Shafia Zaloom's Picks: Sex Ed Books for Kids

Health educator, author, and mother of three Shafia Zaloom is a leading expert in talking to kids and teens about sex, consent, and healthy relationships. She teaches at the Urban School in San Francisco and consults with schools and districts on health education. Her work has also been featured in The New York Times and USA Today as well as on NPR and PBS. Her acclaimed book, Sex, Teens, and Everything in Between, has helped many parents start conversations with their teens about the societal messages (and literal messages) they're getting about sex and relationships.

But for many families, discussing sex education and puberty ranges from tricky to taboo. And news about sexual harassment and assault brought up the topic earlier than expected for some. "This reading list is for parents ready to engage in brave conversations with their children about healthy sexuality and relationships across the developmental stages," says Zaloom of the books included here. "There is decades of research that tells us when we engage in consistent, straightforward, honest, and positive dialogue with our children about the joys and responsibilities of healthy bodies and sexuality, they are more likely to grow up to embrace bodily and sexual autonomy, make decisions in the interest of their sexual health, and have enriching relationships that are grounded in mutual respect, safety, care, and dignity." To learn more about Shafia Zaloom's work or to find her book, visit her website.

What Makes a Baby Poster Image
BOOK

What Makes a Baby

age 3+

Great book about babies for every kid and every family.

By: Cory Silverberg (2013)
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It's Not the Stork! Poster Image
BOOK

It's Not the Stork!

age 5+

Curious kids will appreciate the honest facts-of-life book.

By: Robie H. Harris (2006)
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It's So Amazing! Poster Image
BOOK

It's So Amazing!

age 7+

Engaging, straightforward guide to sex ed basics for tweens.

By: Robie H. Harris (2004)
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Sex Is a Funny Word: A Book About Bodies, Feelings, and YOU Poster Image
BOOK

Sex Is a Funny Word: A Book About Bodies, Feelings, and YOU

age 7+

Inclusive, lively guide to bodies, touch for older kids.

By: Cory Silverberg (2015)
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Celebrate Your Body (and Its Changes, Too!): The Ultimate Puberty Book for Girls Poster Image
BOOK

Celebrate Your Body (and Its Changes, Too!): The Ultimate Puberty Book for Girls

age 8+

Pitch-perfect, body-positive puberty guide for young tweens.

By: Sonya Renee Taylor (2018)
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Growing Up Great!: The Ultimate Puberty Book for Boys Poster Image
BOOK

Growing Up Great!: The Ultimate Puberty Book for Boys

age 8+

Encouraging puberty guide covers emotional growth, too.

By: Scott Todnem (2019)
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Wait, What?: A Comic Book Guide to Relationships, Bodies, and Growing Up Poster Image
BOOK

Wait, What?: A Comic Book Guide to Relationships, Bodies, and Growing Up

age 10+

Modern, nuanced sex-ed guide fantastic for tweens, teens.

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It's Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health Poster Image
BOOK

It's Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health

age 12+

Informative, updated, explicit sex ed book.

By: Robie H. Harris (2014)
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S.E.X.: The All-You-Need-To-Know Sexuality Guide to Get You Through Your Teens and Twenties Poster Image
BOOK

S.E.X.: The All-You-Need-To-Know Sexuality Guide to Get You Through Your Teens and Twenties

age 14+

Fantastic inclusive, progressive sex guide for teens and up.

By: Heather Corinna (2016)
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