Too Many Hugs: A Book about Consent

writ­ten by Yvonne Pear­son
illus­trat­ed by Maria Burobki­na
Bushel and Peck, April 11, 2023
ISBN:  978–1‑6381–9148‑3

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Too Many Hugs


In this adorable—but important—book on con­sent, Theo teach­es his fam­i­ly about the need for respect and per­son­al bound­aries. After a day of too many hugs, he writes five rules for hug­ging and puts them on the refrig­er­a­tor. When Grand­ma comes in for a smack­ing, smooching hug, she sees the rules and stops. “How about a hug?” she asks. Theo is hap­py to say, “YES!” 

Why does con­sent mat­ter? Research shows that help­ing kids learn to take charge of their bod­ies and decide for them­selves what is wel­come (or unwel­come) touch is a crit­i­cal step to empow­er­ing them against abuse. Asking—not demanding—a hug from chil­dren teach­es them that they mat­ter as peo­ple and that they are as deserv­ing of respect as a grownup. 

Too Many Hugs is a fun­ny, pow­er­ful way to get that life-chang­ing les­son started. 

illustration from Too Many Hugs
illus­tra­tion copy­right © Maria Burobki­na, from Too Many Hugs, Bushel and Peck


When he feels over­hugged, Theo takes action … The impor­tant mes­sage about bod­i­ly auton­o­my is clear­ly stat­ed and fur­ther artic­u­lat­ed for par­ents in the back­mat­ter … giv­en that all chil­dren should learn to ask before giv­ing a hug and to expect the same from oth­ers, it’s one that many lit­tle ones will ben­e­fit from read­ing. (Kirkus Reviews)

How many hugs is too many? Theo knows—because his body tells him so. In Too Many Hugs, Yvonne Pear­son intro­duces young chil­dren and their fam­i­lies to some of the com­plex­i­ties of con­sent. Read­ers see that some­times even the most lov­ing hugs feel too tight or may not be want­ed in the first place. As Theo’s emo­tions build, he fig­ures out a way to solve his prob­lem and help his fam­i­ly under­stand his needs. The story’s gen­tle humor and warm, friend­ly illus­tra­tions make this book a wel­come SEL tool for homes and class­rooms. Tips at the end of the book extend the con­ver­sa­tion and offer prac­ti­cal tools for care­givers. (Eliz­a­beth Verdick, author of the “Best Behav­ior” series, Teeth Are Not for Bit­ingVoic­es Are Not for YellingWords Are Not for Hurt­ing)