When I was a kid, I would’ve rather went to school in my underwear than talk to my parents about sex. It was a topic we just did not discuss. I’ve had three kids and I am still waiting for my parents to have “the talk” with me.
My parents did they best they could, and honestly, I don’t think they knew how to talk about these things. With my own kids, I’ve done my best to make sure they know no topic is off limits in our home, including sex and puberty. And I am thankful that when I haven’t know the exact words to use, a good children’s book about sex or puberty helped me talk about these things in way my kids could understand.
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If you’re looking for positive, inclusive sex and puberty books, this list will be a big help to you. These books deal with everything from periods to gender identity in a way that embraces all types of people and all types of relationships. They’re also age-appropriate, with choices for your preschoolers and your pre-teens.
12 Children’s Books About Sex and Puberty
Books by Robie H. Harris — Educator Robie H. Harris has created an excellent series of books that teach kids of various ages the basics of sex and reproduction. Each book is straightforward and simple, with age-approriate content designed to answer all the questions kids have. The books in this series are:
- It’s Not the Stork — Written for ages 4 and up
- It’s So Amazing — Written for ages 7 and up
- It’s Perfectly Normal — Written for ages 10 and up
What Makes a Baby by Cory Silverberg — Designed for kids in preschool and early elementary grades, this book manages to explain the basics of how babies are made, without being heteronormative or gender exclusive. The bright illustrations keep things light and fun. This is the perfect introduction to “where do babies come from?” and you can then follow it up with the next book on our list…
Sex is a Funny Word by Cory Silverberg — Kids ages 8-10 will love this bright and colorful comic-style book that introduces important information about bodies, gender, and sexuality. Once again, Silverberg presents valueable information in a way that isn’t heteronormative or gender exclusive. This book is an excellent resource for opening up discussions and talking to your kids about these important topics.
The Body Book for Boys by Rebecca Paley — As a woman, I have no experience with what puberty is like for boys. This book is a great resource for explaining to young men what is happening with their bodies as they grow. This book focuses solely on puberty, without any real mention of sex, and it has a passing to interest in “girls,” but in all it’s a well-rounded introduction for kids ages 8 to 12.
The Care and Keeping of You: The Body Book for Younger Girls by Valorie Schaefer — If you have preteen girls with questions about puberty, this is the book to get. This book addresses periods, acne, shaving, and all the other things that come along with growing up. Like, The Body Book for Boys, this book focuses solely on puberty, but it’s really thorough in covering all the emotional and physical changes this stage in life brings. Perfect for kids ages 8 to 12.
The Care and Keeping of You 2: The Body Book for Older Girls by Cara Natterson — This book takes a deeper dive into the issues of puberty, and is great for kids ages 10 and older. Issues covered in this book include body image, using tampons, finding the right bra, mood swings, and relating to your family as you navigate the teen years. Again, this book has a puberty focus, but it’s great for young teens who are ready for more “advanced” information.
Who Are You? The Kid’s Guide to Gender Identity by Brook Pessin-Whedbee — This nonfiction book, designed for kids ages 5 and over, explains the concept of gender identity in a way that kids can understand. It explains the difference between sex and gender, and how some people’s biology doesn’t match their gender identity. This fantastic, inclusive book is perfect for kids who have questions about gender identity, and it has some helpful resources for parents as well.
Celebrate Your Body (and Its Changes, Too!) by Sonya Renee Taylor — Another puberty book for girls! I had to include this one, because it’s so positive and non-judgmental, with accurate and up to date information. I love the inclusive language; it talks about developing feelings for “someone” and avoids assuming gender. I also love how body positive this book is. The author is also the author of the amazing The Body is Not an Apology. This is an excellent book for preteens with a feminist mindset.
Changing Bodies, Changing Lives by Ruth Bell — As our preteens grow into teens, new questions and struggles emerge. This is a great book for both boys and girls, and it covers topics like birth control, sexual orientation, dating, orgasms, abortion, and more. This book is inclusive, honest, sex-positive, and basically the book I wish I would’ve had as a teenager. I highly recommend this for kids ages 13 and older.
Our Bodies, Ourselves by Boston Women’s Health Collective — There’s a reason this book is a classic! This excellent volume about women’s sexual health is really something everyone should read, regardless of gender. This updated version includes information about health care and the barriers women face, tips for making sex both enjoyable and pleasurable, and tips for how we can advocate for policies that improve women’s health and lives. All of this in addition to valuable information about sex, child birth, gender identity, sexual orientation, abortion, body image, and so much more. I highly recommend this book for young women and young men in their teens and 20s.
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