Recently, my six-year-old daughter has been asking a lot of questions about where babies come from, and the old "from mommies' tummies" line wasn't cutting it anymore. Based on referrals from two good sources (Asha Dornfest at Parenthacks http://www.parenthacks.com/ and Marjorie Ingall at The Jewish Daily Forward http://www.forward.com/articles/learning-the-facts-of-life/) I ordered "It's So Amazing! A Book About Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies, and Families" by Robie H. Harris and Michael Emberley.
Well, this book answers every question my daughter had and a few she hadn't thought of yet. This really is a soup-to-nuts book that covers everything: anatomy, puberty, sexual intercourse, fetal development, "not okay touches", adoption, birth control, masturbation, and AIDS. I have to admit, I skipped over the last two topics because I was a little overwhelmed over the amount of information we covered in a short time. My daughter, on the other hand, took it all in stride. The book is for ages seven and up, but it seemed like it would be at the right level for any early elementary student.
The cute, cartoon-style illustrations show everything from the anatomy differences between males and females of various ages to a syringe shooting a sterilized egg into the uterus after artificial insemination. And Emberley makes that look cute! My three-year-old son is endlessly fascinated by the illustrations of the sperm speeding through the vas deferens, but I'm not sure he has any idea what the book is actually about. His time will come soon enough!
I would consider myself a pretty open, non-repressed person, so I was surprised that it was difficult to talk about reproduction with my kids before we got this book. I wasn't sure how much information my kids needed to know. I wanted my daughter to have honest information, but I didn't want a vagina monologue at the dinner table. This book really helped me. It provides enough information to answer a young child's questions, and presents it in a cheerful, matter-of-fact way.
Like I said, I did skip a few sections, but I'll go back and cover those soon. And this book will make it a lot easier. I'm hoping that by starting the conversation now, my kids will feel comfortable talking to me about all of these topics as they grow older.
The same team has written a book for ages 4 and up called, "It's Not the Stork" and a book for ages 10 and up called, "It's Perfectly Normal." I'm eagerly waiting for their adult books, "It's Not Hot in Here -- You're Having a Hot Flash" and "It's Perfectly Normal to Need Viagra at Your Age."