I’ve always been pretty here’s-the-facts about human bodies and reproduction, enough that one day when Wanda was six, we were driving somewhere, and she said “you know, thinking about how bodies with a penis also have sperm... and bodies with vulvas have eggs... and eggs and sperm are both needed for the genes to make a new person... and thinking about how penises and vaginas are shaped... I’m pretty sure that the penis must go into the vagina, and the sperm must come out of it somehow and that’s how it gets to the egg.” So, she gave me the birds-and-the-bees talk. Check that off the list, my work here has been done for me! I got one of them new-fangled self-raisin’ models o’ human!
But since then, I have supplemented her close-enough-for-jazz understanding of sex with some more well-rounded info:
Consent for Kids
LOVE this book; we’ve had it for a while. I’ve recommended it here before, and I think everybody should read it, not just kids. It’s not specifically about sex ed, but it lays the crucial foundation for setting boundaries for ourselves and respecting others' boundaries to have healthy relationships. We’ve read it together many times, and Wanda brings up issues of consent in all kinds of contexts. It's a graphic novel, and is easily accessible to very young ages.
Sex Is a Funny Word
I also love this book, Wanda and I have read it together and she’s re-read parts of it on her own several times. It's another graphic novel, and it's very approachable and comfortable. It covers bodies, and relationships, and "sexy feelings" and love, but does not get into the specifics of intercourse (the author intends to write a separate book for that). It’s a fantastic early book to lay the groundwork for sex ed. I particularly like that it is inclusive of the many ways to be a human and to have human relationships.
The Every Body Book
And I also love this book! Wanda has skimmed it, we haven’t read it together yet, but I think she’ll like it. This one gets more into the specifics of puberty, physical relationships, and childbirth. If I had to get just one book, it would be this one, because it covers a lot of important territory, and they don’t needlessly oversimplify gender or relationships. Wanda is cisgender, but she gives oh-so-many damns about including trans and intersex people when talking about these topics. When I’ve slipped and spoken in an outdated gender binary way, she has reminded me to use more accurate, inclusive language right quick, so she'll like this book. This book is a treasure for the way it is truly inclusive of bodies and relationships. I hope that in the not-too-distant future books like this will be the norm.
Celebrate Your Body
I… think this book is okay! Wanda hasn’t been drawn to this one yet, I haven’t seen her spend much time looking at it. It goes into more detail than the others about the experience of puberty. I’m glad Wanda will have it as a resource as she has questions about how her body is going to change. It has some *great* body positive messaging, and it does aim to be inclusive and in some ways succeeds, but I feel that The Every Body Book and Sex Is a Funny Word do a better job at inclusivity. I've become spoiled.
I’ve read all of these books, and Wanda has free access to all of them (they’re on her bookshelf), and she knows I’m happy to read any of them with her at any time, or answer any questions.