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Sexual health: Kids are creative when we haven’t explained enough

Updated 12 July 2016

Kids have lots of questions, and they need parents to provide accurate age-appropriate information. These apps and books are resources that you can review to decide if they are appropriate for your child. If your child has had unhealthly sexual experiences, discuss these decisions with a mental health professional.

What Makes a Baby

Pre-K - Age 8

Reflecting the reality of our modern time, What Makes a Baby by Cory Silverberg and Fiona Smyth teaches curious kids about conception, gestation, and birth in a way that works regardless of whether a child was adopted, conceived using reproductive technologies, born through surrogacy, or made the old fashioned way. Inclusive of every kind of family and every kind of kid, this children’s picture book doesn’t gender people or body parts, leaving parents and families the opportunity to educate their child without erasing their own experience.

Sex is a Funny Word

Ages 8 - 10

Sex is a Funny Word: A Book about Bodies, Feelings, and YOU by Cory Silverberg and Fiona Smyth is a kids’ book about bodies, gender, and sexuality that’s inclusive of children and families of all makeups, orientations, and gender identities.

s.e.x.

Ages 12+

s.e.x.: the all-you-need-to-know sexuality guide to get you through your teens and twenties by Heather Corinna, Founder of Scarleteen.com, is an in-depth, progressive, and inclusive teen and young adult sexuality and relationships guide.

Anatomy Apps

Tinybop’s The Human Body and Visible Body’s My Incredible Body apps provide parents with a way to introduce kids to puberty and the urogenital system in a matter-of-fact way, comparable to the way these apps provide information about the nervous system, respiration, the circulatory system, digestion, the skeletomuscular system, etc. Tinybop, creator of The Human Body, offers many science-oriented apps for kids, and Visible Body, creator of My Incredible Body, makes a variety of other anatomy apps for high school and university biology students.

Note that as of the writing of this article, both of these apps require a one-time $1 in-app purchase to include the urogenital/reproductive system.

Encyclopedic Reference Book Series for Kids

Created in consultation with experts, the following three books by Robie Harris and Michael Emberley cover a wide variety of topics, making each of them great for reading over several sittings and keeping around as a reference. Using plenty of sketches and colorful drawings, the authors have created engaging books that are likely to hold your child’s attention.

It’s Perfectly Normal

Ages 10+

Robie Harris and Michael Emberley recommend It’s Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health for children ages 10 and up to provide kids with comprehensive scientifically-accurate information about sexual health, including:

  • puberty,
  • sex,
  • reproduction,
  • birth control,
  • pregnancy,
  • birth,
  • families,
  • LGBTQ+,
  • the Internet,
  • sexual abuse, and
  • sexually-transmitted infections.

It’s So Amazing!

Ages 7+

After publishing It’s Perfectly Normal, Robie Harris and Michael Emberley authored It’s So Amazing!: A Book about Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies, and Families for childen ages 7 and up to provide younger kids with age-approprite information about the topics covered in It’s Perfectly Normal. In writing this book, Robie Harris visited schools to ask school age kids, ages 10 to 14 or so, what should be in a book on sexual health for younger children. Kids said that even though their parents and teachers might not think so, they do wonder and want to know about almost everything that’s in It’s Perfectly Normal, but not all the details, and less about puberty, and more about babies and how they are made. The authors cover how babies are made in a how-things-work manner, engaging the interest in science that kids’ this age typically have. Using a comic-strip format, making the text concise, and boxing text to make it seem less dense, they have created a book that’s appealing and accessible to beginning or emerging readers. This 84-page book is organized well so that kids, who don’t want to read throough the whole book, can look at only the parts of the book they are interested in.

It’s Not the Stork!

Ages 4 - 6

Robie Harris and Michael Emberley recommend It’s Not the Stork!: A Book About Girls, Boys, Babies, Bodies, Families and Friends for 4-6 year olds. Young children are curious about almost everything. This book answers those endless and perfectly normal questions that preschool, kindergarten, and early-elementary-school children ask about where they came from, how they were made, why their bodies are the same and different from other peoples’ bodies, what makes a girl a girl and a boy a boy, what the names are of all the different parts of their bodies, where babies come from, how babies are made, what a family is—and so many other questions about themselves and their bodies. Consulting with parents, teachers, librarians, nurses, doctors, social workers, psychologists, scientists and clergy, the authors worked to provide answers that are comfortable, reassuring, age-appropriate and scientifically accurate.