Recommended Reading List - Parents

Beyond the Big Talk: Every Parent’s Guide to Raising Sexually Healthy Teens
Debra W. Haffner, Newmarket Press, 2001.

A guide for adults about adolescent sexual development, values, influences, parent involvement, and what to say and do.

From Diapers to Dating: A Parent’s Guide to Raising Sexually Healthy Youth (2nd. Edition)
Debra Haffner. Newmarket Press, 2008.

This book is filled with practical advice and guidelines to help parents feel more comfortable talking to children and early adolescents about sexuality issues. Incorporating values exercise, it encourages parents to examine their own sexual values so that they can share these messages.

What Every 21st-Century Parent Needs to Know: Facing Today’s Challenges with Wisdom and Heart
Debra W. Haffner. Newmarket, 2008.

This book presents parents with facts and statistics about the toughest issues teens face in today’s world, including drugs, sex, and drinking, but Haffner interprets them in an optimistic way and focuses on helping parents make realistic and positive parenting choices that will bring out the best in their child.

For older children, preteens and teens: GIRLS

American Medical Association Girl’s Guide to Becoming a Teen
Kate Gruenwald, Jossey-Bass, 2006.

With information from the American Medical Association, this book teaches girls 9-12 about both the physical (nutrition, exercise, and menstruation) and emotional (feelings and relationships) changes and issues that need to be addressed with the arrival of puberty. This guide does not spend great detail on sex or contraception, encouraging readers to wait.

The Period Book: Everything You Don’t Want to Ask (But Need to Know)
Karen Gravelle and Jennifer Gravelle with illustrations by Debbie Palen. Walker and Company, 1996.

This is a positive, down-to-earth book illustrated with funny and sympathetic cartoons. It answers the many questions that young women may have about their “period.” It will also help guide young women through physical, emotional, and social changes.

For older children, preteens and teens: BOYS

American Medical Association Boy’s Guide to Becoming a Teen
Kate Gruenwald Pfeifer, Jossey-Bass, 2006.

With information from the American Medical Association, this book teaches boys 9-12 about both the physical (nutrition, exercise, and growing bodies) and emotional (feelings and relationships) changes and issues that need to be addressed with the arrival of puberty. This guide does not spend great detail on sex or contraception, encouraging readers to wait.

What’s Going on Down There? Answers to Questions Boys Find Hard to Ask
Karen Graville with Nick and Chava Castro and illustrated by Robert Leighton, Walker and Company, 1998.

Straightforward and entertainingly presented, this book helps boys understand the changes that occur during puberty, what causes these changes, and what to expect. The book addresses sexual orientation, masturbation, intercourse, contraception, STDs and pregnancy.

For older children, preteens and teens: GIRLS AND BOYS

It’s Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Sex and Sexual Health
Robie H. Harris and illustrated by Michael Emberly, Candlewick Press, 2004.

In this book accurate information about sexuality is presented in a reader-friendly style that includes age appropriate illustrations and humor. From conception and puberty to contraception and HIV/AIDS, it covers both the biological and psychological aspects of sexuality.

Too Old for This, Too Young for That! Your Survival Guide for the Middle-School Years
Harriet S. Mosatche and Karen Unger, Free Spirit Publishing, 2005.

Geared toward preteens ages 9-12, this illustrated book uses humor and examples of situations that may arise to inform about physical and emotional changes, peer pressure, and family life. Survival tips and further resources are listed to give kids more information and confidence as they enter adolescence.

What If Someone I Know Is Gay? Answers to Questions about Gay and Lesbian People
Eric Marcus, Penguin Putnam Incorporated, 2000.

This book for teens provides questions and answers about homosexuality and bisexuality. Topics include coming out, friends and family, religion, sexual behavior, school, activism, and discrimination. The book includes a resource section.

For younger children

Amazing You! Getting Smart About Your Private Parts
Gail Saltz, M.D. and illustrated by Lynne Cravath, Dutton Publishing, 2005.

This book is mostly pictures with anatomically correct illustrations and proper terms for body parts. It’s meant for parents and their children, ages 3 to 7, to read together.

Bellybuttons Are Navels
Mark Schoen and illustrated by M.J. Quay, Prometheus Books, 1990.

This children’s book is intended to create a relaxed environment for the discussion of sexuality. It will help parents initiate and guide matter-of-fact, accurate discussions with their young children about sexual anatomy.

Did the Sun Shine Before You Were Born?
Sol and Judith Gordon, Prometheus Books, 1992.

Targeted to children three to seven years old, this book focuses on the family and how it grows. It explains everything from conception to birth. Illustrated with charcoal drawings of multicultural images, this book fosters communication between parents and children by the sharing of values and ideas.

It’s NOT the Stork! A Book About Girls, Boys, Babies, Bodies, Families, and Friends
Robie Harris and illustrated by Michael Emberley, Candlewick Press, 2005.

This book is for ages four and up to help answer those endless and perfectly normal questions that preschool, kindergarten and early elementary school children ask about how they began and what makes a girl a girl and a boy a boy.

It’s So Amazing! : A Book About Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies, and Families
Robie Harris and illustrated by Michael Emberley, Candlewick Press, 2002.

Also available in Spanish, ¡Es Alucinante!
This book provides a solid combination of appealing cartoon humor and intelligently presented, straightforward information, presented at the middle elementary age level, about many topics kids wonder about: bodily changes, abuse, intercourse, birth control, pregnancy and birth, genetics, love, masturbation, homosexuality, HIV and AIDS.

Molly’s Family
Nancy Garden, Farrar, Straus and Giroux Publishing, 2004.

This book depicts to children aged four to eight a story about Molly and her two mothers. While Molly has trouble finding peer acceptance at first, support and understanding grow as all different types of families are explored.

For the complete list of recommended reading materials, click here (PDF).