Books are a great way to start a conversation with a child about an important topic. We read 4 books recently that I intentionally got out of the library, so I could talk with Christopher about some of his behaviors and also some things about the world I want him to know about. We’ll start with the most significant one.
Christopher has been watching some Disney shows on Netflix that are meant for kids much older than he is. They’re relatively harmless, but it got me thinking. I don’t want him to hear about sex from a TV show. We’ve already talked about where babies come from, but I hadn’t really addresses the subject of sex. Sperm and eggs are fairly easy to talk about since it’s science. But penises and vaginas are a little trickier. So, being the reader that I am, I turned to a book.
I got a couple of books out of the library intended to just look through them myself and have a book ready to go when he started asking questions. But then one of the books was really age appropriate, and I decided to ask him if he’d heard the word “sex” before. He said he hadn’t. But being my son, ever inquisitive, he wouldn’t just let it go. So I showed him the book and said we’d read it together. And so we did. And it wasn’t hard at all.
I really want to keep the lines of communication open with Christopher. I don’t want him to feel weird talking to me about his body. And I don’t want it to be weird to share truths with him. I am all about being honest and open and giving him the information he needs before he’s seeking it out from other sources.
What’s the Big Secret?: Talking about Sex with Girls and Boys by Laurene Krasny Brown
This book is a bit dated. There were some comments about gender stereotypes that I skipped over as we read it, but in general it was a great overview of sex and reproduction. It’s suitable for ages 6-9: pre-pubescent children. It covers the following: physical differences between boys and girls, touching, making a baby (sex, sperm, eggs, etc.), labor, delivery, and puberty. It was a great resource.
Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts
I’ve tried to talk with Christopher about how lucky he is…to be white, to be male, to have parents who love him and can support him. This book helped illustrate that not all kids have money for the things they need and want. Jeremy really wants a certain pair of shoes, but his grandmother can’t afford them. Jeremy tries hard to make it happen, but in the end, it just doesn’t work out. It was sad but wonderful to read.
Mr. Particular: The World’s Choosiest Champion! by Jason Kirschner
Mr. Particular is very picky, about everything. I thought this book would just be about eating, which is why I borrowed it from the library for Christopher. But the boy in this story is particular about the way he plays and everything. It’s a comic book, super hero style story. And it’s really cute. The boy’s friends don’t want to play with him anymore because of how picky he is, but when he learns to be flexible, they’re happy to welcome him back.
Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed by Emily Pearson
Mary is an ordinary girl, but she does something kind for a neighbor. She leaves cartons of blueberries on the porch, and the neighbor makes muffins, which she shares with 5 other people. Those 5 people do kind things for other people and the ripple of kindness spreads across the world. It’s a great lesson in random acts of kindness and exponential growth. It was a little confusing because not all of the people’s connections are that clearly explained, but we enjoyed it anyway.
What has your family been reading this summer?