Consent is a hugely important factor in sex education for kids, yet many schools continue to exclude the subject from their curricula. That’s why sex educator Lydia Bowers is hoping to help fill the gap with her new children’s book, “We Listen to Our Bodies.”
“Many books have been written about body safety (Bad touch! Stranger danger!), focusing specifically on preventing abuse or recognizing unsafe sexual contact,” Bowers told HuffPost. “Consent, however, is not just about sexual assault but encompasses many aspects ― relationships, self-image, empathy, and responsibility. These safety and abuse books are important, but I wanted something that could sit on a classroom bookshelf and could teach consent before and, ideally, in the prevention of abuse.”
“We Listen to Our Bodies” is the first installment in a series of children’s books focusing on consent issues that are part of everyday life. Each will be based on one of the five steps of consent that she teaches families and educators: 1. I listen to my body. 2. I am in charge of my body. 3. I ask permission. 4. I check in. 5. I accept no.
“This series covers consent themes like recognizing the physical sensations our emotions create, looking for body language cues in ourselves and others, taking responsibility for our actions, and knowing that our bodies have value,” Bowers said.
The author hopes her books will be a helpful addition to family and classroom bookshelves and make conversations about consent “fun and accessible.”
“As consent conversations have increased in society, so have the number and variety of children’s books,” she said. “Then with the pandemic affecting the world, things such as personal space and alternative ways to greet people have taken on additional focus.”
With help from Bowers, HuffPost put together a list of books that aim to help young people understand consent and bodily autonomy. Read on for 16 more options for kids and teens.