I Can Say No

Help Kids Protect Boundaries and Build Confidence


SKU: D321-Net

In I Can Say No, Jenny Simmons teaches children the power of the word “no.” Whether it’s saying no to bullying or someone invading their personal space or simply to playing with a friend when they need some alone time, children learn that they can use their voice to stand up for what is good in the world, and good for themselves.

I learned a little word,
And even though it’s small,
When I use it with authority,
I’m the strongest of them all!


That’s right. I can say NO.

I can say no to a movie I don’t like. I can say no if I’m not into riding bikes. I can say no if I want to be alone, Or I’m feeling kind of tired and would rather stay at home.

As parents and educators, we often teach children to use the word “no” when they are in danger or when someone is trying to harm them. But “no” is powerful in other areas of life, as well. Learning to say “no” without feeling guilty or needing to explain themselves gives children the power to protect their boundaries, energy, convictions, and time. Saying “no” also allows them to create space for saying “yes” to the things that matter most. By teaching children how to use this small but mighty word, they will be able to face life with confidence, independence, and a positive sense of self-worth!

Written by Jenny Simmons
Illustrated by Kristin Sorra
Paperback ISBN 9781937870775
Grades 2-5
32 pages
Release Date March 4, 2021

Additional information






National Center for Youth Issues

Jenny Simmons is a dynamic storyteller who champions self-transformation in students and adults. She is an accomplished singer/songwriter, the author of two books on personal growth and grief, and serves as a Chaplain working alongside students every day. Jenny has been traveling the country for two decades performing and teaching students and adults how to cultivate a life of hope, resiliency and creativity. A former people-pleaser and mom of two daughters, Jenny is passionate about equipping and empowering children to use their voices in ways that establish honest, compassionate boundaries. She lives with her family in Nashville, Tennessee.

Zuri has a message to share about her superpower; it comes in the form of a small word made up of two letters that when joined together can change the course of life events: No. Cleverly fashioned, thought-provoking rhyme and verse communicate the power that comes with saying “no.” Various quasi graphic-novel-designed scenes that includes a full array of a multiracial and multicultural cast and a fearlessly declarative centerfold highlight ways that saying “no” builds dignity and respect for self and others. Tips included at the book’s closure.

Midwest Book Review

LOVE this book. I’ve used it with students working on self-esteem and confidence, but it’s so much more than that. It gives examples of how to voice “no” as an opinion, if there is an injustice (LOVE that this is becoming a common mention in books), if someone is too close, if you are unsafe, and so much more. It explains how to say no in different ways, including respectfully, and when it’s not ok to say no. I honestly can’t say enough great things about this book! This skill is definitely needed and missing from the social-emotional library.

Kylie Parpart
School Social Worker

I absolutely recommend this book for K-5th grade classroom lessons on personal safety, self-confidence, setting healthy boundaries, and assertiveness. It would complement a bullying prevention unit well, too! This book truly is a must-have and a gift for educators that has been needed for a long time.

Laura Oathout
School Counselor

Saying no is hard for kids and adults (I used to have this problem). Understanding the reason why it’s hard to say no is the first step in empowering people to use their voices! I love this book. It’s an amazing book to read and discusses times when it’s okay and not okay to say no for kids. I read it and was like yes! Yes to saying no!

Nita Creekmore
Elementary Instructional Coach


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