Reader Kyle sent us this question:
“What are good sex and body education books for young children? My parents were always very open about such things so we never used books but surely there must be some kick ass ones out there to teach kids the differences between boys and girls!”
I think this is an AWESOME question, and was excited that Ariel inquired with Heather Corinna, publisher of Scarleteen and author of S.E.X.: The All-You-Need-To-Know Progressive Sexuality Guide to Get You Through High School and College.
Heather shot us back an email with a few suggestions for books for kids 7-and-under.
It’s Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health by Robie H. Harris
If you want a kid-friendly book that will teach your children about sexuality and teach them well, look no further. The book begins with a bird and bee who have different feelings about learning about their bodies and sexuality. The book also uses nudity frequently, and illustrates ejaculation, menstruation, pregnancy and birth. As a bonus, the illustrations are all done in colored pencil, which gives it (at least, to me) a light, “your-body-isn’t-a-shameful-thing” kind of feel. Plus, it’s $4 used on Amazon. COME ON.
Those are MY Private Parts by Diane Hansen
I had never realized (mostly because I never had a reason to think about it, I guess) that there are children’s books about sexual abuse until I read about this one. The author, Diane Hansen, heard a convicted child molester describe his tactics on an episode of Oprah (of all places), and the molester said the children that were harder to convince were the ones that realized the danger of the situation. Hansen’s solution? Write a book teaching children that their bodies are THEIRS.
Where Did I Come From? by Peter Mayle
This is a great book for parents who like the ideas behind It’s Perfectly Normal, but not the illustrations and obvious for-children nature of it. Where Did I Come From? is very straight-forward, precise, and written for children in a way that (hopefully) prevents them from becoming embarrassed when talking about sex. As the author states, “We wrote (the book) because we thought you’d like to know exactly where you came from, and how it all happened.”
A Kid’s First Book About Sex by Joani Blank
This is another book reviewed as “very clear and accurate.” Unlike the others, you can’t preview it on Amazon before you buy it, so I can’t tell you exactly what’s inside! I read that there are little to not mentions of pregnancy, but is more focused on being familiar with your body and what healthy forms of touching are.
Everyone Poops by Taro Gomi.
The newspaper and magazine reviews of Everyone Poops all seem hung up on one question–why do we need to KNOW everyone poops? My answer: Why not? Because you know what? Everyone does, and every single toddler I’ve ever met is riveted by the idea. Babies poop in diapers, toddlers use little toilets (we don’t say the starts-with-p-rhymes-with-hottie word in my house), and adults use a big toilet. Animals poop, people poop, and, in short, there is a lot poop out there. The book is supposed to help children transition from diapers to toilets, and also supplies some pretty funny graphics (poop in midair, you guys) for the adults who are reading along.
Mamas, what are your favorite sex education books? For little kids, big kids, or even adults?