When we hear the word “consent,” we often think about dating and romantic relationships, but consent doesn’t start — or end — there.
Consent is centered around two basic ideas. One: that each person has the right to make their own decisions about their own body. And two: that we all respect one another’s decisions.
Healthy relationships of all types — with friends, teachers, parents, siblings — are founded on this mutual respect. We can begin teaching that respect to young children with books that model the ABCs of Respect: Autonomy, Boundaries, and Consent.
Using a mix of stories written specifically to educate with books made to entertain (while still reinforcing these important themes) is a great way to build key skills for safe and healthy relationships. Pick one or more from each letter to curate a Consent Storytime experience that’s right for your family, class, or group.
Children’s Books About Consent
A is for Autonomy: These books carry the message that your body is your own.
B is for Boundaries: These books teach that it’s ok to set limits, speak up, and say no.
C is for Consent: These books reinforce that we ask and we listen before touching others.
Benny Doesn’t Like To Be Hugged
By Zetta Elliot
Illustrated by Purple Wong
About Katey Howes
Katey Howes is the author of Rissy No Kissies, which Kirkus calls “…an artistic gem for consent discussions, sensory-processing contexts, and anyone who champions children’s agency and bodily autonomy.” Her earlier books include Be A Maker, which was named the #1 Makerspace Read Aloud of 2019, and Magnolia Mudd and the Super Jumptastic Launcher Deluxe, a highly-rated girl-powered #STEM picture book. A former physical therapist, current mom of three ravenous readers, and life-long geek, Katey loves combining fact and fiction, fun and learning through her books and blog posts. Visit her website www.kateyhowes.com for plenty of printable lesson plans and activities, or follow her on Twitter or Instagram @kidlitlove to learn more.
Note from Melissa:
Thank you so much, Katey! Readers, you will LOVE Katey’s new book, Rissy No Kissies. It’s exceptionally written and SO important for ALL children to understand that a person (or bird) gets to decide how to show and receive affection and love — whether or not they are okay with physical touches like hugs and kisses. Follow along on Instagram where I’ll be posting a giveaway of Rissy No Kissies!
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