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It's Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health (The Family Library) Hardcover – September 5, 1994

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Series: The Family Library
  • Hardcover: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick; 1st edition (September 5, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1564021998
  • ISBN-13: 978-1564021991
  • Product Dimensions: 10.5 x 8.8 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,312,110 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this intelligent, amiable and carefully researched book, Harris ( Before You Were Three ) frankly explains the physical, psychological, emotional and social changes that occur during puberty--and the implications of these changes. Taking a conversational, relaxed tone, Harris also discusses such subjects as sexual orientation, sexual reproduction, pregnancy, birth control, sexually transmitted diseases and sexual abuse. The author intentionally and effectively repeats certain crucial information, especially on the subject of the possible consequences of sexual intercourse. Alternately playful and realistic (and occasionally graphic), Emberley's ( Ruby ) watercolor-and-pencil art reinforces Harris's message that bodies come in all sizes, shapes and colors--and that each variation is "perfectly normal." Cartoon panels illustrate various complicated processes (e.g., menstruation, the fertilization of an egg, childbirth). Appearing on each spread are two characters--an easy-going bird and an apprehensive bee--whose comments add levity to this solid volume. Ages 10-14.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 4-8-A wonderful guide for young adolescents setting sail on the stormy seas of puberty. Packed with the vital information they need to quell fears and make wise decisions, this "sex manual" uses of clever cartoons to enliven and expand the text. Frank yet playful, they portray a reassuring array of body types and ethnic groups and illuminate the richly informative, yet compact text, allowing readers to come away with a healthy respect for their bodies and a better understanding of the role that sexuality plays in the human experience. Birth control, abortion, and homosexuality are given an honest, evenhanded treatment, noting differing views and recommending further discussion with a trusted adult. The dangers of STDs, teen parenthood, and sexual abuse are examined. The inventive use of a bird and a bee that react to the topics throughout artfully contrasts the differing views of early and late bloomers. Like any book that depicts naked bodies and sexual activity, this one is sure to inspire a few giggles in the stacks and be likely to disappear. But what it offers in scope, currency, and a cheerfully engaging format is quite special. An ideal introduction to "coming of age."-Virginia E. Jeschelnig, Willoughby-Eastlake Public Library, Willowick, OH
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

139 of 163 people found the following review helpful By Maggi Rohde on October 16, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I hardly know where to start in praising this book! The writing is very frank, and may provide more than some parents wish their kids to know at this stage. The drawings are cartoonish, but still realistic enough to make sense and appeal to kids. Two friends, a bird and a bee, appear on every page to make comments on the text, and provide every reader with someone to identify with - the bird is excited about growing up, while the bee is embarrassed and not as interested. Boys and girls will appreciate knowing that they are learning the same stuff (there aren't two copies for either gender). Just about every topic is addressed, if briefly: reproduction, homosexuality, physiology, menstruation, erections and ejaculation, changes in body shape and smell, changes in emotions, masturbation, families and pregnancy, birth control/family planning, sexual abuse, STD's and AIDS - everything! The best part, though, is the two page spread of drawings of different types of naked bodies: fat, thin, tall, all colors, all ages, even people in wheelchairs. These two pages alone are worth the price of the book.
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69 of 83 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 28, 2001
Format: Hardcover
The thoroughness of this book is key for your preteen to get the truth about his/her body and other sexual topics. It really contains almost anything a preteen would want to know. The two-page spread of naked bodies is reality without being pornography! It's really a hit over the head that most people don't look like supermodels! (your kid might feel better about his/her body - chances are, they have a more attractive one!) BUT...some of the info is embedded in other sections; repetition might have been useful for a child who is picking and choosing what material he/she is ready for. This book is NOT for the age group it's recommended for; you should start with "It's So Amazing" - a five-star book in every way. Finally, "Normal" equates a crush with "sexual attraction" and I'm not so comfortable making that assumption! A nine-year-old need not consider that he/she is already experiencing sexual attraction. You might want to explain how it feels (for each gender) to be sexually attracted to someone, and that he/she might not feel that way for many years (especially if it's a girl, she might only desire as much as kissing!). Perhaps the first time he/she feels sexually attracted is the bench mark when he/she should make sure to read the rest of the book!
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89 of 111 people found the following review helpful By writer916 on January 7, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Kids talk about sex A LOT. The problem is they often pass on incorrect information. This book is perfect to make sure that what they learn is correct, accurate and healthy. I read 1/3 of this book to my 9-year-old daughter and despite the late hour, she was mesmerized. The pictures are explicit, but is necessary so that children make no mistake about what is being discussed. It also has funny cartoons that address people's attitudes about sex, and which a kid can relate to. I like the part where it covers the various definitions of sex: gender, desire, reproduction, intercourse and homosexuality. Kids really do get warped concepts of sex and this book covers all the ways people talk about it (silly jokes) and their attitudes about it. The book also covers anatomy, puberty, families and babies, birth control, and staying healthy. It's well organized, well-written and concise. I recommend every parent who hears the word sex uttered from their child's lips, read this book to him/her. Even teenagers can benefit from this information.
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57 of 71 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 7, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I have to say I haven't completely read this book, but I stumbled across it while doing some research at my school library. Personally, I think it's great that this book is so shouldn't be hidden away in the closet. In this day and age, it's important to talk about sex, and books like this are helpful. Many kids my age have sexual encounters, but still don't know all the basics. I live in an international community, and some parents leave their children in the dark. Further more, no matter how well a parent educates their child, there are ALWAYS questions, trust me. It's good for anyone, to be able to get answers, because talking about sex with your parents is very rarely comfortable. However, a lot of the illustrations in this book disturbed me. I know at my age it's not nessary to be embarresed, but some of the pictures were...too detailed...too graphic. It's great to be open about sex and love....just make sure it doesn't go too far.
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23 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Real mom on April 9, 2008
Format: Paperback
Kids start to ask questions about sex at a young age. A great book for the littler kids is "Hair in Funny Places." When they are ready for the next level up, you can't find a better book than It's Perfectly Normal.

Some reviews think this book is inappropriate unless your kids are teens. Did you know that studies show 13% of females and 15% of males aged 15-19 in 2002 had already had intercourse for the first time before age 15? An NBC News poll reports 14% of 13 to 14 year-olds are already sexually active. Not my kid, you say? Better safe than sorry, experts reply. Waiting until your kids are teens could be too late.

My child is 8. He's started asking questions that go beyond how babies are made. This book is an outstanding resource. I don't just hand it to him, it's a supervised, interactive conversation and he only reads what he's drawn to - I never push more information than he wants and he always puts it down when he's had enough.

When sticky subjects come up, this book is where I go to have a conversation with reduces my embarrassment and helps him understand what I'm saying w/o opportunity for miscommunication.

If you live in the real world, you need this book for your kids. Or you can hide your head in the sand...and wait for a Juno situation in your family.
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