A new resource is being released today by New Growth Press. I have been privileged to see an advance copy and am excited to share it with you. Sometimes reviewing books brings sadness and grief at the state of the world, and that sin requires certain books to be written. At the same time, I’m very glad God Made All of Me has been written, so that parents and carers have an excellent resource to teach their children about body safety and the appropriate and inappropriate touch of others.
It is written by Justin A. Holcomb and Lindsey A. Holcomb, authors of books such as Rid of My Disgrace and Is it My Fault? which deal with different aspects of abuse for adults.
God Made All of Me is aimed at children aged 2-8, although you could definitely read it to older children, especially if you struggle to talk about these issues in conversation. It is clear and simple, told in a family setting (Mum, Dad, daughter Kayla and son David). It deals with the differences in types of touch and explains to kids that if they don’t like it, don’t want it, or it makes them feel weird, they can say no. They talk about how this even applies to family members, with the implication being if you don’t want an elderly relative to kiss and cuddle you, you don’t have to. Some families will possibly need to talk about this further, depending on various relative’s expectations.
It also draws a clear distinction between secrets and surprises and helps adults think about the language they use. One thing I really liked was the encouragement for kids to keep trying to tell someone if they need to, even if people seem busy (with a picture of Dad reading the paper and Mum having coffee at her laptop!). Then there is the chance to talk with your child about who their ‘safe & strong’ people are – people who they can talk to if they need to – this is a great practical idea and it’s helpful to hear who your kids think are their safe people.
I have only ever seen one other book that talks about these issues, which was very good and was published by Family Planning Queensland. The clear advantage of God Made All of Me, is that it is in a strongly Christian framework talking about how God made all of our bodies.
My note of warning about that book also stays the same for this one: if you have it in your house, do not leave it around for children to read on their own. The front page has sexual assault statistics, and at the end there are notes for parents “9 ways to protect your children from sexual assault”, which could be just too much information, especially for young children. This is definitely a book to read with your children and talk about with them, not just hand to them.
For more details, see the website www.godmadeallofme.com. It's definitely a book worth getting.