10 children’s books on the ABCs: Anatomy, Boundaries and Consent

Literacy isn't the only type of ABC for young children to learn – now, more than ever, understanding Anatomy, Boundaries and Consent is increasingly important for children to have the tools and language on these topics.

I recently listened to Caroline Ellen explain during a Parents Website webinar about online safety the importance of parents correctly teaching children the names of their anatomy, including genitalia.

This had me wondering: how do we happily teach children that an arm is an arm or an eye is an eye with an eyeball, iris and pupil, but when it comes to genitalia, other nicknames are given? It’s an easy trap to fall into, and one that many parents and carers are possibly not giving too much thought.

A simple reason for teaching anatomically correct names instead of using ‘cute’ euphemisms is medical care. If a child is able to correctly name the part of their body they might be having an issue with, a medical provider can provide treatment more effectively and efficiently.

It also means that nothing will be misunderstood should your child ever need to tell a trusted adult that someone is not respecting their privacy or boundaries.

To aid in this, and because it can still feel like a taboo conversation for some, we’ve created this handy list of books to help teach younger children about their anatomy, boundaries and consent and to hopefully encourage open conversations between parents (and carers) and their children.

Some of these books are very obviously related to these ‘ABCs’ while others are not, but they do give parents and carers the opportunity to start having these conversations with their kids.

It’s never too early to start talking with children about their anatomy, boundaries and consent, and it’s a conversation that should continue into the teenage years. Giving children the language, and confidence, to discuss things that might otherwise be uncomfortable is an important life skill.

Compiled by Natalie Moutafis.

Organisations that can assist

Should you or someone you know have experienced trauma, abuse or neglect the following organisations can assist:

Kids Helpline phone 1800 551 800

Act for Kids phone 1300 228 000

Bravehearts phone 1800 272 831

Lifeline phone 13 11 14

Police Assistance (non-urgent) phone 131 444

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