With My Permission: A Child’s Guide to Understanding Consent (Danielle Dowie)

Hello, friends! Our book today is With My Permission: A Child’s Guide to Understanding Consent, written by Danielle Dowie and illustrated by Edyta Karaban, an important lesson about autonomy for little ones.

Even though Baya and Bash are little, they are allowed to make decisions about their bodies, feelings, and belongings – and have those decisions respected by others! If people want to hug them or kiss them, or even touch their hair, they have to ask permission first. Same goes for playing with their toys, eating their food, or making conversation about their day; if either wants to share, they will, but please ask for permission. Lastly, if Baya or Bash either change their mind about the permissions they have given, they are allowed to say “no” or “stop.” Baya and Bash understand the importance of consent, because it keeps them safe by giving them control over what is theirs, and it can do the same for you.

Fantastic. The concept of informed and enthusiastic consent is one that is being discussed a lot nowadays, and is mistakenly assumed to be an issue related solely to adult life. However, consent is absolutely an idea that should be taught to kids, especially in terms of understanding that they have autonomy over their bodies and personal freedoms. Dowie’s well-metered rhyming text is engaging for kids and covers not only physical touch, but a wide range of situations in which consent is important (for instance, if a child does not want to talk about their day, they are allowed not to). Karaban’s illustrations are colorful and support the material well, even if they seem a little flat. The length is perfect for a storytime, and JJ and I both enjoyed this one. Overall, a simple way to introduce a critical topic to young readers, and we highly recommend it. Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the author in exchange for an honest review.)

Don’t Touch My Hair! (Sharee Miller)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Don’t Touch My Hair! by Sharee Miller, a fantastic lesson in consent and body autonomy.

Aria has a full head of dark, soft, beautiful curls, and she loves them! Others love them too; the problem is, they love them so much that they always want to touch her hair, even without asking first. Aria HATES this – she tries to dodge their fingers, but no matter what she does or where she goes, someone wants to feel her curls. Even going underwater, or high in a castle tower, or to another planet are no escape – there are still mermaids, dragons, and aliens who don’t respect her space. Finally, Ari learns that to get others to stop, she must stand up for herself: she firmly shouts “Don’t touch my hair!” Then she explains that if someone wants to touch her hair, they must ask first – and she always has the right to refuse. She’s happy walking around town again, now that her friends and neighbors understand her boundaries, and as always, she’s proud of her curls.

LOVE. Teaching important lessons in consent and agency, the ecstatically colorful illustrations and fierce, self-possessed protagonist carry the story through fun and fantastic locations while keeping the core emotions and concepts grounded in reality. One spread that features Aria’s attempts to evade her admirers – surrounded by reaching disembodied hands while she cowers, dodges, and fends then off in turns – perfectly embodies the discomfort, anger, and feeling of being trapped this behavior can create. It’s a wonderful message – not only for curly-haired kids but all children – that others should respect our body autonomy, and that if if something makes you feel uncomfortable, you have a right to say no. The length was great, and JJ loved it. A book for every little one (and big one!) to read, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!