“We Say What’s Okay” Children’s Series Teaches the Concept of Consent

Former preschool teacher Lydia Bowers introduces the concept of consent in her children’s book series.

Inspired by a career as a preschool teacher, author Lydia Bowers focuses on themes of consent through the lens of social-emotional development in her children’s book series. The latest titles hit shelves in Spring 2022—We Ask Permission and We Accept No.

Tell me about your inspiration for this book series.

Just like with any other skill, you can’t be good at [consent] as an adult unless you have a foundation. Consent is a social-emotional skill and a safety tool for children to be able to say no to physical affection. Asking before we touch people, before we give hugs, [and] recognizing non-verbal cues.

What’s the idea behind your latest books coming out this Spring?

So often we hear about violence as a response to rejection: Well, he was turned down or She wouldn’t go to prom with him. What do you do if you’ve asked to hug someone and they’ve told you no? It’s OK to feel sad, it’s OK to be angry. But how do I take the personal responsibility of processing and dealing with that?

What do you hope parents and children learn from the books you’ve written?

We have to allow some grace for ourselves. Most of us didn’t grow up with wonderful, healthy, 100 percent accurate messages about these things. We’re all learning. We’re all growing. I will go in for a hug and my child says You’re supposed to ask first. And I’ll say, You’re right! We’re going to mess up sometimes and we keep trying.

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