Can We Talk About Consent?: A Book About Freedom, Choices, and Agreement

Quarto/Frances Lincoln. Jan. 2021. 160p. pap. $14.99. ISBN 9780711256569.
Gr 7 Up–A UK-based sex and relationship educator teaches readers how to respect the feelings and opinions of others while safely expressing their own. The concept of personal agency is explained in a lively, inclusive manner. The well-organized structure allows the text to adopt a conversational flow; the narrative feels like a private chat with a trusted, friendly counselor. The chapters are clearly labeled and the graphics are informative. From “Negotiating a Greeting” to peer pressure, controlled substances, gender, sex, and politics, all topics feature advice on how to be assertive while acknowledging that everyone is unique. Hancock includes trigger warnings before possibly unsettling content appears. MacAree’s colorful illustrations depict a diverse range of ethnicities, skin tones, and physical abilities. The vibrant art has an upbeat youthfulness, and easy-to-understand analogies pull from daily life activities like ordering a pizza or choosing what to watch on television. Hancock breaks down complicated concepts into a concise and humorous format. Throughout, Hancock emphasizes that if readers are not comfortable with any topic, then it’s perfectly acceptable to skip it. A glossary and a resource list are included.
VERDICT This timely and important book should be read by tweens, teens, and adults.

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