Books for All Bodies

When it comes to bodies, kids have a lot of questions. Toddlers want to know what body parts are called, preschoolers may ask how babies are made, school-aged children are starting to wonder about puberty, and teens need to understand sex, relationships, and consent. Many of the books that parents in this generation have grown up with, however, tended to leave a lot of bodies and families out of the conversation. Luckily, we’re now seeing a whole range of diverse and inclusive body books emerge, for young people of all ages.

Newfoundland and Labrador Public Libraries has partnered with Parents of Trans, Two Spirit, and Gender Diverse Kids peer support group to bring you some of our favourite inclusive titles about bodies, babies, puberty, and sex.

[Note: An earlier version of this article appeared in The Telegram (October 16, 2021) as part of NLPL's monthly column. It can be accessed with your library card via PressReader. It has been updated to add newly published titles as of June 2022.]

Updated June 14, 2023
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Bodies are cool.
Feder, Tyler.
This cheerful love-your-body picture book for preschoolers is an exuberant read-aloud with bright and friendly illustrations to pore over.   From the acclaimed creator of Dancing at the Pity Party and Roaring Softly, this picture book is a pure celebration of all the...

Ages 2-7

A vibrantly-illustrated picture book that is beautifully body-positive and inclusive of human physical diversity, including size, race, disabilities, scars, body hair, gender, and family types. The illustrations are colourful and joyful, with small details that kids will delight in finding. The book celebrates many body parts - skin, hair, eyes, faces, fingers, tummies, legs, and scars. The only addition (or sequel?) we hoped for was a fuller portrayal of anatomy - similar to the now three decades-old Bare Naked Book - because we think these authors would have a wonderfully inclusive approach to genital anatomy. One of the best we’ve seen

The bare naked book /
Stinson, Kathy
"A joyous celebration of all bodies."--STARRED review, Kirkus Reviews WINNER: 2022 ALA Rainbow Book List Bodies, bodies! Big and small, short and tall, young and old--Every BODY is different! The Bare Naked Book has been a beloved fixture in libraries, classrooms, and...

Ages 2-7

This important classic picture book about parts of the body has gotten a wonderfully inclusive update and new illustrations that reflect a range of diversity. Similar to "Bodies Are Cool" in style, but (as promised by the title), this book also features bare naked bodies with a spread about genitals. Body parts aren't named specifically beyond the term "genitals," and aren't identified by gender, which makes this book great for anyone. Parents and caregivers can choose to add additional naming language as needed

Making a baby /
Greener, Rachel.
This inclusive guide to how every family begins is an honest, cheerful tool for conversations between parents and their young ones. To make a baby you need one egg, one sperm, and one womb. But every family starts in its own special way. This book answers the "Where did I...

Ages 2-7

A wonderfully straightforward picture book about how babies are made, with much inclusive language, and one unfortunate omission. Parents rmay want to edit their reading of the introductory page about babies and body parts to make it more genderinclusive (we hope to see this in future editions, plus a change to the language of “biological sex” in the back matter). That said, the rest of the book uses inclusive language like “the womb of the person who is going to grow the baby.” The biological explanations are simple, accessible, age-appropriate, gender-inclusive, and include specific descriptions of sexual intercourse, artificial insemination, IVF, surrogacy, and adoption. Great representation of diverse families.

What makes a baby : a book for every kind of family and every kind of kid /
Silverberg, Cory
What Makes a Baby is a book for every kind of family and every kind of kid. It is a 21st century children’s picture book about where babies come from that reflects the reality of our modern time by being inclusive of all kinds of kids, adults, and families, however they came to be.

Ages 2-7

A simple yet engaging narrative that provides a framework for families to fill in their own details about how their child came into their family. The wording is gender-inclusive (“some people have a uterus”) and inclusive of all family types and conception/birth/adoption stories. However, if you are looking to introduce names of body parts, or how the sperm gets to the egg, you may find this book lacking in details.

