By Children’s Librarian Hal Patnott
Developing accurate and affirming language to name the parts of our bodies and understanding the ways in which bodies change as we age is an important skill for young people to learn. Not only is it a matter of physical health, but it also provides young people with better tools to advocate for themselves and set boundaries.
Unfortunately, in our education about bodies, we are often taught language that excludes transgender and intersex folks in our communities, particularly when we make binary distinctions about what “boys’ bodies” and “girls’ bodies” are supposed to look like.
Starting a conversation about bodies and puberty may feel intimidating and embarrassing, but you don’t have to do it alone! Find some resources to help below.
Read these books
- It Feels Good to Be Yourself: A Book About Gender Identity by Theresa Thorn
- What Makes a Baby, Sex Is a Funny Word, and You Know, Sex: Bodies, Gender, Puberty, and Other Things! by Cory Silverberg
- The Every Body Book: The LGBTQ+ Inclusive Guide for Kids About Sex, Gender, Bodies, and Families by Rachel E. Simon
- Wait, What? A Comic Book Guide to Relationships, Bodies, and Growing Up by Heather Corinna
- You Be You! The Kid’s Guide to Gender, Sexuality, and Family by Jonathan Branfam
Check out these Discovery Kits
- Anatomy Kit: Comes with a human anatomy model (head, body/skeleton, or brain/heart) or skeleton puzzle, and Magic School Bus: Inside the Human Body.
- Body Kit: Comes with a doctor bag, life-size skeleton floor puzzle, and The Skeleton Inside You.
Explore these web resources
- Never Fear Talks: Watch real-life examples of adults and youth having quick, meaningful conversations about navigating sexual health from Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago
- interACT: Learn more about intersex identities through interACT, an advocacy organization for intersex youth. Their website is full of great resources, including videos of intersex folks sharing their stories.
- The Gender Unicorn: This free tool is great for facilitating creative conversations about bodies, gender, and sex.
- Every Body Curious: This web series, created and hosted by experts in sexual health education, introduces young people to topics including body image, puberty, and consent.
- Six Minute Sex Ed: This sex education podcast places a strong emphasis on consent and setting boundaries. The lessons are six minutes and introduce topics like privacy, identifying trusted adults, and puberty. Six Minute Sex Ed is available on both Sound Cloud and Apple.
Hal Patnott is a children’s librarian who specializes in serving LGBTQ+ young people and their allies. He is passionate about identity exploration through collaborative storytelling and imaginative play.