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It's Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health (The Family Library) Paperback – September 8, 2009
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"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.
Top customer reviews
I found this book to be very informative and written at a level for preadolescent kids to be able to easily understand. It's laid out with illustrations and small comics in a way to help keep their attention. It does show naked bodies, genitalia , people having intercourse, and so forth. It covers a variety of topics that are important in today's world such as no means no, how to stay safe online, be careful what you text and email, and of course, safe sex practices.
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.
So approaching controversial topics may seem tough, but we are still going through it, and it's amazing how many questions she has, and how open and comfortable she felt. for instance: homosexuality... We read the chapter and then I asked her what she thought, before I spoke. I explained to her our beliefs as a family, and we talked a little about politics and religion. She is 10, so I kept it light. Whether I said homosexuality is wrong or right is not the point here. The point is that this is an opportunity to sit down and discuss it with my kid. By reading the book, we are not saying "go do it". It's also to me an opportunity to discuss privacy and respect.
With the pic of the girl looking at herself in the mirror... My daughter giggled, and I said, "well, don't you look at yourself? In private? It's good to know your body. To look for moles, changes, etc. It's natural to be curious, but it is a private act. And all the book is illustrating is, this is a natural act that everyone does." We only read a chapter at a time, and we find that each discussion brings up other discussions such as skin cancer, health, hygiene, etc.
Sorry this is a long review and I am not claiming to be a writer. I won't go into how I handled each topic, because maybe it's overkill, but already five other friends have bought this book. We see this book as a tool, and funny that my friends and I don't necessarily see eye to eye one very topic. We decided that we prefer to go over every topic, especially the super controversial ones... because if We don't go over these with our kids... Who will??
Depending on your views as a parent or caregiver, the age suggestion of 10 and up may be higher or lower than what you think is appropriate, but it's pretty reasonable considering what most kids have learned on the playground by 10 years old. If you believing in educating earlier, this book should be perfectly fine for whenever you want to discuss it. The language and overall tone is still something that younger children can understand.
This book is almost identical to It's So Amazing by the same publisher. It's slightly more mature in tone and does cover sex related topics in more depth. There are less cartoons on the sidebars, which were somewhat distracting in the other book IMO, but many of the illustrations are exactly the same between books. If I were to pick between the 2, I would just skip It's So Amazing and get this one. Even if you find some of the topics too mature or just not applicable, they can likely be skipped and returned to at a later time. There are valuable sections in this book that are not in the other one such as appropriate texting and computer usage.