- Trigger Warning: Book being reviewed discusses childhood sexual abuse, hereafter called CSA, just in case you need to skip.
Where Hands Go by Krystaelynne Sanders Diggs is a really well-illustrated resource that uses an easily accessible poem (whose rhyme scheme doesn’t hit 100% of the time, but you know that I’m much more of a stickler for that than most readers, and definitely child readers), to talk to kids about bodily autonomy. Through really great illustrations of a young, black, female-presenting child & her mom, and a bedtime routine that will be easily relatable for many children, Sanders Diggs (who runs an organization focused on helping children heal from the trauma of CSA called Kids Again Foundation, where the infographic below is from) opens the door to discussions about CSA in a really gentle way that most little kids will understand.
Teaching them that they’re in charge of their body and get to say how or when other people touch it, and that there are circumstances in which they are not just allowed to disobey what other people request of them, but encouraged to do so is how to protect your kids from CSA, step 1 of 90,000. Knowing that there are times where the appropriate response is to “shake my head NO! NO! NO! Before I get up and GO! GO! GO!” is an essential skill for all children to master. There are a lot of ways that predators manipulate small children into allowing/participating in CSA, but one of the main feelings survivors talk about is not knowing that they had the option to say stop, because young children, especially, are conditioned to just.. obey grown-ups. Again, unfortunately, 1/3 of CSA perpetrators are people that the children know, and they’re used to just having to do as the bigger/older person tells them to. Arming kids with the tools to be able to question whether a touch is appropriate or not, or if the abuser is doing something to that they need to talk to their parent/someone they trust about is one of those things we all know we need to do, but also one of those conversations that we sometimes have a hard time figuring out how to start.
Where Hands Go is a great way to start that conversation with your littles.
Thanks to #NetGalley for my digital review copy: Where Hands Go is available now.