Simon the Hugger loves hugs but in this sensitively written picture book he learns about how and when it’s appropriate to hug his friends. This beautifully illustrated picture book about consent can help children learn that it’s ok to protect their personal space.
The Story: Simon, a very lovable sloth, hugs everyone and everything – even himself! But one day his friend Elsa doesn’t want to hug him goodbye, Trixy doesn’t want a hug after she wins a competition and when Simon hugs baby Bingo at a party he is confused when she says no. Simon is devastated so he makes a sign saying Please Hug Me. But then Porcupine comes along…
Porcupine’s arrival causes Simon to consider whether he wants to be hugged and leads him to the realisation that it’s important to ask before offering a hug. He also realises that it’s fine to say no if you don’t want a hug and he puts his new theory to the test when Elsa injures herself.
Ana Sebastián’s animal illustrations are awesome and we love the way that she captures different emotions through their expressions and body language. The illustration showing all the animals is our favourite. We love the crocodile hiding behind the tree!
At the end of the book is a page of suggestions as to how you can talk to a child about the story and gives examples of questions and responses that a child can use if they feel uncomfortable hugging.
Simon the Hugger can also be used to stimulate classroom discussions about asking for consent when you want to give or receive a hug. The story can be used to demonstrate the fact that asking before hugging is totally appropriate and that saying no to physical contact is also ok and shouldn’t cause offence.
Age Range: 3+
Thank you to Suzy Senior for sending a review copy of Simon the Hugger.