Here at More Than Sex-Ed, we believe that kids can learn to be responsible for their sexuality without shame.
When a child asks "What's happening to my body?", they deserve to have their question answered accurately. And while we know that not every kid going through puberty fits neatly into a standard binary gender box of either pink or blue, as of now, publishers have not stepped up with material that addresses the true level of diversity to include trans and intersex identities. In the meantime, More Than Sex-Ed would love to talk with your group of parents about the fantastic diversity of human sexual identity and help you find accurate language to use with your kids.
But if you need a book right now with reliable information regarding puberty, here is a list of book recommendations, with the caveat that you will also need to say that not all boys have penises, and not all girls have vulvas, clitorises, uteruses, and vaginas. And you should recognize that it's healthy for kids to know about puberty in bodies that are different from their own.
The bestselling series "What's Happening to My Body? : Book for Boys/Girls" by Lynda Madaras, Area Madaras, and Simon Sulivan provides a vast amount of information ranging from body hair, growth spurts, to romantic feelings. With "detailed illustrations and real-life stories throughout, plus an introduction for parents and a helpful resource section," this book is a must have for parents.
For parents of people with ovaries and uteruses in their household, "Period. A Girls' Guide" by JoAnn Loulan, Bonnie Worthen, Marcia Quackenbush, and Chris Wold Dyrud can help start the dialogue around menstruation. Although this text "use diagrams to familiarize readers with the inner workings of their bodies, including what happens during menstruation", it does not discuss puberty and sexuality as thoroughly as "What's Happening to My Body". This book is focused specifically on the topic of menstruation.
Lastly, "The Caring and Keeping of You 2: The Body Book for Older Girls" by Cara Natterson and Josee Masse is a helpful resource book for kids ages 10 and older. Published by American Girl, this book discusses "the physical and emotional changes" as well as peer pressure and personal care. This book, like the other recommendations, promotes responsible education about sexuality without shame.
For more book recommendations on puberty and sexuality, please check out the More Than Sex-Ed Blog!
One of our core values here at More Than Sex-ed is that "knowledge is power and kids have the right to have their questions answered."
For parents who are having trouble starting the dialogue on this topic, here are some book recommendations that make it easier to begin that conversation.
"It's Perfectly Normal" by Robie Harris is a critically acclaimed book that "offers young people the real information they need to make responsible decisions that can help them stay healthy as they approach and experience puberty and adolescence."
Another great title is "Will Puberty Last My Whole Life?" by Julie Metzger, RN, MN, and Robert Lehman, MD . This flip book offers "Straightforward, age-appropriate answers to REAL questions from preteens."
Lastly, "Sex is a Funny Word" by Corey Silverberg has been described by Buzzfeed as "A Total Game-Changer" and "nothing short of revolutionary." The text discusses not only puberty but consent, gender identity and body norms.
Look for these books at your local bookstore or online vendor! Tune in next week for more book recommendations on the topic of Puberty.