Speaking to children about how to protect themselves from sexual abuse can be overwhelming - but it doesn’t need be.
Using some of the books below can help you start some really important conversations with your children about what is appropriate, boundaries, and staying safe.
Every child is different, so before you read these books with your child, read them yourself first, so that you can judge if the information is appropriate for your child, and so that you are familiar with the story.
These stories are a springboard to having more discussions with your child so that they can continue to learn about how to keep safe.
Please note: we do not hold stocks of these books for sale, so they need to be purchased from an external supplier. Where possible we have supplied a link to an online retailer, as well as the book’s ISBN, which you can use to order from your preferred bookshop.
'An Exceptional Children's Guide to Touch' by McKinley Hunter Manasco
It can be tricky for young children and children with special needs to understand the rules of physical contact. This delightfully illustrated and friendly picture book simply and clearly explains how to tell the different between acceptable and inappropriate touch, and will help children understand how boundaries change depending on the context.
This book is really useful for parents, teachers and carers, and anyone working with children with special needs.
'Some Secrets Should Never be Kept' by Jayneen Sanders
Protect children from unsafe touch by teaching them to always speak up
This book was written to provide children with the skills they need to protect themselves from sexual harm, and to encourage them to always speak up if something goes wrong. It is a story about a little boy who finds the courage to tell his mother about abuse.
This might sound like a story that children can’t handle, but it’s written in a way that is non-threatening for parents and children.
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'It's My Body' by Lory Freeman
It's My Body has been written to help adults and preschool children talk about sexual abuse together in a way that minimises embarrassment and fear, but emphasises self-reliance and open communication.
There aren’t will not find specific references and stories about sexual abuse in this book, but it is designed to help children learn how their feelings can help them make decisions about sharing their bodies, and how to communicate those decisions to others.
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'Your Body Belongs to You' by Cornelia Spelman
This author writes about the importance of emotions and healthy relationships in the lives of children and families.
Your Body Belongs to You addresses the issue of sexual abuse in a positive and assertive way without being frightening. It is matter-of-fact and uses non-threatening language.
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'My Body Belongs to Me' by Jill Starishevsky
My Body Belongs to Me aims to make children aware that when it comes to their bodies, there are boundaries. It assures them that it is OK to tell a parent or teacher if someone touches their private parts.
It tells the story of a child who is touched by an uncle's friend and tells a parent.
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'NoNo the little seal' by Sherri Patterson and Judith Feldman
NoNo thinks his uncle is a special friend, but when he begins touching him in private places, NoNo is confused, upset and becomes withdrawn. By telling someone what happened, NoNo is supported and protected by his parents and other friends.
The story is told in a way that is gentle and uplifting, and it is designed to encourage open communication within families. Comes with a dramatised CD of the story and songs.
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'Tell Somebody it Happened to Me' by Nancy Flowers
This book aims to help children learn that even 'nice' people should not touch certain places, and that it is OK to tell someone, and that there is no need to feel bad. The main characters, Jacob and Josie, teach kids how to respond to abusive touching and improper advances. There is a section for a girl and a section for a boy.
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'Come and Tell Me (Be sensible-and safe)' by Helen Hollick
Come and Tell Me is an introduction to personal safety for young children. Its main message is that a child should come and tell a grown up in charge before going anywhere with anyone.
A thoughtful and upbeat book which promotes communication between parent and child without creating anxiety.
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'The Underwear Rule' by NSPCC
The NSPCC’s free guide for parents and carers to use with children to help keep them safe. The Underwear Rule teaches children that their body belongs to them, they have a right to say no, and that they should tell an adult if they're upset or worried.
Download - the guide for adults.
Download - the guide for adults to use with children.
'The Huge Bag of Worries' by Virginia Ironside
A funny and reassuring picture book for all children who have occasional worries about all sorts of issues.
At the centre of this story is Jenny, a normally happy girl who finds she's being followed everywhere by a huge blue bag full of worries. It's not until a kind woman helps Jenny sort out the problems that the bag and the worries start to disappear.
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'Feeling Happy Feeling Safe (A safety guide for young children)' by Michelle Elliott
Feeling Happy Feeling Safe (A safety guide for young children) is a colour picture book. It includes the stories: Getting Lost, Feeling Safe; Say No; Bullies; Someone You Don't Know; Touching, and Secrets.
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'A Very Touching Book (for little people and for big people)' by Jan Hindman
A Very Touching Book is a fully illustrated book designed for adults who want to take charge of their child's sexual abuse knowledge in a positive way. It helps parents avoid scare tactics and encourage children to understand sexual abuse in a healthy and non-threatening manner.
This publication enhances understanding and communication between children and adults, creating a partnership of safety for big people and for little people.
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'Let's Talk About Sex (changing bodies, growing up, sex and sexual health)' by Robie H. Harris
Let's Talk About Sex gives the facts - both biological and psychological - about sex, from conception and puberty to birth control and AIDS, including sections on the body, families and babies, and sexual health.
The book's serious and educational matter is presented in a readable form, with cartoon illustrations and the speech-bubble comments of two characters, a curious bird and a squeamish bee, which reflect the diverse feelings children have about sex. The book aims to provide honest and clear answers to the questions that children ask.
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'Rosy and Jack' by Nicole Reading
This is a story about a sister and brother who have had bad things done to them, that they were told to keep a secret. Rosy and Jack decided it was a 'bad' secret and decided to tell. This is a story for children, parents and for anyone who works with children, and is a story about hope and healing.
ISBN: 0958018820, 9780958018821
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Resources, publications, posters and other awareness raising material that can help prevent child sexual abuse are available.