Book Review for CSAAM – Deeptha.
Books are your best friends. Especially when it comes to dealing with a topic as sensitive as child abuse. Several titles have been published about how to help young children recognize and deal with abuse. I have picked three that have most appealed to me, across age-groups: pre-school, primary and middle school and reviewed them as part of CSA Awareness Month.
Your Body Belongs to You: Cornelia Spelman | Teri Weidner
Ages: 2 to 4
This book is ideal to introduce the concept of touch to a very young child. The gentle illustrations and simple text encourage a child to establish boundaries about their bodies. A powerful portion of the book is where private parts are defined as ‘the parts that are covered by a bathing suit.’ For a child of 3 years, this can be a supremely empowering. The book inculcates assertiveness by helping them with words they can use when they do not feel like a hug or a kiss even from someone they love. It also conveys the strong message that they must not keep secrets about being touched inappropriately.
Written by Cornelia Maude Spelman, a former therapist, this book is timeless in its appeal and is a must-read for parents of toddlers and young children.
My Private Parts are Private!: A Guide for Teaching Children about Safe Touching : Robert D. Edelman | Selena Carter
Ages: 5 and up
‘My Private Parts Are Private!’ can be read by parents and caregivers to children to explain to them what safe touch is. Written by Robert D. Edelman, a licensed mental health counselor, it cuts across ethnic backgrounds and races while telling children the importance of protecting their bodies. The most important aspect of the book is its focus on enabling children to say “No!” and “Don’t touch me!” assertively to anyone.
The breezy question-answer format encourages children to connect with their feelings about touching, examines their choices and teaches them when to get help. Adults and children can work together through this book, while dealing with the topic of abuse, in a manner that diminishes fear and embarrassment but encourages free and open communication.
Children also learn that it is never their fault, which sets the tone for the healing process. The illustrations are brilliant and often elicit a giggle and a laugh.
“Can you spot it?” is a fun exercise that keeps children engaged and clued-in if they get a bit distracted or feel anxious at any point.
The Kid Trapper Paperback : Julia Cook | Cynthia Brundage
Ages: 8 and up
This book brings to the fore the presence of ‘acquaintance molesters’ who are often the reason in most cases of abuse. It teaches children how to recognize the ploys that these perpetrators use and deal with them effectively. While it is difficult to broach the subject of suspected abuse, The Kid Trapper gives caregivers, parents and children the power and strength to do it.
The illustrations are beautifully done in a manner that will not intimidate and the language is simple enough to be understood by children of all ages.
Written by Julia Cook, a Master’s degree holder in Elementary School Counseling, this book speaks right to the heart of the victim, encouraging them to come to terms with the episode while teaching the others to be more watchful.