Sex is a funny word : a book about bodies, feelings, and YOU /
Silverberg, Cory
2016 Winner of theNorma Fleck Award for Canadian Children's Non-Fiction 2016 ALA Stonewall Book Award, Honor Book 2016 ALA Notable Children's Book A comic book for kids that includes children and families of all makeups, orientations, and gender...

Ages 8-12

An engaging and inclusive graphic novel about bodies and body changes, gender identity, consent, crushes and relationships. This book discusses sex through the lenses of respect, trust, joy and justice, with ongoing discussions of consent and privacy. It includes diverse representations of gender, sexuality, culture, race, and ability, and uses inclusive language like “some bodies have vulvas and some don’t.” The section on safety and ‘secret touching’ has suggestions for talking about unwanted touch and ideas for alternatives to hugs. One caveat - kids in the older range may have questions that go beyond the scope of this book. Though ‘sex’ is in the title, the book does not describe sexual activity, and sexual identities are only defined in the glossary. (Good news — a third book in this series is coming in 2022 called “You Know, Sex.”)

You Know, Sex : Bodies, Gender, Puberty, and Other Things.
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2023 ALA RAINBOW BOOK LIST WINNER 2023 DOUG WRIGHT AWARD A completely new approach to learning about puberty, sex, and gender for kids 10+. Here is the much-anticipated third book in the trilogy that started with the award-winning What Makes a Baby and Sex Is a Funny...

Ages 8-12

This is the latest from Cory Silverberg, with more of a focus on puberty, gender and changing bodies.

"The puberty, anatomy, and reproduction chapters include trans, nonbinary, and intersex bodies and experience, and all of it takes place in our contemporary, media-saturated world (aka, there’s lots of smart phones and social media). Racially and ethnically diverse, inclusive of cross-disability experience, You Know, Sex is a book for every kind of young person and every kind of family—essential for kids, everyone who knows a kid, and anyone who has ever been a kid." [Publisher's Description]

Let's talk about it : [graphic novel] the teen's guide to sex, relationships, an
Moen, Erika, 1983-
Is what I'm feeling normal? Is what my body is doing normal? Am I normal? How do I know what are the right choices to make? How do I know how to behave? How do I fix it when I make a mistake? Let's talk about it. Growing up is complicated. How do you...

Ages 14+

An appealing book in graphic novel format for teens who want to know more about how sex and relationships work, and are comfortable getting into the specifics of both. The illustrations are inclusive and joyously body-positive, with diverse representation of gender, body size, sexuality, race, and ability. Topics are explored in a series of short dialogue-rich comics that cover consent, types of romantic relationships, body image, gender identity, safe sex, masturbation, fantasies, climax, sexting, and much more. Features in-depth descriptions of anatomy and puberty that are genderinclusive, with language like “generally testosterone rich body.” A supportive sexpositive book that centers consent, respect, communication, and emotional wellbeing.

S.E.X. : the all-you-need-to-know sexuality guide to get you through your teens
Corinna, Heather.
The go-to sex ed guide for teens and young adults, tackling everything you want to know about sex, from consent, safe sex, emotional health and more, from the founder of scarleteen.com. As a teen or emerging adult, dealing with all the changes going on in your life, body, and...

Ages 16+

This is one of our favourite reads - a thorough, nuanced, and empowering reference book on sex, identity, and relationships, inclusive of all genders and all sexualities. While designed for teens and young adults, even parents may learn a thing or two from this thoughtful text! Fourteen chapters cover essential topics for young people who are thinking about or beginning to have sex, including body image, sexual and gender identity, consent, respect, sexual health, anatomy, the how-tos of many sexual activities, contraception, pregnancy, sexual violence, and intimate partner violence. It also includes one of the best explanations we’ve read on how to recognize that you may be in an emotionally abusive relationship.

A quick & easy guide to queer & trans identities [graphic novel] /
G, Mady
In this quick and easy guide to queer and trans identities, cartoonistsMady G and JR Zuckerberg guide you through the basics of the LGBT+ world!Covering essential topics like sexuality, gender identity, coming out, andnavigating relationships, this guide explains the spectrum of human...

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