Let’s Talk About Sex: 8 Books to Read Together
How do you feel when you think about teaching your kids about sex? Talking to kids about sex is one of the most challenging conversations for parents to begin! All kids learn about sex somehow, but it makes a big difference if they hear it from you. You can prepare them to make healthy, informed choices now and as they grow up. Our list of recommended books will help!
One reason curious kids look at pornography is to find information about sex. They’ve learned to turn to “Google” to find answers, so it’s natural, although dangerous, for them to go online to learn more about what they have heard from friends.
What’s the solution to talking to kids about sex?
Talk to your kids early and make sure you are their go-to expert to answer their questions.
Many children love learning everything about their world, and sex and bodies are just more wonderful things to understand. Hilary captured her four-year-old son cheerfully reviewing all he had learned about the difference between girls and boys from a favorite book in this video. So if you're nervous about how your child might respond to this subject, take heart - it might go really well!
The good news is, you don’t have to do this all on your own! Check out our list of recommended favorites to read with your kids (and one we’re concerned about) that can help you get this important conversation started.
As with any material we recommend, we also suggest that you take the time to read these books on your own before reading them with your kids to make sure they align with what you want your kids to learn about sex. And so that you’ll be prepared to answer questions about the topics covered.
The Family Library Series
By Robie H. Harris and Michael Emberley
Basic Overview: These books answer nearly every question about birth, babies, bodies, families and healthy sexuality. Aimed at helping kids feel proud, knowledgeable and comfortable about their own bodies, about how they were born and about the family they are part of. These are great tools for talking to kids about sex.
What We Liked and What to Expect:
- Answers perfectly normal questions that preschool, kindergarten and early elementary school children ask about how they began.
- The book is lively, with comfortable and straightforward language. Engaging artwork includes comic relief provided by two cartoon characters - a curious bird and squeamish bee.
- Helps kids feel proud and comfortable about their own bodies, how they were born and the family they belong to.
- Curious Bird and Squeamish Bee continue to echo the thoughts, questions and concerns of younger children in this book. Their characters reflect the many moods of children ages 7 and up: silly, serious, curious and embarrassed.
- Non-judgmental and acknowledges diversity. Families of any makeup have a strong chance of seeing their family reflected in this book.
- Safe vs. unsafe touches, masturbation and homosexuality are discussed briefly.
NOTE: We found the 3rd book in this series, It's Perfectly Normal (recommended for ages 10 and up), to have mature and graphic material, as well as perspectives on sex that many parents would not agree with. Some of the illustrations display masturbation, using a condom, and a couple engaging in sex. We do not recommend this book.
Talking to kids about sex is the perfect teaching opportunity to also have an age-appropriate discussion about staying safe from pornography. Kids as young as 3 years old will enjoy our book written just for them as they learn about protecting and respecting bodies!
Long-time best seller
Where Did I Come From: Ages 4 and up
By Peter Mayle
Oldie but goodie from the 70’s - and continues to be a top-selling book! Helps parents explain the facts of life to their curious children.
- Educates children on body shapes and sizes, conception and pregnancy with a straightforward description on sexual intercourse. Pictures are non-sexual and illustrate the human body.
- Describes what sex feels like and why people have sex. Along with information about biology and bodies, these are important ideas to include when talking to kids about sex.
- In regards to changes in society, technology and how babies are made it lacks some modern views and perspectives. The book can be used as a tool for teaching - with parents filling in the gaps where the book may be lacking.
God’s Design for Sex Series
Basic Overview: These books teach that sex is a special gift from God and can be a blessing and delight if handled responsibly. The books are less about giving biological information and more about helping parents shape their children’s views, attitudes and beliefs about sexuality. Identifying your family's values is an important part of talking to kids about sex.
What we liked and what to expect:
The Story of Me: ages 3-5
By: Stan and Brenna Jones
- Written as a dialogue between a father and son with candid, age-appropriate language and realistic illustrations.
- Teaches young children how special they are to be a boy or a girl.
- Provides facts about alternatives like adoption vs. biological children and natural birth vs. c-section.
Before I was Born: ages 5-8
By: Carolyn Nystrom
- Explains the basic nature of sexual intercourse between a husband and wife. Discusses conception, fetal development, childbirth and breastfeeding.
- Understandable and straightforward text, with child-friendly, but realistic illustrations.
What’s the Big Deal? Why God Cares About Sex: ages 8-11
By: Stan and Brenna Jones
- Written as a dialogue between two teenagers and their parents. The conversation is obviously for teaching purposes and may seem scripted for some. We advise you read the book on your own first and discuss the principles with your teens.
- It reinforces previous instruction on the basics of sexual intercourse and the fundamental goodness of our sexuality. It continues to teach why sex is intended to be a gift after marriage.
- Helps prepare children to resist the negative, harmful messages of the media regarding sex.
Facing the Facts: The Truth About Sex and You ages 11-14
By: Stan and Brenna Jones
- Includes lots of detailed anatomical line drawings of female and male reproductive body parts. This book is very comprehensive and builds on the information from the other three books.
- Pre-teens/teens learn about the changes that they'll be facing during puberty and the years ahead.
- Explains the development of sexuality - how girls' and boys' bodies change, how a woman gets pregnant, abstinence until marriage, even love, dating, relationships and more.
Are you building a relationship of trust so your children will turn to you to learn the truth about sex? Talking to kids about sex doesn't have to be awkward at all!
It's never too early to begin giving your child a practical understanding of his or her unique, beautiful body and why it’s designed it to be exactly the way it is! Start early so that the porn industry, media and playground conversations don’t become your child's teacher!