This month Truong at Bookworm takes on that age-old issue of the birds and the bees. Here are some books to help you give your kids that education that they so desperately need
Some Truths About Making Whoopie
When I was a kid and I asked where babies came from, I got fobbed off with all sorts of fanciful stories with the most unbelievable being that I was discovered snuggled up in a lotus blossom (I was a July birth).
Had I been an English speaking western kid in those days, the crazy tales revolving around storks and various vegetable leaves would have been evaporating, and my sensible query would probably been sensibly answered with a few child / parent sessions poring over Peter Mayle’s picture book, Where Did I Come From. This has been a parent standby for more than 40 years when it’s time for that particular talk.
The Amazing True Stories of How Babies Are Made
This year an Australian cartoonist and illustrator, Fiona Katsauskas, knew that her little kid was on the cusp of wanting to know the ins and outs of THAT subject. After taking refuge within the Mayles’ definition, she realised that things had changed an awful lot. She decided to update the whole thing with sections on multiple births, IVF, blended and non-nuclear families, as well as necessary bits about reproductive systems and a couple in the act of reproducing.
This fresh-off-the-press book gives most modern parents exactly the right amount of information to avoid their children being misinformed by their peers or others, and to allow them to feel confident in themselves and their bodies. For parents who find explaining the significance of words like penis and vagina a bit off-putting, this book makes it all easy.
The True Story of How Babies Are Made
Some parents are not squirmy about talking to their kids about sex and don’t want to beat around the bush at all — especially if those bushes are hiding vague myths about birds and bees. Since 2010 they’ve had a very explicit option by Eric Benedict.
If your child has a hard time with the concept that they came from inside the female partner, then Benedict’s illustrated book provides a very graphic visualisation of an actual birth.
An excellent, animated version of the book is easy to access, and if your pre- teen child attends a school that huffs and puffs around the edges of sex-ed curricula, then this book will get you straight to the nitty gritty. It will help you open the gates to open and honest communication about a subject that should never be taboo.
In 2007, American sexologist Heather Corinna wrote her widely acclaimed S.E.X.: The All-You-Need-To-Know Progressive Sexuality Guide to Get You Through High School and College. After looking at a lot of other sexuality journals for middle class-type teens, we’ve come to the conclusion that even if your adolescents are getting a good dose of Norweigian-style, school sex-ed, then this book is still relevant.
It’s very inclusive and doesn’t push a heterosexual bias the way too many do, or smother itself in traditional gender roles. It also doesn’t push the theme that sex is better when connected with love or marriage. Its emphasis is on communication, being as safe as possible, respecting your own and other’s boundaries, and fitting sex into the rest of your life in a healthy and enjoyable way.
It deals with some issues that some parents may feel ‘iffy’ about, but that their kids are probably already conversant with, streetwise about or investigating.
Living With a Willy
Famous British commercial fisherman and fish cooking book author Nick Fisher is also infamous in Britain for writing informative teenage boy’s guides to growing up. His Your Pocket Guide to Sex was so infamous in the late 1990s that it attracted the wrath of a Conservative government and ended up on the front pages of every sensational daily newspaper. It was forcibly withdrawn from sale, but the publishing rights were snapped up by Penguin. It was eventually reprinted.
Fisher’s 1994 book for boys about penile appendages was designed to be a frank, friendly and funny guide for boys about the perils of puberty.
Often you wonder if a book about the intricacies and mysteries of the developing sexual body has become too dated, but early this year we had an 18-year-old British school leaver volunteering at Bookworm. She read the updated version, Living with a Willy, and decided that every young male, including her boyfriend, should become intimately acquainted with it. Though she admitted that the British style of humour may not hit every funny bone.
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