A boy learns about giving and receiving consent for physical affection with family and friends in this debut picture book.
Finn, a young white boy, attends a party with a diverse group of relatives and friends. Some of them want—or might expect—a kiss or hug. In each case, he’s able to choose what he prefers: A kiss on the cheek from Grandpa is OK, for example, but he’s not in the mood for a hug from Grandma. Finn’s parents provide reminders to adults and encouragement to their son, which helps him speak up for himself. The book suggests alternatives to kissing/hugging, like a high-five or fist bump, but adds: “Maybe” Finn “doesn’t want to be touched at all. It’s his choice what happens to his body.” Later, Finn asks to hold his best friend Ru’s hand, adding that saying no is OK. Nearly all children’s books about physical affection assume that kids want hugs and kisses. Morrison provides a valuable service for children and their parents in her tale by showing how consent works and what good boundaries look like. The advice falls in line with today’s parenting experts, who recommend that kids not be forced into unwanted touching; the volume also includes worthwhile discussion questions for older children and caregivers. The illustrations by Orlove (Shrine: Volume II, 2016, etc.) aren’t very creative, often reusing Finn’s face and body with minor changes, but they help to demonstrate the concepts.
A simple story about consent that provides solid and useful information.