Books About Consent And Bodily Autonomy For Kids And Teens

“As consent conversations have increased in society, so have the number and variety of children’s books.”

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.”

Lydia Bowers' book is the first in a series of books on consent foundations for young children.
Lydia Bowers' book is the first in a series of books on consent foundations for young children.

“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.

"Can I Give You a Squish?"
"This features a merboy that learns not everyone likes to be hugged the way he does," Bowers said. "The author/illustrator, Emily Neilson, even has downloads that tie the book directly into pandemic-era greeting alternatives, at emilyneilson.com ." (Available here)
"Don’t Hug Doug (He Doesn’t Like It)"
"This was an instant favorite in my house — the giggles that erupt when we read about only hugging on Tuesdays," Bowers said. "It shows that people like different kinds of greetings, and people don’t all feel the same way about hugs!" (Available here)
"Rissy No Kissies"
"Rissy is an adorable lovebird whose family is confused by her not wanting kisses!" Bowers said. "Ultimately they support her and validate that not everyone wants to receive affection in the same way." (Available here)
"Consent (For Kids!)"
Little, Brown And Company
"Do you remember the Tea & Consent videos that went viral a while back?" Bowers said. "One of the co-creators of that wrote this book for kids. It’s comic/graphic novel style, so perfect for those older elementary kiddos." (Available here)
"Miles Is the Boss of His Body"
"Miles Is the Boss of His Body" is a personal boundaries-themed installment in a series of books about a little boy named Miles. (Available here)
"More Than Fluff"
In "More Than Fluff," a young chick navigates consent and bodily autonomy and learns to express her need for space. (Available here)
"C Is for Consent"
This book helps parents start the conversation about consent by explaining what it means and how to set boundaries. (Available here)
"Will Ladybug Hug?"
"Will Ladybug Hug?" is geared toward toddlers and introducing bodily autonomy. (Available here)
"My Body! What I Say Goes!"
This book by Jayneen Sanders teaches personal body safety skills to school-age kids. (Available here)
"Oh No, Bobo!"
The subtitle for this book about jungle animals describes it as "a sweet story with a gentle message about personal space." (Available here)
"ABC of Body Safety and Consent"
This alphabet book is also by Jayneen Sanders and covers terms like "boundaries," "respect" and "safety network." (Available here)
"You Ruined It"
"You Ruined It" is a story about boundaries as an 11-year-old copes with the aftermath of sexual assault. (Available here)
"Can We Talk About Consent"
This book focuses on giving teens the tools they need to give and get consent, communicate choices, respect others' decisions and more. (Available here)
"Real Talk About Sex and Consent"
"What Every Teen Needs to Know" is the subtitle for this educational and empowering guide. (Available here)
"A Quick & Easy Guide to Consent"
Another resource for teens, "A Quick & Easy Guide to Consent" is a primer on affirmative consent, relationships and respect for boundaries. (Available here)
"Sex Positive Talks to Have With Kids"
While not explicitly meant for young readers, "Sex Positive Talks to Have With Kids" is a resource to guide parents and caregivers as they discuss topics like bodies, consent, relationships, sex and more with their children. (Available here)