Reviewed by Antonella Townsend
It is a shame that a book such as Respect: Consent, Boundaries and Being in Charge of YOU needs to be written. But it is clear that it does! Teaching children that they can take charge of their bodies, and, if need be, over-rule adult behaviour, is a heavy subject. But Rachel Brian has excelled in doing this with a light touch. Adopting an amusing approach, using cartoons and crazy typefaces, Rachel has managed to entertain while teaching self-empowerment and the importance of respecting another person’s boundaries.
Many issues are covered and the terms are defined clearly for young readers. Of course, number one is Consent:
Consent – It’s like being the ruler of your own country. Population: YOU.
This is followed by Boundaries:
Your boundaries are like a line between what you’re comfortable with…
And what you are not comfortable with …
Cartoon characters illustrate issues within each concept using speech bubbles to express funny examples.
Other issues: Trusting your Gut, and Giving and Getting Consent are explained, making clear that if consent is not clearly expressed as a resounding YES, then it isn’t consent! (At this point some readers might be thinking that Rachel should be working on an adult version)
A particularly useful segment is ‘Warning signs’
But some people build that trust to break it. (A speech bubble explains) That’s called grooming.
Many illustrated examples are given, finishing off with:
When an adult acts inappropriately with a kid, it’s ALWAYS the adult’s fault.
There is really not anything to criticize about this brilliant little book. It is a much-needed work for our current social climate, useful for a wide range of ages. In reading, or having it read to them, children will be in no doubt that their body belongs to them and they can set their own rules. And, those rules can be changed according to how they feel at the time. From setting boundaries to thinking about the appropriateness of their own behaviour, and how to be an awesome bystander, this book teaches confidence while banishing confusion.
Clever, amusing, and, above all, empowering! Highly Recommended.
By Rachel Brian