Books for children and adolescents
- What Makes a Baby, by Cory Silverberg A great book for parents to read with their children. "What Makes a Baby is a children’s picture book about where babies come from that is written and illustrated to include all kinds of kids, adults, and families. Geared to readers from pre-school to about 8 years old, it teaches curious kids about conception, gestation, and birth in a way that works regardless of whether or not the kid in question was adopted, conceived using reproductive technologies at home or in a clinic, through surrogacy, or the old fashioned way (you know, with two people and some sexual intercourse), and regardless of how many people were involved, their orientation, gender and other identity, or family composition. Just as important, the story doesn't gender people or body parts, so most parents and families will find that it leaves room for them to educate their child without having to erase their own experience." Check out their website and their excellent readers guide.
- Where Did I Come From? and What's Happening To Me? By Peter Mayle. Oldies but goodies! Most parents I mention these to are familiar with them from their own childhood. First published in the 1970s, these cartoon picture books appeal to a wide age-range and cover the basic facts in a fun and humorous way. Great to use as a low-key introduction to bodily changes or if you are struggling to answer the "where did I come from?" question.
- Hair In Funny Places, by Babette Cole. This is an amusing picture book, that is good to share with your child for a giggle. The story takes the form of a conversation between a small girl and her teddy bear, and as long as the child understands that it is not a "realistic" account of puberty, it can be a good way to open up conversations with your child. My main criticism of this book is that it is very heteronormative, and there is one page where the girl says she enjoys the attention her "new body" gets from boys - I think there are better ways of describing the positives of a maturing body!
- Mummy Laid An Egg, by Babette Cole Another amusing book, this time about how babies are created. The children in the book deal with all the myths around conception and explain how babies are REALLY made. Another excellent picture book to share with your child.
- It's Not The Stork! A Book About Girls. Boys, Babies, Bodies, Families and Friends, by Robie Harris A comprehensive "encyclopedia style" book with lots of colourful cartoon drawings. Excellent for dipping in and out of, and answering particular questions children may have.
Older Children and Teens
- My Little Red Book, by Rachel Kauder Nalebuff This is my favourite book to help girls understand how 'normal' periods are. It's also a wonderful read for adults - I read it cover to cover the day I bought it. "My Little Red Book is an anthology of stories about first periods, collected from women of all ages from around the world. Whatever a girl experiences or expects, she'll find stories that speak to her thoughts and feelings. My Little Red Book aims to provide support, entertainment, and a starting point for discussion for mothers and daughters everywhere. Royalties from sales of the book are being donated to charities promoting women's health and education. Let the dialog begin!"
- Cycle Savvy, By Toni Weschler Wonderful book aimed at teen girls, helping them to understand the intricacies and wonders of menstruation. Highly recommended.
- Puberty Girl, By Geoff Price and Puberty Boy, By Shushann Movsessian Full colour, glossy pages. Excellent information, and great for children to pick up and read just a few pages, or read cover-to-cover.