‘Consent’ is a word we’ve heard a lot about over the past few years and it’s a word that parents know they need to discuss with their kids from an early age. But how?
In her brand-new picture book, From My Head to My Toes, I Say What Goes, Australian author Charlotte Barkla takes children on a journey through everyday situations and shows that it’s okay to say ‘no’.
“As the Raising Children Network points out, children ‘need to understand that their body is their own and they have the right to say what happens to it’,” says Charlotte. “It’s not the easiest topic to discuss, but the good news is the foundations can be laid from an early age.”
I might say YES to pillow fights;
a kiss when I’m tucked in at night.
I might say NO to climbing high,
a tickling game or a hug goodbye.
Bright illustrations by Jacqui Lee keep the tone upbeat and lighthearted but the message is clear and the book is a great conversation-starter for parents of young children.
More books about consent for kids under 10
“It’s never too early to start teaching consent and boundaries for children,” says Charlotte, who has generously created this list of more books that open up conversations on consent, for children under 10 years. Click the title to find out more about the book.*
How to Say Hello by Sophie Beer
For very young children, you can’t go past Sophie Beer’s ‘How to Say Hello.’ This board book provides young readers with lots of examples of ways to say hello, whether it be a smile, wave or high-five. (And Sophie’s illustrations, as always, are gorgeous.) My favourite spread features a child peeking out from behind his parent’s legs, to say hello ‘from somewhere we feel safe.’
Simple yet brilliant, this book is inclusive and vibrant.
Don’t Hug Doug by Carrie Finison, illustrated by Daniel Wiseman
This picture book is lots of fun to read. It features a non-hug-loving boy called Doug, who much prefers high-fives. So, how do you tell who doesn’t like hugs? By asking, of course!
A great introduction to bodily autonomy.
Barry loves hugs, but sometimes he just wants to be left alone. Barry tries various things to stop others hugging him, and ends up falling into a solution (literally).
While this picture book doesn’t explicitly teach consent, it does provide a means for opening up a conversation on boundaries and communication.
Boss of Your Own Body by Byll and Beth Stephen, Teeny Tiny Stevies, illustrated by Simon Howe
Originally a song by the Teeny Tiny Stevies, this picture book is all about being the boss of your own body, and not of anyone else. A fun read-aloud, with lots of vibrant illustrations.
The song is lots of fun to listen to with kids, too. (Although you may end up with an ear worm.)
It’s My Body: A Book About Body Privacy by Louise Spilsbury
An informational, non-fiction picture book about body privacy. I like how this book talks about listening to your body – whether your body is telling you it’s tired when it needs a rest, when it’s hungry or full, or telling you when a hug feels good or bad. As a UK-published text it includes links to British websites and helplines, as well as notes for parents, carers and teachers.
Respect: Consent, boundaries and being in charge of YOU by Rachel Brian
This book was written by the co-creator of the “Tea Consent” video (which is worth a google if you haven’t seen it). In graphic novel format, this book is bright and fun. Readers learn about consent, setting boundaries and relationship dynamics.
This one is aimed at readers from 6+, but could even suit young teens.
Find out more about Charlotte and her books here.
Are you new here? Welcome to my blog! I’m Allison Tait, aka A.L. Tait, and I’m the author of middle-grade series, The Mapmaker Chronicles, The Ateban Cipher, and the Maven & Reeve Mysteries. You can find out more about me here, and more about my books here.
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