Book Review – My Little Body Book – Keeping Ourselves Safe
“My Little Body Book – Keeping Ourselves Safe”, written and illustrated by Shruti Singhal is a refreshing keeper of a book. Published by Young Zubaan, an imprint of Zubaan Publishers, this book helps you to empower your kids, by naming private parts and by dealing with safe and unsafe touches.
What is the book about?
Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) is a globally prevalent form of abuse, and can occur in a variety of settings – home, school or work (child labour is still common world-over). It is of paramount importance to talk to children about knowing their bodies, loving and valuing their bodies and above all, trusting their intuitions to enable them to seek help and intervention, if and when needed.
This is where a book like ““My Little Body Book – Keeping Ourselves Safe” assists. The book introduces a boy character, Vihaan and a girl character, Avni of a family. While acknowledging all similarities between boys and girls, it also talks about the physical differences between boys and girls – that their private parts are different and actually names the private parts by their actual names. The book goes on to say why we wear underwear and clothes in a manner that is easily understood by little kids.
Moving on, it broaches the topic of safe touch and unsafe touch, appropriately associating them with feelings so that kids understand that a discussion about body parts or a touch, received or given, that makes them feel confused, sad or uncomfortable is never alright. Shruti also defines who a trusted adult is, in the simplest of ways that a child can understand, and tells kids to approach their trusted adult whenever they feel unsafe, while also emphatically letting kids know, that none of anything that happened is their fault.
What we liked:
The book teaches the young ones to value and love their bodies, with a basic concept of biological differences, good and bad touch, bodily autonomy, and dealing with unsafe or uncomfortable touches or situations.
What we wished had been covered:
We wish the book had covered the concept of explicit consent, where a child is taught that they have to be asked before being touched or that they have to ask others before touching them, which teaches them more firmly that they have bodily autonomy. Also, the book is aimed at a cis-gendered audience, and doesn’t explore the fact that gender and sex are different.
The publishers’ age recommendation is 5+, however, we, at the Nestery feel that a 3+ child would also understand the concepts of this book.