What Makes a Baby

Book review by
Mandie Caroll, Common Sense Media
What Makes a Baby Book Poster Image
Great book about babies for every kid and every family.

Parents say

age 3+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Young readers will learn that it takes an egg, a sperm, and a uterus to make a baby. They'll also get kid-friendly introductions to genes and vaginal and cesarean births.

Positive Messages

Every kind of family and every kind of kid is unique, real, and special. You are wanted and loved. We're glad you were born.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Cartoon illustrations reflect skin color diversity in bold greens, purples, blues yellows, pinks, and oranges. Bodies are of many sizes and represent many genders and ages. Characters are seen in hijab, in a wheelchair, and using a cane.

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that sexuality educator Cory Silverberg's picture book What Makes a Baby answers the "Where do babies come from?" question for any kid from any family. The book covers conception, gestation, and birth without referring to gender or family composition, so that every kid's birth story can be recounted while reading, and their family affirmed. The central message is that all families and kids are unique and special. The bright and bold-color illustrations evoke the vast diversity of skin color, body size, gender, age, culture, and abilities that kids see in their real lives. With non-sexual descriptions of eggs, sperm, the uterus, genetics, growth of a fetus and birth, this book is educationally sound and appropriate for even the youngest of readers.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bymdoddr February 23, 2021

Breaks it down perfectly

Sometimes it can be hard to put things in a way kids will understand. Human reproduction is so complicated it can be confusing to know what to edit out and what... Continue reading

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What's the story?

WHAT MAKES A BABY begins with a pared-down description of conception: a baby comes from an egg and a sperm joined together and a uterus for the baby to grow in. One spread shows the duration of gestation at various points throughout pregnancy. Labor is described as sometimes long and painful, and vaginal and cesarean births are rendered in exciting and non-scary pictures and text. In the middle and end of the book, the text prompts readers to discuss questions like, "Who helped bring together the egg and sperm that you grew from?" and "Who was waiting for you to be born?" making this an interactive book that allows family history to be incorporated in the reading.

Is it any good?

While this book is valuable for its factual accuracy, what sets it apart is its truly inclusive nature. Though some adult readers may at first find the avoidance of gender in What Makes a Baby odd ("Some bodies have eggs, and some do not"), the strength of this approach is that it allows parents to explain as much or as little about gender and bodies as they want. By dispensing with the standard mother-father model to describe how babies are made, this guide also affirms kids and families with single parents, same gender parents, grandparent caregivers, and so forth. Digital artist Fiona Smyth's heavily lined cartoon illustrations use bold, bright colors in the tradition of Todd Parr. Young kids will love exploring the visually rich and exciting pictures, while also learning about bodies, babies, and their own origin story.

At a time when what makes a family and what makes a baby are as varied as they've ever been, this book simply and powerfully can spark conversations about family history in all its unique beauty.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the way What Makes a Baby shows bodies: Did you learn anything new about bodies? Why do you think the illustrator used rainbow colors for skin colors? Do you see bodies that look like your family members?

  • Talk about the "stories" inside eggs and sperm. What are the stories that mixed together to make you?

  • This book shows that babies are born in different ways. How were you born? Ask your adult to tell you about the day you came into your family. What makes this story special to you?

Book details

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For kids who love books for early readers

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