Too Many Hugs: A Book about Consent
written by Yvonne Pearson
illustrated by Maria Burobkina
Bushel and Peck, April 11, 2023
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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.
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 Biting, Voices Are Not for Yelling, Words Are Not for Hurting)