God Made All of Me – Justin and Lindsay Holcomb

God Made All of Me
God Made All of Me: A Book to Help Children Protect Their Bodies by Justin Holcomb, Trish Mahoney
Series: God Made Me #1
Published by New Growth Press on September 1, 2015
Genres: Children's, Children's Educational
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five-stars

God Made Every Part of You!
It's easy to convey the message to children that their bodies or particular parts of their bodies are shameful. This misconception fuels confusion, embarrassment, and secrecy, and often prevents children from recognizing or reporting sexual abuse. God Made All of Me is a simply-told, beautifully-illustrated story to help families talk about these sensitive issues with two- to eight-year-old children. Because the private parts of our bodies are private, the home is the ideal environment where a child should learn about his or her body and how it should be treated by others.

Children need to know about private parts. That’s how Justin and Lindsay Holcomb’s book God Made All of Me begins. On the surface, that seems obvious, but past parents really do a poor job of talking with their children about the private areas of their body.

All too often, private parts are treated as dirty or shameful. When a young boy touches himself in public, a parent might slap the child’s hand and say “No, that’s dirty.” I’m all for “don’t touch your penis in public,” but the message you’ve just sent to the child is that there is a part of him that is dirty and shameful. Parents need to know how to balance the message that God Made All of Me with the message that not all of me is to be shared and that not every touch is good.

This is especially important because, as the authors state in their parental preface, One in four women and one in six men will be sexually abused in their lifetime. Go to a park with your kid. Watch the children there playing and let that statistic sink in. It’s absolutely horrifying.

Education is important in preventing inappropriate sexual behavior or contact. Teaching your child to say NO! to unwanted touch (even if it’s just overly-huggy Auntie) is imperative to your child’s safety.

What I loved about this book is that it is positive. The message is “God made all of me and all of me is good.” Another refrain is “Some parts of your body are for sharing and some parts are not for sharing.” Then, one of the most powerful statements in the book: “If OK to say no because we don’t always want to be touched even if it’s by someone you love.”

God Made All of Me teaches the correct anatomical terms for “private parts” and defines them as “the parts covered by your underwear or bathing suit.” This is important because there are so many parents afraid to teach these terms, which just lends a vague uncertainty to an already confusing part of the body.

God Made All of Me teaches children that they are in charge of their bodies. They have the authority to say stop, all done, or no more. It very clearly advocates that children tell their parents of any such times they have felt uncomfortable by a touch. The book ends with a discussion of the difference between secrets and surprises. Secrets are not good. Surprises are. You shouldn’t keep a secret that makes you feel confused or sad.

As a parental addendum, there is a couple pages detailing nine ways to protect children from sexual abuse. It’s complete, comprehensive, and serves as the underlying structure that forms the book. This is perhaps my only concern about the book – not that this part is poorly done, but that it isn’t intended for children. There’s a kid-friendly meat of the book, but the beginning and ending content that is addressed to parents is just that, addressed to parents. I feel that the beginning and end material should have been detachable or come with the book in such a way that children could focus on the child-centric parts without being exposed to the beginning and end.

In all, this is a must-read for your children. It puts big, confusing, and even scary concepts in terms that are easily understood. Perhaps more importantly, it serves as a great example to parents on how to speak to their children on the topic outside the book. Let me be clear: you cannot just read this book to your children and call the job done. This book is a powerful tool in raising safe and healthy kids, but it just the beginning of what should be many conversations about their bodies and about sexuality over their childhood. As a pastor and counselor, God Made All of Me receives my full recommendation.

five-stars

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