Family, Picture Books

5 Picture Books to Teach Kids about Consent and Bodily Autonomy

As an adult, can you imagine if someone told you that you have to go sit on the lap of some old man you don’t know, tell him what you want for Christmas, and then he’ll give you a candy cane? Or that you have to give someone a hug and kiss just because they happen to share some DNA with you—even though they reek of cigar smoke and stale coffee? Or perhaps without saying anything at all, a coworker walks up and tickles you, pinches your cheeks, picks you up, and then pats you on the head? You’d quickly be on your way to human resources and possibly a therapist’s office.

Often kids—and some adults—feel children have no choice when it comes to who touches them and when. However, it’s important to instill in kids from a very young age that they are the bosses of their own bodies and don’t have to touch anyone or allow anyone to touch them if they don’t want to. We’ve rounded up some stellar reads for introducing and enforcing this crucial concept to children.

C is for Consent

C is for Consent

Board Book $14.95

C is for Consent

Eleanor Morrison , Faye Orlove

In Stock Online

Board Book $14.95

C is for Consent, by Eleanor Morrison and Faye Orlove
Maybe you’re not sure where to start with explaining the concept of consent to young children. This board book offers a great basic primer on body boundaries through a simple story about a boy named Finn navigating a party of beautifully diverse family and friends with the help of his parents. The tale shows that Finn has a choice about giving people a kiss or hug—even people who might normally just expect one—and it offers alternatives to kisses/hugs like fist bumps and high-fives for when a child is OK with touching, just not such close contact. And even though it’s presented in a board book format, the story is great for teaching people of all ages—from kids to parents to grandparents—that it’s OK to say no to anyone when you don’t feel like being touched and that you should always ask someone before you touch them.

C is for Consent, by Eleanor Morrison and Faye Orlove
Maybe you’re not sure where to start with explaining the concept of consent to young children. This board book offers a great basic primer on body boundaries through a simple story about a boy named Finn navigating a party of beautifully diverse family and friends with the help of his parents. The tale shows that Finn has a choice about giving people a kiss or hug—even people who might normally just expect one—and it offers alternatives to kisses/hugs like fist bumps and high-fives for when a child is OK with touching, just not such close contact. And even though it’s presented in a board book format, the story is great for teaching people of all ages—from kids to parents to grandparents—that it’s OK to say no to anyone when you don’t feel like being touched and that you should always ask someone before you touch them.

Don't Touch My Hair!

Don't Touch My Hair!

Hardcover $17.99

Don't Touch My Hair!

Sharee Miller

In Stock Online

Hardcover $17.99

Don’t Touch My Hair!, by Sharee Miller
Asking for permission to touch someone means any part of them—hair included! And it’s fully within everyone’s rights to set limits just like young African-American girl Aria does in this imaginative story with a purpose from the author-illustrator of Princess Hair. Aria has a beautiful head of hair “that grows up toward the sun like a flower,” and often, people are so curious about her fluffy curls that they reach out and touch without even asking Aria if it’s OK. And it’s not just humans who are taken with her ’do in the story as she encounters touchy-feely mermaids, monkeys, and even aliens. But finally, Aria loses her patience, as she shouts, “DON’T TOUCH MY HAIR!”—which is exactly what she needs to do to feel in charge of her own body.

Don’t Touch My Hair!, by Sharee Miller
Asking for permission to touch someone means any part of them—hair included! And it’s fully within everyone’s rights to set limits just like young African-American girl Aria does in this imaginative story with a purpose from the author-illustrator of Princess Hair. Aria has a beautiful head of hair “that grows up toward the sun like a flower,” and often, people are so curious about her fluffy curls that they reach out and touch without even asking Aria if it’s OK. And it’s not just humans who are taken with her ’do in the story as she encounters touchy-feely mermaids, monkeys, and even aliens. But finally, Aria loses her patience, as she shouts, “DON’T TOUCH MY HAIR!”—which is exactly what she needs to do to feel in charge of her own body.

My Body Belongs to Me from My Head to My Toes

My Body Belongs to Me from My Head to My Toes

Hardcover $16.95

My Body Belongs to Me from My Head to My Toes

International Center for Assault Prevention , Dagmar Geisler , pro familia

In Stock Online

Hardcover $16.95

My Body Belongs to Me from My Head to My Toes, by International Center for Assault Prevention, Dagmar Geisler, and pro Familia
It can be a challenge as a kid when so many adults around you—even the most well-meaning ones—want to hug you, pick you up, or tickle you. This effective picture book from the International Center for Assault Prevention takes kids through the basics of appropriate and inappropriate touching, tips for avoiding touch when you don’t want it, and encouragement to speak up if you feel uncomfortable. In the story, young Clara knows she’s in charge of her body—sometimes she likes being hugged by her dad or tickled by a friend, and other times she’d rather people keep their hands to themselves. Clara has the confidence to stand up for herself and set limits, and she imparts that to young readers in a clear and supportive way.

