Yes! No!: A First Conversation about Consent (First Conversations)
Based on the research that race, gender, consent, and body positivity should be discussed with toddlers on up, this read-aloud board book series offers adults the opportunity to begin important conversations with young children in an informed, safe, and supported way.
Developed by experts in the fields of early childhood development and activism against injustice, this topic-driven book offers clear, concrete language and imagery to introduce the concept of consent. This book serves to normalize and celebrate the experience of asking for and being asked for permission to do something involving one’s body. It centers on respect for bodily autonomy, and reviews the many ways that one can say or indicate “No.”
While young children are avid observers and questioners of their world, adults often shut down or postpone conversations on complicated topics because it’s hard to know where to begin. Research shows that talking about issues like race, gender, and our bodies from the age of two not only helps children understand what they see, but also increases self-awareness, self-esteem, and allows them to recognize and confront things that are unfair, like discrimination and prejudice.
These books offer a supportive approach that considers both the child and the adult. Illustrative art accompanies the simple and interactive text, and the backmatter offers additional resources and ideas for extending this discussion.
Jessica Ralli is the Coordinator of Early Literacy Programs at Brooklyn Public Library, where she develops and manages programming for BPL’s award-winning First Five Years initiative. She has written about early literacy and library services for young children in School Library Journal (where she co-authors the “First Steps” column with Rachel G. Payne) and has presented on play-based learning at the American Library Association Conference, Young Child Expo, and the Bank Street Center for Children’s Literature.
Megan Pamela Ruth Madison is a lifelong student of radical Black feminism and an early childhood educator. She holds an MS in early childhood education from Dominican University and a BA in studies in religion from the University of Michigan. She is currently pursuing her PhD at Brandeis University’s Heller School for Social Policy. When she’s not working on finishing up her dissertation, she works as a trainer for the Center for Racial Justice in Education, the Human Root, and the New York Early Childhood Professional Development Institute, facilitating workshops for teachers on race, gender, and sexuality.
Isabel Roxas is an author/illustrator, micro-publisher, ceramicist, and avid reader. She was born in Manila, Philippines, and was raised on luscious mangoes, old wives’ tales, and monsoon moons. She now works in the backroom of an art gallery in Manhattan where she writes and illustrates stories, designs books, and creates small objects in clay and resin. Her illustrator credits include picture books Hello Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly (2018 Newbery medal winner), Let Me Finish! by Minh Lê (named an NPR Best Book of 2016) and Day at the Market by May Tobias-Papa (2010 winner of the Philippine National Book Award).
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