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What Makes a Baby Hardcover – May 7, 2013

4.3 out of 5 stars 130 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 2–Intending to be “a book for every kind of FAMILY and every kind of KID,” this title has lofty aspirations that are mostly successful. It emphasizes that not everyone goes about having a baby the same way. Silverberg explains that the genetic material in a sperm or egg has stories to tell “about the body [it] came from.” The bold, stylized illustrations show non-gender-specific people in a rainbow of hues, some with internal parts to make a baby and others without. Refreshingly, anatomically correct terminology is used in most cases, although when describing a birth, the author writes, “Some babies are born by coming out through a part of the body that most people call the vagina,” as if that term were debatable. The text also states that many babies are born with other kinds of medical intervention at the hands of midwives and doctors, providing a well-rounded view of modern birth. The final spread asks, “Who was waiting for you to be born?” and successfully makes the point that the people waiting for the birth to occur are excited. This is a solid, occasionally quirky book on an important topic.–Jenna Boles, Greene County Public Library, OHα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


"The playful illustrations and simple but intelligent text illuminate the basic biology of reproduction while honoring today’s diversity of families, of genders and gender identities, and of how kids can come into a family."—Maria Popova, Brainpickings.org

"This is a solid, occasionally quirky book on an important topic."—School Library Journal

“It’s an informative and entertaining read for kids of all parents, straight or queer. And, hey, even if your kids were conceived the old-fashioned way, they should know not everyone was—and why.”—Queerty

"What Makes a Baby aims to be just about the most inclusive sex ed book for kids you've ever come across[...] it has none of this mommy and daddy love each other and he watered her flower with his watering can and then a baby was born stuff; What Makes a Baby is for kids around four to eight years of age, teaching them about"conception, gestation, and birth" using really specific language."—Jezebel

"What Makes a Baby is a delightful, touching, brilliantly written and beautifully illustrated book that really is ‘for every kind of family, and every kind of kid.’ It creates space for parents to answer questions about reproduction in an age appropriate way and in a way that also speaks to the reality of their family and those around them. Kids and their grown-ups will love this book!"
—Jolanta Scott-Parker, Executive Director, Canadian Federation of Sexual Health

"What Makes a Baby offers a combination so rarely captured in children's books; beauty and meaning, fact and nuance, and most importantly the opportunity for all of us to see ourselves in these pages.  A book explaining pregnancy and childbirth that accounts for the wonderfully diverse ways babies are made is a gift."—Nadya Burton, PhD, Midwifery Education Program at Ryerson University

“The book talks about where babies come from in a way that encompasses kids who are adopted, conceived using reproductive technologies, through surrogacy, or the old-fashioned way, and regardless of how many people were involved, their orientation, gender, and other identity, or family composition. Author and sex educator Silverberg nails it, as does award-winning Canadian artist Fiona Smyth, who illustrated the book.”—The Advocate

"Designed for all kinds of children in all kinds of families, this will be particularly welcome in adoptive and non-traditional families but is, uniquely, an appealing and informative complement to early sex-education discussions with any child.”—Kirkus Reviews

"Smyth’s cartoons recall the work of Todd Parr, with a bright crayon-box palette. Silverberg’s writing is informative yet sufficiently general to let adults tailor the accompanying conversations as needed. A useful springboard for conversations about childbirth, no matter the family.”—Publisher's Weekly

"Silverberg’s quest to exclude no one means he omits much in the book – including any mention of sex. The point, he says, is to get children asking questions but letting parents answering them with however much detail they see fit."—The Globe and Mail 

"What Makes A Baby presents factual information on conception on a kid's level. With text that is open to personal embellishment, this book is sure to cater to many families and birth experiences.”—Green Parent Chicago

“The new book What Makes a Baby offers an origin story for all children, no matter what their families look like."—The Atlantic

"LGBT parents—and any others who have ever struggled to explain reproduction to their young children in a way relevant to their families—will rejoice at the new picture book What Makes a Baby. In 32 vibrant pages, Toronto-based author Cory Silverberg explains how babies are made—in a way that works for all family structures, ways of family creation, and parents’ gender identity."—Bay Windows

“Our family needed this book. Your family needs this book. In fact, I can’t think of a family that doesn't."—Philadelphia Family Pride

"Now parents can have easy-going, straightforward, and (hopefully) painless discussions with kids about the miracle of birth!”—Parents

