kids commonly ask parents,  including how babies are made, sexual intercourse, body parts, puberty, relationships, pregnancy, birth, masturbation, sexual diversity, gender, pornography, STIs, contraception and much more.

About the Author Cath Hakanson

I'm Cath, a sex educator living in Australia with my husband and 2 kids. I help parents to talk about sex (with less cringe and more confidence) and empower their child to make smart sexual decisions. To find a better way to talk about sex, you can join my community of parents and visit my shop for helpful resources.

Leave a Comment: