The Every Body Book, The LGBTQ+ Inclusive Guide for Kids about Sex, Gender, Bodies, and Families
Written by Rachel E. Simon, LCSW and Illustrated by Noah Grigni, Published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2020
This gender affirming, body positive, beautifully illustrated book is groundbreaking. Just look at the front and back cover illustrations for confirmation that this isn’t your everyday middle-school sex education textbook. This book is an invaluable resource for any adult who teaches, parents, cares for and loves an upper-elementary or middle-school aged child and is looking to navigate awkward first conversations about bodies, puberty, sex, gender, and relationships. Covering topics including hormones, puberty, consent, sex, pregnancy, babies, love and attraction, different types of families, keeping your body safe, and more, this slim 90-page informative book uses gender-neutral language throughout, and celebrates diversity in all its forms, including race, ethnicity, faith, bodies, gender, and sexuality.
Excerpted from “Introduction: Why this Book, Why Now (a note for the Grown-Ups)”:
How many children’s books have you seen about sex, gender, bodies, and families? Of those books, how many of them truly reflect the diversity of human bodies, identities, and how we choose to connect with one another? … My hope with this book is to provide an inclusive view of sexuality than neither I nor my clients have seen in other children’s books on the subject.
You will notice that in this book I use a lot of gender-neutral language – such as “parent” instead of “mother” and person with a “penis” instead of “male.” The reason I do this is to be inclusive of people along the entire spectrum of gender identity. Yes, many people with vaginas are women, but some are not. It is important for our children to learn about themselves and about the experiences of kids who are different from them. I am hopeful that using inclusive language can help teach children of all genders (while reminding ourselves) that sex and gender are two different things, that transgender, non-binary, and intersex people deserve representation and affirmation, and that we can make people feel safe just by welcoming them with our words.
This is a book for all kinds of kids and all kinds of families. I hope that it provides information in a safe, inclusive, affirming way, and that it helps jumpstart important conversations in your family and community.
This book is extremely well done. In addition to being wonderfully diverse, using inclusive clear language and artwork, topics are addressed in a very matter-of-fact non-judgmental tone. The artwork does include nudity, due to the topics covered, but artwork and text are solely for educational purposes. The book concludes with a list of resources for more information, as well as a note promoting open channels of communication between children and their families. While recommended for children aged 8-12, it can be used with even younger children who are curious about their bodies and want to learn more.
About the Author: Rachel E. Simon, LCSW, is a psychotherapist and educator who specializes in gender and sexuality and runs her private practice in Philadelphia, PA. She has worked in partnership with the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Gender and Sexuality Development Clinic, Mazzoni Center, and Walnut Psychotherapy Center.
About the Illustrator: Noah Grigni (they/them) is a queer, trans, freelance comic artist and illustrator in Atlanta, GA who makes art for and with their communities, who they define as trans youth and trauma survivors in the South and beyond. Their work bridges themes of gender, sexuality, body positivity, and trans history. Noah loves working with kids, and often visits schools to lead workshops on art, gender, and storytelling. You can see more of their work at noahgrigni.com.
This book review was submitted by Stand with Trans board member Barb Shumer, who is a retired public librarian.
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