Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to sexual abuse. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about sexual abuse.
Our list includes picture books and chapter books. Picture books are generally great options for toddlers and for preschool and kindergarten age children. Picture books are especially enjoyable for adults to read aloud with young kids. The chapter books on our list are generally best for elementary through early middle school age tween kids. You can filter to sort by the best book type for your kid.
When it comes to children’s stories about sexual abuse, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like Not in Room 204 to popular sellers like To Kill a Mockingbird to some of our favorite hidden gems like My Body Belongs to Me from My Head to My Toes.
We hope this list of kids books about sexual abuse can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book!
One of the most cherished stories of all time, To Kill a Mockingbird has been translated into more than forty languages, sold more than forty million copies worldwide, served as the basis for an enormously popular motion picture, and was voted one of the best novels of the twentieth century by librarians across the country. A gripping, heart-wrenching, and wholly remarkable tale of coming-of-age in a South poisoned by virulent prejudice, it views a world of great beauty and savage inequities through the eyes of a young girl, as her father—a crusading local lawyer—risks everything to defend a black man unjustly accused of a terrible crime.
An informational picture book that provides children with confidence about accepting and rejecting physical contact from others is an invaluable resource that can help give children a voice in uncomfortable situations.
“My secret sits at the back of my throat like a balled-up spider. I don’t like it there. Who would? Spider secrets are the worst. For a whole year, I’ve been trying to figure out a way to get this one out, but I’m afraid if I move, that secret might stretch out its legs and crawl down my throat, all the way to my stomach where I’ll never be able to reach it.” Novalee starts the fourth grade determined to not just make friends but to change herself from boring Nova into super Nova. Her mom finds her grandfather’s violin, and Nova decides to take lessons. It seems to work as Nova finds acceptance for her growing skill. But her world soon tumbles out of control when her violin teacher does something that threatens her universe: he kisses her. She makes an unlikely friendship with a fellow outcast, Toby, who helps her find the courage, voice, and persistence to confront the spider secret.
A candid and fierce middle grade novel about sisterhood and sexual abuse, by Newbery Honor winner and #1 New York Times best seller Kimberly Brubaker Bradley.
Ten-tear-old Della has always had her older sister, Suki: When their mom went to prison, Della had Suki. When their mom’s boyfriend took them in, Della had Suki. When that same boyfriend did something so awful they had to run <i>fast,</i> Della had Suki. Suki is Della’s own wolf–her protector. But who has been protecting Suki? Della might get told off for swearing at school, but she has always known how to keep quiet where it counts. Then Suki tries to kill herself, and Della’s world turns so far upside down, it feels like it’s shaking her by the ankles. Maybe she’s been quiet about the wrong things. Maybe it’s time to be loud.
In this powerful novel that explodes the stigma around child sexual abuse and leavens an intense tale with compassion and humor, Kimberly Brubaker Bradley tells a story about two sisters, linked by love and trauma, who must find their own voices before they can find their way back to each other.
Iggy has an important job to do. The true story of Iggy, a special dog who helps kids navigate difficult times. When children disclose abuse, they often navigate an unfamiliar chain of events, sometimes testifying in court. Iggy is a specially trained facilitator dog, and his job is to make each child he meets comfortable with the job they have to do. Iggy eases their path with his gentle, non-judgmental friendship. He can be present for police interviews, counseling sessions, court preparation, and testifying. He helps children aged three to eighteen feel more comfortable and confident. It’s a big job, but not too big for a dog with an even bigger heart.
Let's Talk About Body Boundaries, Consent and Respect: Teach children about body ownership, respect, feelings, choices and recognizing bullying behaviors - Teaching young children about body boundaries, both theirs and others, is crucial to a child's growing sense of self, their confidence and how they should expect to be treated by others. A child growing up knowing they have a right to their own personal space, gives that child ownership and choices as to what happens to them and to their body. It is equally important a child understands, from a very young age, they need to respect another person's body boundary and ask for their consent when entering their personal space. This book explores these concepts with children in a child-friendly and easily-understood manner, providing familiar scenarios for children to engage with and discuss. It is important that the reader and the child take the time required to unpack each scenario and explore what they mean both to the character in the book, who may not be respecting someone's body boundary, and to the character who is being disrespected. It is through these vital discussions that children will learn the meaning of body boundaries, consent and respect. Learning these key social skills through such stories as 'Let's Talk About Body Boundaries, Consent and Respect' and role-modelling by significant adults can, importantly, carry forward into a child's teenage years and adult life.
Chirp - [A] deftly layered mystery about family, friendship, and the struggle to speak up. - Laurie Halse Anderson, bestselling author of Speak and Shout
Under Our Clothes - This illustrated nonfiction picture book by child psychologist Dr. Jillian Roberts introduces children to the topics of bodies, body safety and body image through a conversation-based story that begins with an observation at the community pool. Modesty, privacy and boundaries are discussed, along with how self-image is formed and how some people are more sensitive than others–sometimes at different stages in their lives. Relevant themes around body shaming, body positivity and self-esteem building are explored, with a final call to action empowering children to build their own confidence and speak up when something doesn’t feel right. The World Around Us series introduces children to complex cultural, social and environmental issues that they may encounter outside the comfort of their homes, in a way that is straightforward and accessible. Sidebars offer further reading for older children who have bigger questions or care providers looking for more information. For younger children, the simple question-and-answer format of the main text will provide a foundation of knowledge on the subject matter. This is the newest title in The World Around Us series, following books that address poverty, tragedy, prejudice and online awarenessand environemental stewardship.
Not in Room 204 - Mrs. Salvador is one tough teacher. But Regina Lillian Hadwig, a very quiet student, doesn’t mind. She likes the order and discipline Mrs. Salvador expects. At a report card conference, Mrs. Salvador tells Regina’s mom that Regina is doing a great job, but that she is very quiet. “Are you quiet at home, like you are in school?” Mrs. Salvador asks Regina. And Regina thinks of the secret she keeps so quiet—the one even her mom doesn’t know, about the secret things her father does. “Yes, I’m quiet at home, too,” says Regina. “Maybe we can work on that,” says Mrs. Salvador. When Mrs. Salvador reads a book about Stranger Danger, she emphasizes one thing—that the person doing the inappropriate touching might not be a stranger at all. It might be someone a child knows very well. Will Regina find the courage to tell Mrs. Salvador her terrible secret?
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