Tell Everyone – Break the Silence of Child Abuse

Kim Bushman Aguilar

Written by Kim Bushman Aguilar
Illustrated by Brityn Willis Bennett

Tell Everyone: Break the Silence of Child Abuse is a tool for parents, educators, and community specialists – social workers, first responders, medical personnel, therapists, etc. – to teach children to recognize and report abuse. Tell Everyone teaches children through the use of opposites, defining abusive experiences by comparing and contrasting abuse and kindness, and gives them a voice to share their stories.

Through powerful, simple, repetitive prose and stunning, inclusive watercolor illustrations, Tell Everyone: Break the Silence of Child Abuse is presented in two sections. The first section defines verbal, physical, and sexual abuse by giving examples of how children might experience them. It teaches them that “abuse is NEVER OKAY.” The second section defines verbal, physical, and sexual kindness. By contrasting abuse with kindness, and defining these terms in revolutionary ways, Tell Everyone: Break the Silence of Child Abuse helps children understand what abuse looks like when or if they experience it, empowers them to refuse to keep secrets – TELL EVERYONE what is happening to them – and get the help they deserve.

“As a School Counselor, I cannot say enough about this book. Tell Everyone: Break the Silence of Child Abuse teaches children to distinguish between the intricacies of abuse, powerfully self-advocate by reporting abuse, and recognize appropriate expressions of love and kindness.”—Stephanie Richardson, M.Ed, School Counselor

“This book will be incredibly helpful for parents, caregivers, teachers, and instructors to help them talk to children about the very sensitive topic of abuse. The illustrations are a masterful representation of the principles described and help the child feel comfortable talking about this important topic. I would highly recommend this book and the illustrations in it to be a regular part of helping adults navigate this ever-crucial conversation.”—Sam Richardson, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, and former Senior Family Services Specialist, Child Protective Services

All ages, 11″x8.5″


  1. Philip Van Heusen for Readers’ Favorite

    Abuse of every type is rampant in this world. Kim Bushman Aguilar wants to help end the cycle of abuse. In Tell Everyone: Break the Silence of Child Abuse, Kim defines some of the common types of abuse and then tells readers what to do to stop the abuse. Kim explains that the proper response to abuse or attempted abuse is running and telling. It is not okay to keep secrets involving abuse. No one should be expected to endure abuse. When we open a conversation about abuse, we take the power of the abuser away. Telling is the first step in stopping. Anyone can be abused, and, unfortunately, anyone can be an abuser. Kim covers this and many more details in her book. The good news is that Kim does not just stop at explaining abuse. Instead, she goes on to explain kindness. Too many books about abuse leave children and their parents afraid to interact with anyone. Kim encourages celebrating kindness and telling about abuse. When these two attitudes work together, abuse will stop, and the world will become kinder.

    For her book, Tell Everyone, Kim Bushman Aguilar made an excellent choice in Brityn Willis Bennett as its illustrator. She accomplishes portraying the horror of abuse without being graphic and scary. Kim’s deep desire is that this book will serve to rescue children who are being abused, and even better, keep children from being abused. The way she approaches this delicate subject is with tenderness and compassion. She does not want to make children afraid of everyone, but she desires to help children be safe. Read this book to and with your child, remembering to stop and allow them to ask questions. Be sure to explain thoroughly (at their level) all questions. If some form of abuse is broached in reading this book, contact the authorities. Assure the child that they did not do wrong, and telling is always the correct response. Be supportive of your child.

  2. Reviewed by American Library Association

    Broaching the topic of abuse with children is never easy, but this picture book gives readers, educators, and caregivers developmentally appropriate language to talk about it. Aguilar divides abuse into three areas—verbal, physical, and sexual—and presents short examples of each. She then offers concise, repetitive commands that children can voice and use to get out of abusive situations (e.g., “You stop, / you think, / you turn, / you leave. / You run, you tell! / TELL EVERYONE. / That hurts me!”). In each section, the author also reaffirms that “abuse is NEVER OKAY” and addresses how abuse is never the fault of the victim. Although lackluster, the illustrations reflect children and adults with a wide variety of skin colors as well as individuals using wheelchairs and one child with Down syndrome. In the second half of the book, Aguilar employs the same format but this time contributes examples, shout-outs, and affirmations of verbal, physical, and sexual kindness (emphasizing that the latter is between consenting adults). A list of resources concludes this unfortunately much-needed title.

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