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Books for Parents and Children
Authors: Jessica Dunn with Judith A. Myers-Walls, Ph.D., CFLE

Many books are available that help teach children about sexuality. Some books for young children explain how babies are born. Other books describe puberty and the changes that preteens and teens go through.

In addition to books for children, there are books about sexuality that are written for parents. Some of those books may be appropriate for you. Also, you may want to keep some of the books for children in your childcare setting for children to use. (Before doing this, you probably should discuss the books with the parents of children in your care.)

There are several things that parents and childcare providers should keep in mind when searching for educational books about sexuality for their children and for themselves.

     • Don’t wait until the child asks about sexuality to look at books. Get books early so that you are prepared for questions
       as they come up.
     • Make sure books agree with the family’s values.
     • Be sure books use correct words for body parts and show both males and females.
     • Ask yourself “Will this book be interesting to the child? Will it make sense to him/her?”
     • Look for a book you can read with the child.
     • Is the book specific to boys or girls? Remember that it is important for a child to understand his or her own sexual
       growth as well as that of the opposite sex.
     • Do not depend on the book to provide all the necessary sex education for your child. The child needs to talk with you,

Recommended Books

The following books are accurate and appropriate for children and parents at different stages. Keep in mind that these are only a few out of many that are available. It is important for providers and parents to choose books that fit the family’s values.

For Parents:
     From diapers to dating; A parent’s guide to raising sexually healthy children
          By Debra Haffner, MPH
          This book gives clear, direct descriptions about age-appropriate behavior and knowledge for children ages 0-12.

     How to talk to your kids about really important things: For children four to twelve
          By Charles Schaefer, and Theresa DiGeronimo
          This book is intended to help parents organize their thoughts about how to talk with their children about tough issues.
          Topics include divorce, violence, drug abuse, AIDS, homosexuality, prejudice, puberty, sex, and death. Charles
          Schaefer is also the author of How to Talk to Children about Really Important Things, and How to Talk to
          Teens about Really Important Things: Specific Questions and Answers and Useful Things to Say.

     Sex and sensibility; The thinking parent’s guide to talking sense about sex
          By Deborah Roffman
          This book is written by a sex educator. It provides a down-to-earth, realistic view of sexuality issues. Topics
          discussed include age appropriate behaviors, values, cultural norms and differences, sexual orientation. The author
          stresses the importance of empowering children with knowledge.

For Children:
     Heather has two mommies
          By Leslea Newman
          As the title suggests, this book discusses issues of homosexuality. The young girl in the story, Heather, wonders
          about how her family is different when she goes to school where she hears other children talk about having fathers.
          The book ultimately talks about a variety of family forms, including gay fathers, one-parent families, and stepfamilies.

     How you were born
          By Joanna Cole
          This book discusses pregnancy and childbirth at an appropriate level for young children. Sex and conception are not
          mentioned, so you may want to be prepared to discuss these concepts outside the context of this book. It may be
          best to use this book in addition to a book that discusses body parts and sexuality.

     Our new baby
          By Wendy Cheyette Lewison
          This book is appropriate for children who are going to have a baby sister or brother in their family soon. There is a
          description of pregnancy, how much fun the baby can be, how to help, and other feelings that might result from the
          new family member.

     What’s the big secret?
          By Laurie Krasny Brown, Ed.D. and Marc Brown
          The focus of this book is to help children feel that sex is a subject that they can feel comfortable asking about. The
          authors are honest and open in their approach. The book discusses the differences between boys and girls. Also,
          illustrations and explanations show the sexual organs. Sexual intercourse and pregnancy are also touched upon,
          although not in depth.

     Where did I come from?
          By Peter Mayle
          This book is descriptive and helps children learn about sexual organs, sex (gently described), pregnancy and birth.
          The illustrations are clear and realistic, and appropriate for young children.

For Pre-teens and Teenagers:
     Changing bodies, changing lives
          By Ruth Bell
          The author’s approach in this book is realistic and straightforward. The in-depth descriptions cover various sexuality
          issues and other tough issues important to teenagers, including sex, violence, eating disorders, emotions,
          relationships, physical development, STDs, pregnancy, contraception, drugs and health care. This author also
          contributed to the books Our Bodies, Ourselves and Ourselves and Our Children.

     The teen body book: A guide to your changing body
          By Judie Lewellen
          This book discusses topics of concern to teenagers. There are illustrations to make the descriptions more
          understandable. Issues covered have to do with puberty, body changes, sex, STDs, contraception, eating habits, and

     What’s happening to me?
          By Peter Mayle
          This book is good for preteens and gives a straightforward description of why puberty happens, physical body
          changes, hormones, masturbation, and other topics in sexuality. The tone helps keep the topic comfortable and easy-

     What’s happening to my body? book for girls: A growing up guide for parents and daughters
     What’s happening to my body? book for boys: A growing up guide for parents and sons
          By Lynda Madaras, and Area Madaras
          These books are specifically formatted for each gender. They cover sexual issues that preteens may be embarrassed
          to ask about, but in a way that can ease their discomfort. The authors are very thorough, and some teens may
          respond better to a book that is written for specifically for their gender. Parents may benefit from reading through
          these books before their child does, or they could read it with their child.

Go to:   
Sexuality education policy statement

For more information, contact Judith A. Myers-Walls, PhD, CFLE at

Please feel free to link to, print off, redistribute, or reprint
  any of these materials as long as the original credits remain intact.

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