20 Jul Book Review: The Amazing True Story Of How Babies Are Made
The day our kids ask us, “Where do babies come from?” can be a confronting one. Most of us aren’t keen to talk to our children about reproduction or sex, and hope to avoid addressing such questions for as long as possible.
The Amazing True Story Of How Babies Are Made seeks to take that confronting day and make it less awkward, with clear easy-to-follow explanations and cheerful cartoon illustrations of families, babies, the reproductive system, IVF, birth and even a couple in the act of reproducing.
You may be thinking at this point, ‘My child doesn’t need to see that’. Instead, consider that this may be exactly the right amount of information to avoid your child being misinformed and to have them feeling confident in themselves and their bodies.
I sat down with my three-year-old daughter and seven-year-old son and we read the book together from cover to cover.
My three year old was most fascinated by the multiple birth section, while my seven year old was taken by choosing which family was ours in one of the scenes at the park where a variety of families – children with two dads or one mum, one child with two grandparents, etc. – are picnicking. He also asked if women have stronger bodies than men, and I answered as honestly as I could. It’s a testament to author/illustrator Fiona Katauskas’s colourful scenes that he asked – through reading the book he’s beginning to understand that a woman’s gestating, birthing body is magnificently strong.
Getting the facts straight about how their bodies work, being proud of their bodies and confident in their knowledge of where they came from and how they one day may have a family if they choose, are all things I want for my children.
When it comes to addressing questions of sexuality and reproduction that all children eventually ask, our options include, waiting for the state sanctioned sex-ed classes held at school, usually given in Years 5 or 6, waiting for our kids to pick up bits and pieces of information from TV and the internet, waiting for their same-age school friends to impart their wisdom (I remember first hearing about sex in Year 3 from my best school friend who called it, “Makin’ whoopee”), or sitting down with them with a nice book that explains the facts in plain language. This, along with answering their questions in a straight-forward way when they ask, is my preferred choice.
If you’re looking for a book for children that’s accessible but honest, sex positive and inclusive, The Amazing True Story Of How Babies Are Made is pretty much perfect.
Review by Bron Bates