From My Head to my Toes, I Say What Goes, by Charlotte Barkla & Jacqui Lee
It's so important that we as parents and carers are able to open up discussion - or answer questions from children - in relation to healthy body boundaries, consent and respect. However - it can be difficult to know how to broach such a conversation in a reassuring and non-threatening way. We want our kids to have the confidence and awareness to know that they are in control of their own bodies - and also for them to understand how to respect other personal boundaries.
Books like this, then, are extremely helpful in assisting us to initiate these types of tricky conversations with our kids. From My Head to my Toes by Charlotte Barkla effectively explores the concept of consent through flowing playful rhymes, developmentally appropriate use of language, and bright engaging illustrations.
This book gently imparts the message to young readers that it is ok for them to say yes to a hug or a kiss goodnight or a pillow fight - but it is equally ok to say no to these things. The story empowers young readers to understand that they are in control of their bodies and their boundaries, and that what they say goes. Equally, children also see the importance of respecting the personal space and boundaries of others. Suggestions of phrases children might want to use such as "That's not for me" or "stop that now" are offered in a vibrant and reassuring way - with the message never presented in a way that is didactic or overbearing.
I love that this book is inclusive, with its diverse character depictions and situations. I also loved the empowering use of language, and the vibrant and lively vibe. My kids were all engaged by the story - meaning that this book is suitable for a wide range of ages. Each of them had their own comments and observations around the message of the story, and they all enjoyed examining the details in the illustrations.
The expressive illustrations enhanced and added to the narrative, with bright splashes of colour, and lots of movement .
Highly recommended for all classroom and home libraries.
Published by Bright Light (an imprint of Hardie Grant Children's Publishing)