For getting the conversation started.


"Sex" is often the first word that comes to mind when the subject of consent arises. However, as the author points out, the yes/no of sex is just one type of consent. Consent includes decision-making power, freedom of choice, communications, and other pieces of our everyday life. 

The author speaks directly to the reader, recognizes that consent is both easy and hard to understand, and explains the concepts in ways that make sense to young readers. He also acknowledges that this may not be a book for everyone. The author repeatedly explains and gives a fair warning when the subject of sex is going to be discussed. In fact, there is only 1 chapter on sexual consent.

Parent Perspective:
Although written for young readers, the concepts in this book are ones adults need and may not have learned in their younger years. I like the way the author speaks to young readers. His tone is conversational, yet detailed, empathetic, and action-oriented. He makes it clear upfront that some readers may find his book uncomfortable and that they should not feel compelled to read it. Who does that? An author who understands his subject AND his audience!

The bright colors and large call-outs will draw readers to key ideas quickly. His examples help young readers script their responses to difficult situations (e.g., someone is trying to make you feel guilty for your choice). There is something to be said for a book, sized to fit in your backpack. That said, I found the pages too busy and I think that will deter readers who struggle with "text density" and information overload. The pizza analogy was good for a while, but then it got stale. Very stale.

Overall, this is a valuable, helpful book for young readers trying to figure out how to stand on their own in the world. I would recommend it for teen book clubs or as a parent-teen read.

Reader Enjoyment Factors:

This is for teens, young adults, and adults (!) who want to more fully understand the concepts of consent.

Content Awareness Factors:

The book includes a section on sex and sexual consent. The author notes up front - and repeatedly reminds readers - that (a) he will let them know BEFORE he talks about sex; and (b) they don't have to read that.

Type of Book:
This is a nonfiction book about the concept of consent: what it is, what it is not, and how it is part of our daily lives. It also offers how-to's for helping teens navigate difficult situations.
Educational Themes:

This book is designed in a way that can guide discussions. There are role-play opportunities as well as questions that can start conversations. 

Reading Level:
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
14 and Up
Recommended Age To Read Together:
12 and Up
Purchase Recommendation:
Borrow first. This is an engaging book and one that teens could come back to. However, the format may not be a good fit for them.

Title Can We Talk About Consent?: A Book about Freedom, Choices, and Agreement
Author Justin Hancock
Publisher Frances Lincoln Children's Books © 2021
Illustrators Fuchsia MacAree
ISBN 9780711256569
Material Paperback
Cost $14.99
Genres Social Issues
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