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If you can, please buy local!
The Slope and surrounding neighborhoods are full of wonderful small community and indie bookstores, including:
Stories Bookshop + Storytelling Lab: In addition to fulfilling online orders, they’re offering online classes on everything from graphic novels to chess. The folks here also know a ton about children’s literature and are an awesome resource if you need further recommendations.
One member asked our Tweens & Teens Group...
“Hello! We’re looking for a book about puberty, sex, growing up etc. that we could casually give (leave around the house...) to our ten-year-old boy who hates kissing in movies. Something fun, body-positive, feminist, maybe a bit humorous... Ideas??”
Members had plenty of suggestions…
American Girl books:
The Care and Keeping of You: The Body Book for Younger Girls, by Valorie Schaefer
Guy Stuff: The Body Book for Boys, by Cara Natterson
What parents are saying: “I've heard that puberty books published by the American Girl folks are actually really good for the tween set.”
Asking About Sex and Growing Up, by Joanna Cole
What parents are saying: “Once she started asking a lot of questions at random times, but seemed uncomfortable about hearing too much, I bought this and told her she was welcome to consult the book when she wanted to, and ask me anything about it - with no pressure to read it if she didn’t want to. I kept it in another room, and at some point I saw she had added it to her own book case in her room.
The book does a good job of explaining the weirdness of it all in a sensible and reassuring way. I can imagine a teenager might need more than this book provides, but it does cover, responsibly, the facts of life. She has evidently found it helpful, and been able to read it by herself but also read some of it with me, though rather self-consciously. She's also into the American Girl series of books about girls and health etc, but I don't know what the male equivalent is for that.”
For parents: From Diapers to Dating: A Parent's Guide to Raising Sexually Healthy Children, by Debra Haffner
What parents are saying: “I’m not sure anyone mentioned ‘From Diapers to Dating’ – a book I liked. It was for parents, not kids, but talked about how there’s not just ‘ONE talk’ about sex but rather it’s a lifelong discussion that starts with talking about the body, your child’s ownership of it, and discussions throughout life.”
Growing Up Inside and Out by Kira Vermond
Human Body Theater: A Non-Fiction Revue by Maris Wicks
What parents are saying: “Human Body Theater by Maris Wicks is a graphic novel where a skeleton takes you on a tour of the different systems of the human body. It includes a chapter on the reproductive system and puberty but doesn't actually talk about sex. Since the book is about the human body overall, it may seem less uncomfortable for him to pick up and read voluntarily. So it may be a good starting point-- at least to demystify the physical biological things that happen to the body.”
What parents are saying: “There is a great book called It's Perfectly Normal that I think checks all your boxes!”
“We have been using Perfectly Normal, too, as reference with our Puberty talk with our son. It's a great book!”
“I second It's Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris. There are 3 books in her Family library series and they're all great. IPN is for tweens & teens.”
I doled the books out to my son at the recommended age. Perfectly Normal says 10 and up but he got it at 11. He'd been asking years prior but when he finally got it, he cringed a bit citing that it was 'too much information' for him. Now we keep all of the books out for reference and discussion.”
Puberty Boy, by Geoff Price
Real Gorgeous: The Truth about Body and Beauty, by Kaz Cooke
Sex is a Funny Word, by Cory Silverberg
What parents are saying: “Great. Funny and sweet and not scary at all.”
"Sex is a Funny Word is great for kids (including younger, has larger text, bright and more cartoon-like illustrations) and is very inclusive - makes it less of a binary conversation / makes space for sex and gender in a positive way and acknowledges evolution and identity."
The Girl's Body Book: Everything You Need to Know for Growing Up YOU, by Kelli Dunham
What parents are saying: “Pretty digestible.”
Celebrate Your Body (and Its Changes, Too!) by Sonya Taylor
What parents are saying: "I got my oldest the book Celebrate Your Body by Sonya Taylor. It’s really excellent and she loves quoting facts from it and it prompts great discussions too. Plus, it’s all about body love and size/shape inclusivity which I’m all about! I believe I got it from another PSP recommendation. PSP rocks!"
"I LOVE LOVE LOVE Sonya Renee Taylor's Celebrate Your Body (and it's changes, too!). My 9 year old has gone back to it again and again. Super informative and totally body positive."
Bunk 9's Guide to Growing Up by Adah Nuchi
"My best friend wrote an awesome illustrated book called Bunk 9's guide to growing up (for girls 8-12) Which is based on interviews she did with campers at a summer camp, asking them what they wish they had known at that age. Of course take a look yourself but it is intended for girls to read and find their own questions to ask parents."
Fiction that deals with/introduces wet dreams:
Then Again, Maybe I Won't by Judy Blume
What parents are saying: "Then Again, Maybe I Won't features a boy who has wet dreams—which I remember well because I didn't know what a wet dream was and, in all innocence, asked about it one night when my parents, three brothers, older sister and I were gathered for dinner. (I did not get an answer.)
Fiction that deals with/introduces periods:
Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
Millicent Min, Girl Genius by Lisa Yee
My Little Red Book, edited by Rachel Kauder Nalebuff
Plain Kate by Erin Bow
Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty
Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
Fiction for tweens that deals with coming of age, first love, and sex:
The Infinite Moment of Us by Lauren Myracle
What parents are saying: "[Myracle] writes a lot of books that treat sex/non-parental supervision pretty well. People might be familiar with her series books like the Winnie Years, Internet Girls, and Flower Power, which are younger than YA. Her most recent book is The Infinite Moment of Us."
What My Mother Doesn't Know by Sondra Sones
Recommendations for preschool-age books about bodies, gender, and sexuality:
One parent asked...
"I’m looking for a book for my preschool age son that has clear illustrations and visuals of the body, including genitals. It seems like most books for this age group just skip over!"
Amazing You: Getting Smart About Your Private Parts by Gail Saltz: "I bought this for my son when he started asking a lot of questions. It’s very straightforward and explains genitals and reproduction."
However, note: "It's harder than it should be to find a book that goes over body parts without heteronormative narration. Amazing You, for example, explains that babies are made when a man and a woman love each other."
It's Not the Stork!: A Book About Girls, Boys, Babies, Bodies, Families and Friends by Robie Harris: "This series is fantastic!!!"
These are My Eyes, This is My Nose, This is My Vulva, These are My Toes by Lexx Brown James: "Helpful and inclusive, but doesn't have pictures of genitals."
What Makes a Baby by Cory Silverberg: "It’s a great book and inclusive of all types of bodies, genders, ways families are made etc."
Your Whole Body Book by Lizzie Charbonneau: "I just backed a book on Kickstarter called Your Whole Body Book which includes genitals and is for this age group.
It looks like the preorders just ended but they met their funding goal so it’s going into publication. It doesn’t help you in the immediate term but if you don’t find anything else, you could follow their account (or website) to see when regular orders become available."