Puberty and Sexuality

Where Did I Come From?; Peter Mayle; 1977; ages 3 to 6; nonfiction. A classic book for preschoolers about sexuality.

So That's How I Was Born?; Robert Brooks; 1993; ages 3 to 6; nonfiction. Using a conversation with Joey, parents answer common questions about conception and birth. The book retains a sense of curiosity and excitement, while explaining the "facts of life" in understandable language.

How Babies and Families Are Made; Patricia Schaffer; 1988; ages 3 to 7; nonfiction. Simple but factual text describes how babies are made, focusing on different types of families. Addresses birth parents, step parents, adoption, and artificial insemination.

One Dad, Two Dads; Brown Dad, Blue Dad; Johnny Valentine; 1994; ages 3 to 6; fiction. A charming and humorous book that pokes fun at the notion that dads all look the same and that families have to include only one of them.

Daddy's Roommate; Michael Willhoite; 1991; ages 3 to 6; fiction. A delightfully illustrated picture book about a child who lives part time with his father and his father's male partner. Describes in simple terms the loving relationships within this nontraditional family.

Heather Has Two Mommies; Leslea Newman; 1991; ages 3 to 8; fiction. A classic story of a 3-year-old girl who is surprised when she discovers in a play group that not all children have two moms as she does, and some even have a daddy.

Asha's Mums; Rosamund Elwin and Michele Paulse; 1990; ages 5 to 7; fiction. A delightful story relating a first grader's need to describe her lesbian mothers to her teachers and classmates to counter their disbelief.

How Would You Feel If Your Dad Was Gay?; 1994; Anne Heron and Meredith Maran; ages 6 to 12; fiction. A touching story that explores the feelings of three children growing up with lesbian and gay parents. It is both simple and complex, realistically portraying the prejudice, confusion, and self-doubt experienced by children who have gay parents.

Asking About Sex and Growing Up; Joanna Cole; 1988; ages 7 to 11; nonfiction. One of the few books for boys and girls in this age group that is reassuring and accurate.

What's Happening To Me?; Peter Mayle; 1975; ages 7 to 11; nonfiction. A straightforward look at puberty for boys and girls, using delightful cartoon-like illustrations.

Zack's Story; Keith Greenberg; 1996; ages 8 to 12; nonfiction. This essay, illustrated with photographs, is written by an 11-year-old boy whose parents are lesbian. Describes poignantly the complexity the child faces in understanding racism, divorce, lesbian relationships, and the stereotypes and prejudices that surround these various family circumstances. Puts homophobia in perspective with other stereotyping/stigmatizing circumstances.

It's A Girl Thing; Mavis Jukes; 1998; ages 9 to 12; nonfiction. Straightforward and funny. Answers questions girls wonder about-from buying bras to sexuality.

It's Perfectly Normal; Robie H. Harris; 1994; ages 11 to 14; nonfiction. A delightful description of the physiologic and psychological changes of puberty.

Are You There, God, It's Me, Margaret; Judy Blume; 1991; ages 10 to 14; fiction. A 12-year-old thinks about boys, bras, God, and who will be first to get her period.

Space Station 7th Grade; Jerry Spinelli; 1991; ages 10 to 14; fiction. A seventh-grade boy describes his adjustment to junior high: first love, first gym class shower, and first tryout for the football team. Hilarious. Some mature references.

Then, Again, Maybe I Won't; Judy Blume; 1986; ages 12 to 15; fiction. A 12-year-old thinks about his fascination with sex and worries about the changes in his body.

Twelve Days in August; Liza Ketchum Murrow; 1993; ages 12 to 16; fiction. A gripping novel about the ethical choices faced by a 16-year-old soccer star when issues of friendship, racism, and homophobia mix to create an intolerable dilemma.

Two Teenagers In Twenty; Ann Heron; 1995; ages 13 to 16; nonfiction. A series of essays written by teenagers who describe their varied experiences with being gay or lesbian.

Hearing Us Out; Roger Sutton; 1997; ages 13 to 18; nonfiction. Moving essays by gay and lesbian teenagers and adults that describe the difficulties and the successes of being gay and confronting homophobia in school, on the job, and in the family.

Adolescence: The Survival Guide for Parents and Teenagers; Elizabeth Fenwick and Tony Smith; 1994; adults; nonfiction. Appealing format and writing style; addresses all typical adolescent issues and concerns.

Now That You Know; Betty Fairchild and Nancy Hayward; 1989; adults; nonfiction. A straightforward guide for parents who have learned recently that a son or a daughter is homosexual. This is a classic book of information and support that counters many misconceptions and stereotypes about homosexuality.

Adapted from: Ellen C. Perrin, MD Susan Starr, MEd Addressing Common Pediatric Concerns Through Children's Books. Pediatrics in Review. 2000;21:130-138. © 2000 American Academy of Pediatrics

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