Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge 2016 is a weekly celebration of imaginative children’s nonfiction materials hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy.
Title: Sex is a Funny Word
Author: Cory Silverberg and Fiona Smyth
Publisher: Triangle Square
Publication Date: 2015
My Two Cents: When I was growing up a long time ago, getting honest, non-judgmental information about sexuality could be challenging. The internet was still in its infancy, there were few detailed, age-appropriate books available, and the thought of asking parents or teachers personal sex questions was mortifying. The situation could be made even more difficult if you attended a religious school like I did – the general philosophy seemed to be that since students wouldn’t be having sex until they married a person of the opposite gender in a few decades’ time, there wasn’t much point in talking about sex beforehand, and you certainly didn’t talk about sexuality or gender identity.
Oh how I wish books like Sex is a Funny Word were available when I was a curious child. This colourful, non-threatening comic-style sex book goes beyond the basic “birds and the bees” sex ed and talks about sex, sexuality, gender, relationships, body image and more. Potentially uncomfortable or confusing topics are approached with openness, honesty and compassion. Sex is a Funny Word is inclusive, sex-and-body positive and diverse – people come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, colours, abilities and genders, and sex isn’t something limited to white, cisgendered, hetero, physically-abled individuals.
This is a book about values, as much as it is about sex. ‘Justice means that every person and every body matters’, the author writes, and children are encouraged to be respectful of themselves and of others. Sex isn’t something to be feared, but it is something to be taken seriously and respected. While the target audience is tweens aged 8-12, this is a great resource for teachers, librarians, parents and anyone who might work with young people. It would also be a nice title to have available in a library or classroom for children to read privately, particularly those who might be feeling isolated or afraid to talk to an adult about gender or sexuality. Just realizing that an adult cares enough to have information like this available might help a child realize that they aren’t alone, and that there might be someone they can talk to.