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It's Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health (The Family Library) Paperback – September 8, 2009

3.4 out of 5 stars 171 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"It's Perfectly Normal is informative and interesting; reassuring and responsible; warm and charming. I wish every child (and parent) could have a copy." — Penelope Leach, Ph.D., author of YOUR BABY & CHILD

"I recommend [IT'S PERFECTLY NORMAL] to parents and children who are coming into adolescence. They will love it." — T. Berry Brazelton, M.D. author of TOUCHPOINTS

"A perfectly wonderful treatment of the always touchy subject of sex education for young people. The book treats the subject seriously and its intended readers respectfully." — Hugh B. Price, president, National Urban League, Inc.

About the Author

Robie H. Harris has written many award-winning books for children of all ages, including the definitive Family Library about sexuality: IT'S PERFECTLY NORMAL, IT'S SO AMAZING!, and IT'S NOT THE STORK! She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Michael Emberley is the illustrator of numerous books for children, including the Family Library. He lives in Wicklow, Ireland.

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Product Details

  • Series: The Family Library
  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick; 3 edition (September 8, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763644846
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763644840
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.4 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (171 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #165,712 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Ali on June 10, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read all the reviews on amazon, among others. I decided to get the book to read with my 10 year old daughter. It does have cartoon graphics to illustrate each chapter, but there is nothing "sexy" about those (you can find them online if you search). It does discuss homosexuality, birth control, abortion, as well as menstruation, puberty, etc, etc. everything.

So, this is a very personal decision, but I decided that a book this thorough would be the perfect guide to use with my kid. Because, next year she will go into 5th grade and they will start teaching a class on a watered down version of these topics. Also she is already hearing random stuff at school and after school. Who knows what exactly, and from which kid(s). So I decided that I'd rather go through all these topics with my daughter BEFORE she learns "the truth" from someone else. Plus, when will I talk to her? When she is past puberty and too "embarrassed" to talk? Now is a good time. She still listens to me :)

So, I sat down with my daughter and explained why I got this book. I told her it's highly controversial because people have different beliefs. I said we should not talk about this at school, but the reason I am going through it with her is because I know she will hear bits and pieces out there, and I don't want her to feel confusion, embarrassment, or fear. I want her to feel like she can come to me any time and I will listen and help guide her. She was happy that would talk and had lots of questions as we approached each chapter.

I did NOT hand over the book. I keep the book, and explained that it's not for her friends to see. Their parents can decide how to educate their kids. We need to respect each other. :) I acted naturally through this conversation.
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Format: Paperback
Okay, so I checked this out from a library to see what the hubbub was about. I honestly wish I had this book when I was younger.

So I hit puberty at 8, and had my first period at 10. My mom, a conservative, tried her absolute best to explain what sex was and reproduction and the body parts, but it was too embarrassing for her, and she seriously believed that I was too young to understand it. My body was having all sorts of weird feelings going on, and I couldn't ask her. Not even my sex-ed class in 6th grade helped much; all they talked about was periods and sex makes babies. But how? Why? What's actually going on in there, down there, everywhere? And does the opposite sex have the same problems?

This book gets all those questions out of the way. Kids aren't stupid. Kids can handle more information than people realize. This book is very blunt, but doesn't sexualize children at all, it's informational. And wouldn't you parents and guardians be more inclined to just get it out of the way and teach it all matter-of-factly instead of making it some taboo thing that children should never learn about until they decide to experiment and put themselves at-risk without knowing everything beforehand? Wouldn't it be better to learn from a book what they're feeling instead of looking for pornography online and expecting that to be the "right" way?

The book says 10+, but that doesn't mean you have to present it to kids when they're 10. 11, 12, 14, 16, whatever feels comfortable to you. But please, don't bash this book because your beliefs on human sexuality don't line up with something billions of people worldwide deal with every day.
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Format: Paperback
I received this book from my parents when I was 10 or so. Like many kids, I was not big on talking to my parents about sex. Or rather, it was hard for me. It's hard to talk to your parents about something like that. I was a smart, curious kid who had nowhere to turn and I'm so thankful to my mom for buying this for me.

I'm 24 now, but this book still is with me in thought, which is why I'm here to review it. "It's Perfectly Normal" taught me to be okay with myself. How I looked, how I felt, who I was attracted to. It was frank on how sex worked and the importance of safe sex.

I know it's hard for some parents to look at this book and think about giving it to your kid when it talks about masturbation, birth control and types of sex other than vaginal. But you do not want your kid learning about oral and anal sex, or that the pull out method is birth control or anything like that from the internet or whispers in the locker room. This book teaches these things maturely and with respect. Kids are curious, best to have them learn from the right source.

I truly hope if any parents, teachers or guardians are looking for a sex education book for a child in their lives, that they pick up this book. It'll help the kids come to term with such a confusing time in their lives and answer questions they have but don't want to ask.

It's left me feeling perfectly normal.
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This is a really great sex education book for ages 10 and up. It is the independent reading assignment at the junior high level for the Unitarian Universalist church's OWL (Our Whole Lives) sex education program. The authors did a good job of being inclusive of all lifestyles and body types. The book is succinct with 81 pages of actual reading material that has been distilled down to one or two sentences per concept, so it should hold your kid's attention. It covers the maturing body, healthy relationships, pregnancy, birth, parenthood, birth control, sexually transmitted diseases, and safe Internet use. It does not cover differences in the emotional needs and communication methods of the sexes, and it does not cover pregnancy testing or the details of disease testing. But then, those are more of high school or college topics and so beyond the target audience.

A few areas of deficiency:
The sections on birth control and on diseases are each presented as a long (2-page) block of prose. Summary tables would have been nice...or even subheadings. Also, the common cold is misidentified as being caused by an airborne pathogen.

Aspects that some families may need warning about:
It has color cartoons for pictures (no photos). There are lots of cartoons depicting naked bodies standing around and even a few showing adults enjoying sexual intercourse. Also, if your family is 'pro-life', anti-gay lifestyle, and/or pro-racial segregation, then this book is not for you.
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