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

by Cory Silverberg
Illustrated by Fiona Smyth

Published by Seven Stories Press, 2015
159 pages
ISBN: 978-1-60980-606-4

Ages 8-13

One of the most unusual and welcome aspects of this graphic novel on human growth and development is its treatment of gender as non-binary. Another is its emphasis on four core concepts across the chapters: trust, respect, joy, and justice. Chapter topics include What Is Sex? Learning About Bodies; Boys, Girls, All of Us; Touch; Talking about Sex; Crushes, Love and Relationships; What’s Next? The information is presented in a dynamic context as four friends, age eight to 10, are learning about sex (which has several definitions ranging from gender to the sexual act to reproduction). The kids are shown in discussions with one another, family members, and others on some pages, while other pages focus on presenting factual information. One of the kids, Zai, clearly understands s/he falls outside the gender binary, not identifying as either boy or girl. The book’s unusual palette features characters with skin that is blue, green, purple, violet, and other colors, while faces show cultural specificity and distinction. There is also a range of body types and abilities affirmed across the illustrations.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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