Books To Help Children Understand Boundaries, Consent, and Red Flags

Teaching our young ones about autonomy, boundaries, consent, and recognizing red flags is critical for their safety and personal development. Read on for six wonderful children’s books that explore these topics.

Lifestyle Recommendations Wellness Young Readers
soft blue background. there is one child sitting, and one child playing hula hoop, and two adults reading a book to two other small children. 3 book covers from some of the featured titles are also shown.

Trigger Warning: The mention of rape/sexual assault/domestic violence or topics about consent and body autonomy may be triggering for some readers. Please exercise personal care when reading.

We all know that children’s books are designed to capture the imagination of young readers with colorful illustrations, engaging characters, and enjoyable narratives. But books are also a safe space to learn about super-sensitive, real-life subjects in fun, relatable, and imaginative ways. By turning these lessons into stories, young readers are able to connect emotionally with the characters to reinforce the important messages.

Children’s Books Are Powerful Tools for Delicate Discussions

You can teach children that they are the boss of their own bodies and empower them to recognize when something isn’t right by discussing these life skills with them from a young age. Even toddlers are equipped to learn about autonomy and consent! And consent applies to all interactions — not just sex. Asking for permission before hugs or kisses are part of boundaries and consent too! Here are some of the awesome and age-appropriate books out there that help children understand boundaries, consent, and how to recognize red flags.

Don’t Touch My Hair! by Sharee Miller

The Importance of How To Admire Black Beauty

Bright yellow background with a diverse variety of hands bordering the cover. The hands are all reaching towards a girl in the center with beautiful black curls. Over the top of her head, it says: Don't Touch My Hair! And beneath her it says: Sharee Miller

Aria is chased by curious hands that want to touch her hair. Wherever she goes — in the jungle, in the street, under the sea, and even in space — strangers reach for her beautiful and fluffy curls. This fun picture book celebrates black beauty while teaching children the importance of asking for permission before touching someone’s hair.

Can I Give You A Squish? by Emily Neilson

Great for Classroom Settings To Teach Respecting Physical Boundaries (No Squishes!)

A illustration of under the sea with a mer-boy with dark hair and some aquatic friends: a crab, a dolphin, an octopus, and a blowfish. On the right corner, it says: Can I Give You A Squish? and on the lower right corner, it says: Emily Neilson.

This is a warm, summery story about expressing love and friendship, aimed especially at the overexuberant little huggers out there. Lovable mer-boy Kai is a big fan of “squishes” (hugs) and discovers that not everyone is big on physical embraces like he is. “Every fish likes their own kind of squish,” and to help him figure out the best way to show his affection, Kai’s friends show him their preferred greetings and physical contact.

Where Hands Go: An Introduction to Safe and Unsafe Touch by Krystaelynne Sanders Diggs (Author) and Ananta Mohanta (Illustrator)

Empower Children With the Power To Say NO When Unwanted Touch Happens.

A vivid orange background with gold around the two children featured in the center. Two children are wearing capes and holding up their hands with the words STOP on them. Bordering the cover are a diverse variety of hands that are reaching towards them. Across the top in curly white text, it says: Where Hands Go, The Power of No. Along the bottom in smaller text, it says: By  Krystaelynne Sanders Diggs and Illustrator Ananta Mohanta.

This is an excellent book to help parents, teachers, guardians, and therapists teach kids to recognize when touch can be harmful and how to talk about it with confidence. In an age-appropriate way, Where Hands Go explains the importance of body autonomy and the power of saying “no” to unwanted touch.

My Body! What I Say Goes! by Jayneen Sanders (Author) and Farimah Khavarinezhad (Illustrator)

A Book To Teach Children Crucial Skills in Personal Body Safety

Bright winter blue background with a few falling snow flakes. There are 3 children on the cover: one girl in a yellow top, a blonde haired boy in a wheelchair, and another boy in glasses. In a speech bubble coming from the girl, it says: My Body! What I Say Goes! Across the top of the cover, it says: by Jayneen Sanders and Farimah Khavarinezhad. Along the bottom, it says: A book to empower and teach children about personal body safety, feelings, safe and unsafe touch, private parts, secrets and surprises, consent, and respectful relationships.

Through age-appropriate words and illustrations, My Body! What I Say Goes! teaches children how to identify safe and unsafe feelings and recognize early warning signs of unsafe touch. Children can also learn the correct names for private parts and how to protect their bodies from inappropriate touch. Empowering the little ones with these skills helps keep them safe from abuse and ensures they grow up to be assertive, confident, and secure adults.

I Said No! A Kid-to-kid Guide to Keeping Private Parts Private by Kimberly King, Zach King, and Sue Rama

Zach and His Mom Help Other Kids Deal with a Range of Real Problems.

A blue background with a boy in a blue and white striped shirt. He is holding a red flag. Over his head, it says: I Said No! To the right, it says: A kid-to-kid guide to keeping private parts private by Zack and Kimberly King, Illustrated by Sue Rama, Updated and Revised Edition!

Written from a kid’s point of view, this book makes it easier for parents, counselors, and educators to teach children how to set healthy boundaries for their private areas. I Said No! features non-icky illustrations and kid-friendly language for a simple and direct approach to tackling the big issues — like dealing with bribes, threats, and other inappropriate behavior, and when and where to seek help.

Consent Ninja: A Children’s Picture Book about Safety, Boundaries, and Consent by Mary Nhin

We Are the B.O.S.S. of Our Own Bodies!

Green background with a ninja character dressed in yellow with a black belt. Across the top in white text, it says: Consent Ninja. In the lower left corner, it says: Ninja Life Hacks by Mary Ninh.

Consent Ninja is part of a comedic children’s series called Ninja Life Hacks by Mary Nhin, which is tailored to help kids learn various valuable life skills. Witty enough for grown-ups and easy enough for young readers, this picture book teaches children about safety, setting boundaries, and the importance of consent. When it comes to our bodies, we are in charge.

By Reading Together, a Safe Space Is Provided To Explore and Discuss Sensitive Subjects.

When it comes to topics like autonomy, boundaries, consent, and recognizing red flags, these are just a few of the books out there that help teach children the essential life skills they need to stay safe and grow up to be brilliant adults.

To feel safe at all times is a basic human right; let’s work to make this world physically and mentally safe for everyone. Help is available at the National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-4673

For more children’s books about understanding consent, click here!

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