It is absolutely essential that all children learn about consent, both so that they know how to assert control over their own bodies, and so that they respect the boundaries of others. That said, it is understandable if parents need a little guidance on how to approach the topic of consent and safe touch with their kids and that’s where these good children’s books about consent will be very helpful.
Even toddlers can start to learn that it’s okay to stand up and tell people how they want others to respect their physical boundaries. With older kids, you’ll want to have more in-depth conversations. For each book on the list, I’ve offered a suggested age recommendation, but please preview the books if you have any concerns.
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Books about Consent
Will Ladybug Hug?
by Hilary Leung
Ladybug is leaving on a trip and saying goodbye to her friends. One by one, the narrator asks if each of Ladybug’s friends will hug. Everyone hugs in a different style, except for Sheep who doesn’t want to hug at all. This book gives toddlers and preschoolers a friendly introduction to the concept of personal space, boundaries and consent. Ages 1 and up.
Don’t Hug Doug
by Carrie Finison, illustrated by Daniel Wiseman
Finison’s upbeat book empowers children to believe that it is okay to tell people they don’t want to hug and that asserting personal boundaries is healthy and normal. Doug looks huggable but he doesn’t like hugs. Others ask about a variety of situations, but Doug says no to them all. Children will learn that it’s okay to like hugs always, sometimes or never, and teaches them to always ask before hugging. Ages 3 and up.
Learning about the human body is a good way to supplement your conversations about consent.
Consent (for Kids!): Boundaries, Respect, and Being in Charge of YOU
by Rachel Brian
Hands down, this is the best book on the subject of consent and respecting physical boundaries I have read. The comic book format, simple but clever illustrations, and the witty humor make a tough subject very approachable. I highly recommend parents start reading this book to children as young as 4. You will want to adjust your conversations appropriately, of course. I even read it out loud with my then-11 year old and he had some insightful observations. A must read. Ages 4 (with a parent) and up.
Don’t Touch My Hair
by Sharee Miller
Our narrator, Aria, has a gorgeous head of hair. It’s so beautiful that everyone wants to touch it. But, as Aria explains, she doesn’t like it when they do. Miller uses humor to show all the ways Aria evades the outstretched hands that attempt to reach her hair. The illustrations are dynamic and full of comedic detail. Ages 3 and up.
Tell Me about Sex, Grandma
by Anastasia Higginbotham
I love Higginbotham’s refreshingly direct “Ordinary Terrible Things” series. In the series, she tackles death, divorce, white privilege, and now, consent and sexuality. A young girl asks her grandma about sex and grandma confirms that curiosity about sex is totally normal. Grandma also tells her about the importance of consent and personal choice. (It’s not a book about teaching about the mechanics of sex.) One nice touch: grandma stresses that its better to ask grandma these questions than to go on the internet to get answers. Higginbotham’s mixed media collages are a delight. Ages 4 and up.
Rissy, No Kissies
by Katey Howe
(Note: I have not read this book, yet. Pub. date is 3/2/21) Rissy comes from a family of lovebirds that love showing affection to one another but Rissy is not so keen on all the physical attention. She wonders if she is normal, but receives reassurance from her mother that her need for physical boundaries is totally okay. Ages 1 and up.
Sex is a Funny Word: A Book about Bodies, Feelings, and YOU
by Cory Silverberg, illustrated by Fiona Smyth
I love Silverberg’s book What Makes a Baby and have recommended it on a few lists. This book is much longer and works towards normalizing curiosity about sex and the complex feelings that surround it. Silverberg creates four main characters through which to educate the reader. In addition to addressing gender and types of bodies, Silverberg emphasizes consent and respect for oneself and for others. (This is not a book about the mechanics of sex; Silverberg’s next offering will be about puberty.) Ages 7 and up.
Let’s Talk about Healthy Body Boundaries, Consent, and Respect
by Jayneen Sanders, illustrated by Sarah Jennings
I really appreciate that this book depicts children of all colors, sizes, religions and abilities. It introduces the concept of an invisible body boundary. “No one should come inside your body boundary without you saying it’s okay.” The book asks the reader questions like, “How do you think this makes the child feel?” as well as going over concepts like consent and talking to a trusted adult. The text introduces situations and asks the readers for suggestions as to how to handle it. The book is not exclusively about sexual touch, but includes scenarios like hugging, shoving, pushing and more. The parent discussion in the endnotes outlines talking points page by page. Age 4 and up.
Another useful book list: Picture books to teach manners.
My Body Belongs to Me: A Book about Body Safety
by Jill Starishevsky, illustrated by Angela Padron
This book is a little different than the above choice because the protagonist experiences an unwelcome advance on his body by his uncle. Because he has been taught to always go to his trusted adults when he experiences an unsafe situation, the boy tells his parents, who reassure him that he did the right thing. This book contains some excellent parent tips. Ages 3 and up.
My Body Belongs to Me from My Head to My Toes
by pro familia (a German organization), illustrated by Dagmar Geisler
This book focuses on learning the importance of owning your own body, and body awareness. There is an emphasis on types of touch that are both welcome and unwelcome. The girl protagonist learns different ways of saying no and gains a positive self-image. Ages 3 and up.
That Uh-Oh Feeling
by Kathryn Cole, illustrated by Qin Leng
Find it: Amazon
This story is a bit didactic in its presentation, but is still worth reading. Claire is uncomfortable with the type of attention her soccer coach is giving her. She confides in her friends who encourage her to talk to her mom. What I like about this book is that it addresses the way unwanted attention and actions may come from an adult who others view as trustworthy, or who “acts nice” to them. Ages 5 and up.