Why more children’s books are tackling sexual harassment and abuse

New York Times. Stories involving consent and violence are important for some preteens to read, writers say, but a sensitive approach and a light touch are key.

When Kate Messner read the testimonies of the gymnasts abused by Larry Nassar, she was struck by his behavior early on: giving the girls little gifts and back rubs, or sending them private texts.

It got her thinking. “What if we could teach kids to recognize this and speak up, and tell us when someone made them uncomfortable?” she said. “And then, what if we really listened?”

The idea informed Messner’s latest novel, “Chirp,” about a young gymnast reckoning with the inappropriate behavior of an assistant coach during a summer at her grandmother’s cricket farm. “There’s no explicit sexual assault in the story,” since it is written for 10- to 14-year-olds, she said. “It’s all what we would look at, what experts would look at, and say, ‘That’s somebody grooming a child.’”

Read the full article at: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/17/books/childrens-books-middle-grade-metoo-sexual-abuse.html