Books tackle tough topics

Talking to kids about health, safety and sometimes even sports doesn’t necessarily come naturally to parents. Thank goodness for creative writers! This month, we’ll help you cover some tricky topics, including personal safety and strategies for starting — and even struggling with — sports (from a precocious little girl’s perspective).


Miles Is the Boss of His Body

Inappropriate touching isn’t easy to define, especially if you’re a kid. This book does it beautifully without going to dark places. It’s Miles’ 6th birthday. And, because everyone is focused on him, everyone is touching him — tickling, hugging, lifting, pinching, grabbing, patting. No one really means to bother him — except his big brother, who gives him “birthday boogies” — but it all gets to be too much. And Miles gets mad. Then he feels confused. Why can’t people respect his space? 

It turns out, they can. And he learns, in the end, to assert himself and truly be the boss of his body. 

Written by Abbie Schiller and 

Samantha Kurtzman-Counter

Illustrated by Valentina Ventimiglia



Shelly Bean the Sports Queen

Minnesota-based first-time author Shelly Boyum-Breen has launched a series of beginning-reader picture books designed to inspire girls and boys to try a variety of sports. Geared toward ages 4 to 9, these books show not only how fun sports are — including ice hockey, basketball and baseball — but also that learning them takes time, practice and a desire to keep on trying. Each book includes well-done glossaries, plus how-to tips and illustrations in the back, so they actually teach sports tricks, too!  

Written by Shelly Boyum-Breen

Illustrated by Marieka Heinlen



A Little Book About Safety 

Hugo the hippo isn’t just adorable. He’s also the perfect little guy to follow around during a day at the community pool with his family. Hugo’s safety readiness is put to the test in a variety of situations, including covering up private parts when changing, paying attention to your gut’s “uh-oh” feeling and remembering to check first with a “safe adult” before going anywhere unexpected. This book is available by itself or as part of a three-book set, Little Books About Important Things ($29.95), covering safety, friendship and feelings. 

Learn more at

Written by Abbie Schiller and Samantha Kurtzman-Counter 

Illustrated by Francois Grumelin-Sohn, Laura Sicouri, Martin Carolo