6 Books About Sex for Toddler to Teen
My mom gave me my first-ever book about human sexuality, and it was wonderful for three reasons: 1. Reading about sex was fun; 2. I learned some really useful things; 3. My mom had given me a pretty clear sign that she was comfortable with me learning about sex.
Sex Ed books for kids can help provide answers to their questions and prompt further discussion with parents and caregivers. As a parent, they’ve helped me develop child-friendly language so that I can talk to my own kid about sex without totally going over his head.
These are six of my favourite sex-ed books. They range in suitability from toddler right up to teen and cover a wide subject range.
What Makes A Baby by Cory Silverberg
Suitable for: Toddlers and up
I love this book because...
One of the first sex-related questions many children ask is “where do babies come from”? Sex educator, Cory Silverberg has created a book that explains conception, pregnancy and birth in a simple, concrete way that young children can easily understand. But what makes this book extra-special is the way the story works for children who come adoptive, single-parent, poly-parent, foster, multi-generational, gender diverse, sexually diverse and traditional families. "What Makes A Baby" is a book for every child who wants to know how they came to be.
Also? Fiona Smyth’s illustrations are magic. Her whimsical characters rendered in bright colours make every page an attention grabber.
Nonnie Talks About Gender by Mary Jo Podgurski
Suitable for: Kindergarten and up
I love this book because...
I had the privilege of meeting educator, Dr. Mary Jo Podgurski at a recent conference and I instantly fell in love with her. She’s open, warm and exceptionally wise when it comes to sex ed stuff. So I admit, a big part of me loves this book, because I have a huge professional crush on the woman who wrote it.
I also love the book because I know gender is not vulva=girl, penis=boy. What I don’t always know is how to get out of that binary mode and paint a bigger gender picture for my kid. I don’t want to oversimplify it, but I can’t use my grown-up, theoretical language with a seven-year-old. So how do you explain gender diversity to a second grader? Mary Jo knows! Nonnie Talk About Gender is illustrates the concepts of gender, gender identity and gender roles using everyday language that young kids will understand. It’s an interactive book, divided into short chapters, with discussion prompts at the end of each one. There’s a teaching guide for adults, plus a glossary and list of resources. It’s a great book for children but it’s been a really valuable learning tool for me as well!
It’s Not The Stork, It’s So Amazing and It’s Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris
Suitable For: Preschoolers and up/ Early elementary and up/Mid-elementary and up
I love these books because...
They cover a LOT of material and teach kids about sexuality using humour, compassion and positive language. They are fabulous. They are the The Robie Harris Trilogy of Awesomeness.
The books follow the adventures of the open-minded and enthusiastic Bird and his slightly more reserved pal, Bee. They want to understand more about human beings and how our bodies work. All three books have lots of pictures.There’s ethnic, age, and body diversity. Different types of families are represented. In It’s Not The Stork, Bird and Bee learn about body parts, how babies are conceived and born and good and bad touches. In It’s So Amazing, they learn more about conception and pregnancy, adoption, sexual safety and some basics about sexually transmitted infections. And finally, in It’s Perfectly Normal, Bird and Bee find out how human bodies change through puberty, relationships, making sexual decisions, taking care of sexual health, sexual diversity, gender diversity and social media.
These are books that parents can read with their children. They’re also books that kids can thumb through on their own. You can read them from cover to cover or you can jump to a particular section and save the rest for another time. They’re my son’s favourites and he looks at them all the time.
S.E.X. The All-You-Need-to-Know Progressive Sexuality Guide to Get You Through High School and College by Heather Corinna
Suitable for: Teens and up.
I love this book because...
Heather Corinna’s website, Scarleteen.com is one of the best internet resources for teens wanting information about sexuality. In S.E.X., Heather takes the same sex-positive, non-judgemental approach to sex ed that she does online. I really appreciate the respectful tone of this book. It’s clear she trusts her young reader can use the wealth of information she’s provided to make positive decisions about their sexual health and behaviour.
No one book can cover every aspect of adolescent sexuality...but S.E.X. comes as close as any I’ve read. Heather Corinna’s writing is casual, relatable and authentic. It’s easy to understand why so many youth trust her to tell them the truth about sex. If you’re looking for a sex ed book to add to your teen’s library, I highly recommend having a look at this one.
About the Author
Nadine Thornhill is a sexuality educator and author based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. As an educator, Nadine knows the importance of being able to talk honestly and openly about sexuality. As a mother, she understands the desire for parents and educators to find effective ways of communicating with youth about sexual issues. Nadine is committed to making information about sexuality accessible to anyone that wants it and sharing what she has learned first hand – that teaching young people about sex can be a very positive experience for everyone involved. Follow Nadine on Twitter.