My Body Belongs to Me from My Head to My Toes, by International Center for Assault Prevention, Dagmar Geisler, and pro Familia
It can be a challenge as a kid when so many adults around you—even the most well-meaning ones—want to hug you, pick you up, or tickle you. This effective picture book from the International Center for Assault Prevention takes kids through the basics of appropriate and inappropriate touching, tips for avoiding touch when you don’t want it, and encouragement to speak up if you feel uncomfortable. In the story, young Clara knows she’s in charge of her body—sometimes she likes being hugged by her dad or tickled by a friend, and other times she’d rather people keep their hands to themselves. Clara has the confidence to stand up for herself and set limits, and she imparts that to young readers in a clear and supportive way.

Miles is the Boss of His Body

Miles is the Boss of His Body

Hardcover $12.95

Miles is the Boss of His Body

Samantha Kurtzman-Counter , Abbie Schiller

Hardcover $12.95

Miles is the Boss of His Body, by Samantha Kurtzman-Counter, Abbie Schiller, and Valentina Ventimiglia
Part of The Mother Company’s award-winning Miles series, this engaging picture book finds Miles excited for his 6th birthday but super-annoyed at all the unwanted hugging, picking up, cheek pinching, and more from his family. When a guy in a chicken suit shows up and tries to tickle Miles, he loses it, loudly declaring that he is the boss of his own body. Miles is afraid he might be in trouble for his outburst but instead gets praise and support from his parents for standing up for himself and speaking his truth. “No one should ever touch you in ways you don’t want to be touched,” his dad tells him. The book can be a great jumping-off point for talking to kids about how they are the bosses of their own bodies too.

Miles is the Boss of His Body, by Samantha Kurtzman-Counter, Abbie Schiller, and Valentina Ventimiglia
Part of The Mother Company’s award-winning Miles series, this engaging picture book finds Miles excited for his 6th birthday but super-annoyed at all the unwanted hugging, picking up, cheek pinching, and more from his family. When a guy in a chicken suit shows up and tries to tickle Miles, he loses it, loudly declaring that he is the boss of his own body. Miles is afraid he might be in trouble for his outburst but instead gets praise and support from his parents for standing up for himself and speaking his truth. “No one should ever touch you in ways you don’t want to be touched,” his dad tells him. The book can be a great jumping-off point for talking to kids about how they are the bosses of their own bodies too.

No Means No!: Teaching personal boundaries, consent; empowering children by respecting their choices and right to say 'no!'

No Means No!: Teaching personal boundaries, consent; empowering children by respecting their choices and right to say 'no!'

Paperback $9.95

No Means No!: Teaching personal boundaries, consent; empowering children by respecting their choices and right to say 'no!'

Jayneen Sanders , Cherie Zamazing

In Stock Online

Paperback $9.95

No Means No!, by Jayneen Sanders and Cherie Zamazing
It’s crucial that children learn from a young age that they are in charge of their bodies and can say no to anyone who wants to touch them if they don’t want it—and that no means no. This sweet book is an excellent springboard for discussions with kids around having choices when it comes to their bodies and finding their loud, clear, strong voices to make their preferences known. The empowered little girl in the story feels comfortable setting boundaries and she knows people should respect them. She knows that, when it comes to her body, she doesn’t have to do something just because an adult says so. Reading this book with little ones can help them take on the firm and simple mantra for themselves and their own bodies—no means no.

No Means No!, by Jayneen Sanders and Cherie Zamazing
It’s crucial that children learn from a young age that they are in charge of their bodies and can say no to anyone who wants to touch them if they don’t want it—and that no means no. This sweet book is an excellent springboard for discussions with kids around having choices when it comes to their bodies and finding their loud, clear, strong voices to make their preferences known. The empowered little girl in the story feels comfortable setting boundaries and she knows people should respect them. She knows that, when it comes to her body, she doesn’t have to do something just because an adult says so. Reading this book with little ones can help them take on the firm and simple mantra for themselves and their own bodies—no means no.

What picture books would you recommend for broaching the topic of consent with kids?