It is a good idea to keep some things private, like our computer passwords or our bodies. Other things should be shared with others, such as our feelings.
We all have the right to keep some things private. Knowing what you should and shouldn’t keep private will help to keep you safe.
Respecting Privacy is part of the “Our Values” series which is divided into three levels. Level One is comprised of titles for very young readers; Level Two is designed for elementary school students; and Level Three is for middle schoolers. Level Two books, of which this title is one, contain vibrant background colours, a large simple text font, and abundant full-colour photographs. People of different races and mixed race are featured in the photographs, fostering inclusivity among readers. A table of contents, a brief glossary and an index are included.
Respecting Privacy explains to readers that some things are not meant to be shared with others, that it is important to know what kinds of things should be kept private, and that breaking someone’s trust not only shows a lack of respect but is also detrimental to the relationship. (Disclaimer: the author states that one should never keep private “something that could harm yourself or others, even if someone has asked you to.”) Children have the right to say “no” or to give consent when it pertains to protecting their privacy. Keeping good secrets (e.g. a surprise party) versus bad secrets (something that hurts or makes one feel uncomfortable, angry or sad), staying safe online by not sharing passwords or personal information, and knowing when to talk to a trusted adult about privacy concerns are other topics in this title.
Whether or not the books in this series will be useful in a classroom is debatable. On the plus side, kids will see themselves in the faces of the children in the photos, and the series’ concepts will reinforce what is being taught at home and in the classroom; on the negative side, class discussion and actually “living” the experiences featured in the titles will have far more impact than simply reading about them.
Gail Hamilton is a former teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, Manitoba.