Parents and caregivers play an absolutely crucial role in teaching kids about puberty, especially because things like sex education and menstruation education are “seriously lacking” in schools, experts warn. They’re conversations that should start young — and happen often.
But unfortunately, many parents didn’t grow up having these types of talks in their homes, which can make broaching this with their own kiddos challenging and uncomfortable.
The 12 books on this list tackle a broad range of puberty-related issues, from the biology of particular changes to issues like body positivity and consent. They meet kids where they’re at developmentally, from preschool to tween-dom. And, crucially, they’re way less corny than the scant offerings that were available to many parents when they were kids.
Read these books aloud together, or — depending on your child’s age and reading ability — pass them back and forth, letting children mark passages where they have questions or read something they’d like to talk about.
Remember: If one conversation doesn’t go well, or if you feel like a particular book didn’t resonate with your child, just try again. As Vanessa Bennett, founder of Dynamo Girl and author of the Uncertain Parenting Newsletter, previously told HuffPost: “The most important thing is that these are conversations that have no judgment.”
Puberty Is Gross But Also Really Awesome
Penguin Random House
It’s So Amazing!
A Kids Book About Body Image
A Kids Book About
What Makes A Baby
Sex Is A Funny Word
Guy Stuff: The Body Book For Boys
Celebrate Your Body
The Every Body Book
Jessica Kingsley Publishers
Sex Positive Talks To Have With Kids
Sex Positive Families
Let’s Talk About Body Boundaries, Consent And Respect
Hair In Funny Places
Red Fox Books