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 3 - 7 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 2
  • Lexile Measure: AD740L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 36 pages
  • Publisher: Triangle Square; 1 edition (May 7, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1609804856
  • ISBN-13: 978-1609804855
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 0.4 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (130 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,899 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
As a pediatrician, I am often asked to recommend a good starter book about where babies come from. This book is applicable to all kinds of families, is engaging and has no scary elements. Although I have written a book with Cory, and think he is great, I didn't think that a book like this could be done that addressed baby making without discussing sexuality. He has pulled this off and it is a great starting point. My concern is that only "alternative" families (adopted kids, same sex parents, in vitro...) will buy this book. It is as applicable to the majority of families (heterosexual parents who had intercourse to get pregnant) as any other family.
If you have little kids, buy this book. It also makes a great baby present.
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Format: Hardcover
I got this book as a part of the Kickstarter campaign. When it arrived, I was pregnant with my donor conceived baby girl and read it to her several times through the belly. As a single mom by choice, it is important to me that I have a book that's inclusive of her path into this world and into my life. I love that it allows for me to tell her her unique conception and birth story (when she's old enough), and is NOT a series of "ways" adults can bring babies into the world. As a social justice educator, I am also impressed with how gender isn't emphasized: the figures are gender-neutral in shape and colors are not gender-specific (i.e. the moms/women aren't all pink), and this book is also very inclusive of LGBT families. This truly does work for ALL families and I'm looking forward to reading it to my girl when she's out of infancy. (I did read this to my nine and five year old nieces -- they both liked it a lot especially the younger one, and it led to a discussion of both their births (to a straight married couple) and how I wanted my birth to go; so this is a book that sparks bonding, self-awareness, and conversation!)

April 2015: I started reading this book to my girl when she was almost 2. She LOVES it and it is one of her favorite books. She even came up with a sign for uterus -- she holds her arms up like fallopian tubes and balls her fists into ovaries. When she sees pregnant mamas she says, "She has a baby in her uterus!" Everyone thinks it's adorable, and I like that she knows babies don't grow in your tummy. When we get to the uterus page, I point to the ovaries, and say "These are ovaries and this is where the eggs are. When sperm comes into the uterus, and there's an egg in the uterus, sometimes they get together and become a baby.
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Format: Kindle Edition
This is a wonderful book and fast became a favourite of my young daughter. She absolutely loves the parts that are personal to her, questions such as "who was waiting for you to be born?" and "Who was happy when you were born?" etc.
The illustrations are absolutely fantastic and the story line is open enough to incorporate every individual family's birth experience.
We positively adore this book and have told all our friends and family about it, asked for it at our local bookshops, and requested a copy be added to our local library's collection for everyone to enjoy.
What a treasure!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Last week my daughter asked where babies come from. When I was a child, I had a spectacularly matter-of-fact book that showed, with anatomically correct gentle cartoon people, sex, sperm, eggs, gestation, and birth. That's what I wanted when I ordered this book.

This book covers how babies are born and talks about the emotional side of having a baby, but completely skips the part about how the sperm gets to the egg...you know, the part about sex. In this book, at the point in the story where sex happens, the sexless cartoon figures are on opposite pages, not touching, apparently thinking happy thoughts about babies. Not helpful.

Worse, this book invents new euphemisms about the interaction between sperm and egg---do a dance and tell each other stories? Oh, please!

Sending it back.
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Format: Hardcover
I participated in the original Kickstarter fundraiser to get an advance copy of this book, and I can't say enough about how pleased I was with the result! Silverberg's book is easy to understand for preschoolers, and I was very happy to find a book that used the term "uterus" instead of womb, tummy, etc., because my husband and I prefer to use accurate terms with our kids. I also loved that it addressed both vaginal birth and C-section birth, since my son has several friends who were born by C-section and he has heard parents discussing it; the reference in the book made it easy for him to understand that it was just a different way to be born.

The book accomplishes its goal of allowing parents to incorporate the family's own experience into the discussion. We have friends that have adopted or have blended families, friends who required fertility treatments of varying degrees, and gay and single parent friends; because this book doesn't follow the typical "a mommy and a daddy love each other" model, none of these families is excluded. Its general explanation also allows parents to discuss intercourse as much or as little as they choose. My husband and I have decided to introduce sex in very technical terms with our kids (4 and 2), but a friend of mine who bought the book has chosen not to; it's equally appropriate for both of us.

This has now become my go-to book purchase when a family with a preschooler is expecting a baby, and the future big brothers and sisters I have given it to so far have all enjoyed it too.

I highly recommend this book for anyone with children in the age range, and I'm eagerly awaiting the author's planned books for the 7 - 9 and 11 - 13 age groups.
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