Sometimes a book about consent is not overly realistic. Or at least, I should say it is not like I have or other people I know have experienced. Of course, someone could be harassing you regularly, or assault you/touch/act towards you in an aggressively/uncomfortable manner, but most of the time the actions are “innocent,” but inappropriate. And Connor Kissed Me takes more of that approach.
The story (coming mid-September 2023) that Zehava created is simple. Connor kisses Miriam. She does not want to be kissed. And she tells the playground monitor, who tells her to play “over there.” Her best friend says, “Ew” and the teacher moves Miriam’s seat. Her bus driver thinks, “puppy love,” and her mother asks, “Did you want Connor to kiss you? No? Then you tell him that.” And yes, it is a case of Connor likes Miriam and really it is innocent, but of course, if she does not want a kiss, you don’t kiss!
I like the realism of this situation, as I was able to relate. He didn’t kiss me, but “My Connor” did pull my braids. Thankfully I had a nice sturdy set. He pulled them, I swung my head/hair and his face (granted accidently, as I am not into hurting people. Unless they ask nicely) was slapped and that was the last time I remember him doing that. But when most adults heard, their response was, “Oh he has a crush on you!”
Thankfully we are moving away from that, and with this book we are finding a way to present the idea of consent and body anatomy to the younger crowd (strong preschool to about second grade would work well. Though the picture book format could turn some readers off). And the lightness, but strongly bold colors and minimal details to the illustrations of Sarah K. Turner, works to help keep it “safe” and for that crowd. Now, they might not have “done it” for me (though I like the way they have her say No, when talking to her mom), but they work for the story and that is a big plus.
I do not have a clever ending, so I will just say, “That’s all, folks!”