What Does Consent Really Mean? – Pete Wallis & Thalia Wallis

Illustrations – Joseph Wilkins

This graphic novel is a great introduction to a vitally important topic. I wish something similar had been available when I was growing up. I’d love to see it provided to students during sex ed classes in schools. The graphic novel format is much more inviting than the photocopied notes that were painfully plentiful last century when I was at school.

The discussion questions and resources at the end would be useful as a jumping off point to aid teachers in facilitating classroom discussions. I could see this book being used by parents to help them bring up this topic with their children and also to inform parents about the issues that affect kids today that they may not have had to deal with when they were growing up due to changes in technology. Even school leavers may find this book useful as issues surrounding consent don’t magically disappear once you reach adulthood.

This book dispels many myths surrounding what is and isn’t consent in a clear, conversational way. There are some parts that read more like adults talking than teenagers but I’m not sure this can be completely avoided. By touching on various scenarios relevant to consent, including perspectives of males and females, and making the point that the need for consent is the same regardless of a person’s sexuality, this book gives the reader enough of an overview to be able to apply what they’ve read to scenarios they may face in their own lives (or bring clarity to what they may have already experienced).

One of the resources listed at the end of the book is a YouTube video that explains consent so well that I think it complements this book perfectly.

Content warnings include sexual assault.

Thank you very much to NetGalley and Jessica Kingsley Publishers for the opportunity to read this book.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

“Consent is not the absence of ‘NO’, it is an enthusiastic YES!!”

While seemingly straightforward, Tia and Bryony hadn’t considered this subject too seriously until it comes up in conversation with their friends and they realise just how important it is.

Following the sexual assault of a classmate, a group of teenage girls find themselves discussing the term consent, what it actually means for them in their current relationships, and how they act and make decisions with peer influence. Joined by their male friends who offer another perspective, this rich graphic novel uncovers the need for more informed conversations with young people around consent and healthy relationships.

Accompanying the graphics are sexual health resources for students and teachers, which make this a perfect tool for broaching the subject with teens.

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