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 known 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.
You may also enjoy these 17 Children’s Books That Defy Gender Stereotypes!
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.
15 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 appropriate 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 respond well to this bright and colorful comic-style book that introduces important information about bodies, gender, and sexuality. Once again, Silverberg presents valuable 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
I have no experience with what puberty is like for people born with a penis, so when dealing with my boys, I need some help. This book is a great resource for explaining to these young people 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 reference 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.
The Gender Wheel: A Story About Bodies and Gender for Every Body by Maya Christina Gonzales
This nonfiction book, best for kids ages 6 and over, explains the concept of gender identity in a way that kids can understand. The Gender Team helps readers understand what our current gender binary system is, and how we can start see people outside of that limiting systems. This book also shows the beauty in a wide range of body types.
I highly recommend adding this book to your collection!
Wait, What?: A Comic Book Guide to Relationships, Bodies, and Growing Up by Heather Corinna and Isabella Rotman
Oni Press sent me a review copy of this book, and I absolutely adored it. It’s an inclusive, sex-positive graphic novel that explores things like gender identity, masturbation, consent, crushes, puberty, and so much more. I love it because it’s so accepting of all gender identities, sexual orientations, and body types, and it explores both the physical and emotional aspects of growing up. It also features a diverse cast of characters who are exploring their own sexual identities. I highly, HIGHLY recommend this book for all kids ages 9 and up. It’s one of the best children’s books about sex and puberty I’ve found.
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.
S.E.X.: The All-You-Need-To-Know Sexuality Guide to Get You Through Your Teens and Twenties (second edition) by Heather Corinna
This excellent book, from one of the authors of Wait, What?, has written another excellent book about sex, this time for kids ages 12 and up. It shares factual information about sex, birth control, and STIs, as well as important guidance around topics like consent, self-image, setting boundaries, identifying abuse, and so much more. This is an excellent, comprehensive guide that teens of all gender identities will benefit from reading.
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.
Consent: The New Rules of Sex Education: Every Teen’s Guide to Healthy Sexual Relationship by Jennifer Lang, MD
As you can guess from the title, this book dives into the topic of consent, in a way that teens can understand. However, this is so much more than a book about consent. It’s a wholistic look at sexual health, and Dr. Lang weaves elements of consent into the overall picture of sexuality that is painted. It’s a fantastic book for kids ages 13 and up, and I think adults can learn a lot from it as well.
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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