In light of the current #MeToo movement, it seems more important than ever to ensure that our children understand what it means to give consent and set their own boundaries, and that we also teach them to respect the boundaries of others. With ‘consent’ soon to be part of the National Curriculum, books like Rachel Brian’s ‘Respect’ are going to form an important part of this conversation.
‘Respect’ is a very accessible, highly-illustrated text presented in a comic book style which makes it an easily digestible way of broaching potentially tricky subjects with children, starting with an explanation of what ‘consent’ actually means.
The book then goes on to explore the ideas of: body autonomy, trusting your gut feelings, giving and getting consent, saying no and changing your mind, growing healthy relationships, reflecting on your past behaviour and helping others in a bad situation. Although that may seem like a lot of information, all the concepts are explained in a short and snappy way which will appeal to young readers.
I particularly liked the fact that children are not only encouraged to think about their own boundaries, but also how to express these to family members and friends. Something which can perhaps sometimes be more challenging is accepting that the boundaries of others – the value of doing this is also discussed.
My son grabbed this book to read before I did and had the following to say –
Book Boy (aged 10 & 3/4): “It’s a good book if you’re feeling down because it’s motivating and helps to lift your spirits. It was easy to read and the cartoon-style was really good. It made it easier to understand.”
I honestly think that this empowering little gem needs to take a place on the bookshelf of every tween parent and school library in the land. Highly recommended for children aged 8 or 9 plus, depending on their maturity level (in case you’re wondering, nothing of a sexual nature is explicitly discussed).
Make sure you take a look at the other stops on this blog tour too: