Louise Spilbury and Mirella Mariani, It's My Body: A Book about Body Privacy

Franklin Watts, 2018, ISBN 978-1-4451-6167-9

This is an important and valuable book on a crucial topic. It's My Body provides simple guidelines for children about how to keep their bodies healthy, how to distinguish between appropriate and inappropriate touching, and what to do about touching that feels wrong. The tone is positive. The opening words for example are 'Every body is amazing! Bodies come in all different shapes, sizes and colours, but they are all brilliant.' The next few pages cover issues like healthy eating, exercise and sleep. Then the focus turns to touching. Some touching feels good, like a goodnight kiss or holding hands with someone you care about when crossing the road. But sometimes you may not feel like being hugged or kissed or tickled. 'It's OK to say no, even to somebody you love. Your body belongs to you.' Pinching, punching and hurting are never okay. Tell an adult you trust so they can sort it out. There is a clear explanation of private parts, with explicit statements that other people should not touch these, except in very specific situations, such as at the doctor's. It's not okay either for other people to show you their private parts or to ask to be touched there. Some secrets are good, like a birthday present, but secrets that are upsetting should be shared. Your trusted grown-up will help you. 'You get to choose what happens to your body and no one else ... Your body belongs to you and it's yours for life.' This is followed by a double-page spread about how to get help if you don't feel you can tell an adult you know, with details of how to contact Childline. There is also guidance for parents, carers and teachers on using the book with children and helping them understand the issues, plus links to further information.

A very impressive book that explores difficult issues clearly and sensitively and provides vital practical information and advice. It never scare-mongers, instead aiming to empower children. 'It's your body and you have the power to keep it safe and healthy and happy.' The colourful, attractive and inclusive illustrations throughout complement the text admirably. Recommended for classrooms and libraries and homes. This will be an extremely useful aid to important discussions.