From inappropriate tickles to online pornography, these books cover it all in a comprehensive, kid-friendly, and non-icky way.
I am a mom, teacher, author, and sexual abuse prevention educator with Darkness To Light. I have three amazing kids. They are much older now and find themselves busy in high school, college, and the workforce. But, it seems like just yesterday I was reading stories to my children at bedtime. When the time was right, I introduced the topic of healthy bodies, inappropriate touch, and normal human development. I read several books to my kids that covered the topic of sexual abuse prevention. Back then, I tended to stress “stranger danger” as the most significant risk to their safety.
That was before I knew the facts about sexual abuse prevention.
I thought child molesters were the creepy old guys, in the white van, with candy and puppies. I didn’t realize the biggest risk to my children would be found in people we know and trust.
I probably scared my kids half to death about strangers.
However, I also focused on teaching my kids safety procedures and body boundary rules. Some of the books I read to my kids were helpful in a fundamental way.
There were a few books that tried to define "good touch vs. bad touch." This concept was a bit confusing for my kids. Because sometimes something that feels good can be harmful. I did my best at reading the books with my kids and talking over the topic. I tried to stress the importance of following their instincts. If something didn't feel right, made them feel nervous or uncomfortable, they needed to speak up and tell.
My son had a difficult night at a sleepover where there was an inappropriate, unwanted touch from a friend. He handled the situation using what he knew. He reported the problem to the mom. She did not help him solve the problem, so he made a safety plan. For my son, this involved telling everyone he felt sick. He stayed in the bathroom for most of the night to avoid his friend. While not ideal, he got to a safe place and told me as soon as possible. This was before cell phones and easy ways to contact parents.
After the sleepover incident, I realized that there were some missing pieces in the books at the time. Nobody was talking about the possibility that this type of thing could happen with a friend. I also noticed that nobody was providing kids with tools and strategies to help them avoid situations by being able to identify when they are in danger.
We decided to write!
We created, I Said No! A kid-to-kid guide to keeping private parts private to include definitions, scenarios, strategies, and help kids identify their feelings in a kid-friendly, but clear way. Our book helps kids practice what to Think, Say, and Do. We integrate real-life scenarios kids may encounter at school, on the bus, or at a playdate.
I Said No! encourages all sorts of communication on the topic without shame, guilt, or uncomfortable feelings. Also covered in I Said No is the problematic challenge of telling. Children are encouraged to tell and know that it is never their fault. Our book helps kids know that even if something has already happened, they are not alone.
Below are a few of the critical books on this topic, in no particular order. These books are all unique and valuable in different ways and should part of your sexual abuse prevention toolbox. The books listed below are all essential and cover the basics like body boundaries and tickles to protecting your kids from the new sexual abuse online pornography. Don't be scared! These books are all kid-friendly and will help you prepare, not scare your kids. I would suggest reading them all!
While reading these books and educating kids on this topic is essential, in no way does that let us off the hook. We can’t expect that reading a few books with our kids will protect them against the advanced manipulation and grooming techniques abusers and molesters use. The reading of books with children is one small part of a comprehensive sexual abuse prevention education. All parents and caregivers need to learn the facts and minimize the risk for their little ones.
The best thing for parents to do is to become experts on sexual abuse prevention. A great place to start is to take a free, online training class. Take the Stewards of Children training on www.d2l.org or Simply Safe Kids to learn more. Sexual abuse is preventable when parents learn to prepare and become proactive. There is so much to learn and share.
For a quick start, check out these top 10 Sexual Abuse Prevention Books for your sexual abuse prevention toolbox. Be prepared, not scared.
- Kimberly King
New 2020 Edition Available Today!
- Julie K. Federico (ages 6 months+)
An adorable, simple story with a pair of friendly fish as the main characters. Kids learn about boundaries and appropriate touch in a non-threatening way. Parents will love the simple straightforward language. This book is also available in Spanish.
Good Pictures/Bad Pictures (ages 5-10)
- Kristen Jensen and Gail Poyner
This book provides a natural and comfortable way to talk to your kids about pornography. Good Pictures, Bad Pictures is a read-aloud story about a mom and dad who explain what pornography is, why it's dangerous, and how to reject it. Featuring easy-to-understand science and simple analogies, this internationally-acclaimed book engages young kids to porn-proof their own brains.
Everyone's got a bottom (ages 3-8)
- Tess Rowley
An adorable, cheerfully illustrated book that teaches kids about their bodies in common sense, kid-friendly way. In this story, Ben and his sister learn and talk together about bodies. It is a tool for parents and caregivers to start a conversation with children about staying safe. A great book presented in a proactive, positive way.
Your Body Belongs to You (ages 3-6)
– Cornelia Spelman
In a calm, reassuring language, this book starts an important conversation about your child’s body. Children learn they are the boss of their bodies. They learn that it is ok for kids to decline a friendly hug or kiss, or any unwanted touch. Beautifully illustrated and very kid-friendly.
My Body Belongs to Me (ages 3-8)
- Jill Starishevsky
Lighthearted and clear, this book helps children learn how to tell someone if they do not want to be touched. Or, if an unwanted touch has already happened, how to tell a trusted adult with confidence. Body boundaries, unwanted touch, and how to tell a trusted adult are covered with clarity. Beautifully illustrated and an easy read.
- Jayneen Sanders (ages 3-8)
Beautifully illustrated children's picture book that sensitively broaches the subject of keeping children safe from inappropriate touch. This book is an invaluable tool for parents, caregivers, teachers, and healthcare professionals to broach the subject of safe and unsafe touch in a non-threatening and age-appropriate way. This unique story appeals to both boys and girls as the main character is a young knight.
Super-Duper Safety School (ages 5-10)
- Patty Fitzgerald
Written with empowering child-friendly language, the main character “Sammy” helps parents and kids start the dialog by using simple rules that make sense to children. Sammy explains each rule using a straight-forward concept of “thumbs up and thumbs down” awareness. A great system for any child, parent, caregiver or school.
Miles is the Boss of His Body! (ages 3-11)
- S. Kurtzman-Counter & A. Schiller
Miles Is The Boss Of His Body is a fun, engaging way to explore the potentially difficult topic of safety. When Miles says that he is the “Boss of his body,” his family supports him. Bright, colorful, comic-book style illustrations make kids feel comfortable.
- Nadine Bernard Westcott
Helping kids feel comfortable about asking questions and being curious, this book really helps. Great for younger children, “the who has what?” question is answered with ease in a light, kid-friendly way. The tone of the story is clear and encourages communication. Laced with often humorous illustrations, this story makes an often awkward topic approachable.