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Sex Education Resources for Parents
Talking to your children about the changes of puberty or where babies come from, or to teenagers about sex and contraception can be difficult and embarrassing even to the most confident parent.
Birmingham Libraries have books and information suitable for all ages that can help you. There is something to suit all families, from the funky jokey books to more serious information books.
How much should you tell and what should you skip?
That is up to parents to decide but these books can help you find the right words to use, check the facts and be an ice breaker to opening the conversation. Every child is different and they will all develop at different ages so it is best to look at the books yourself first to decide if it is right for your child at this point of their life. Some books specialise in one subject and some are general so you may want to just use part of them and save other parts for a few years time.
If you have any recommendations to share with other families please let us know.
Getting hold of the books: You can reserve books online through the Libraries Catalogue and collect them from the local library of your choice. You just need your library card number and PIN. If you don't know your PIN, please contact your local library. To reserve one of the books below, just click on the link next to the book you want to borrow.
Books for younger children to explain where babies come from
Where Babies Come From by Rosemary Stones and Nick Sharratt
Sometimes children are told that babies are found under a gooseberry bush or that the stork brings them, but this gentle, warmly illustrated book explains accurately, honestly and in a relaxed way where babies really come from. When a new baby is on the way, this friendly book is an ideal family resource.
Reserve Where Babies Come From
Mummy Never Told Me by Babette, Cole
Illustrates some of the questions that children ask about life, with a sneaky peak at life's little secrets with the brilliant Babette Cole. Like what is my tummy button for…and how did it get there? Why is Mummy so busy that she has no time for me? Why must I go to school… when Mummy was expelled from hers? What does the tooth fairy really look like? Mummy never told me that boys are different from girls…
Reserve Mummy Never Told Me
How Did I Begin by Brita Granstrom and Nick Manning
This book provides an introduction to the facts of life for young children. It follows the story of a new life from the moment of conception to the birth of a baby. We are gently guided through each stage with charming illustrations and simple explanations, inviting lots of discussion and providing answers to all those questions. A delightful book to share with young children.
Reserve How Did I Begin
Mummy Laid an Egg by Babette Cole
Mum and Dad decide it's time they told the children about the facts of life. Mum says that the babies are made out of gingerbread, grown from seeds in the greenhouse, or sqidged out of tubes. Dad says that Mummy laid an egg with the two children inside. So it's up to the children to put them right on a few things…
Reserve Mummy Laid an Egg
Where Willy Went by Nicholas Allan
Shows Willy the sperm in the process of creating a human baby. Willy is a little sperm. He lives inside Mr Browne with 300 million friends. Soon it will be time for the Great Swimming Race and Willy must practise every day. He knows he will have to swim extra fast to win the prize - a marvellous egg. At the end of the race, something wonderful happens, something utterly magical. But where has Willy gone?
Reserve Where Willy Went
Where Did I Come From? by Peter Mayle
Where Did I Come From explains the process of conceiving a baby in a humorous light-hearted way. It covers all the basic facts from love-making, orgasm, conception and growth inside the womb, through to the actual birth day. It names all the names and shows all the important parts of the body. Parents either love or hate this book but it has been around for over 20 years. It does suggest that parents are married which may not be appropriate for everyone.
Reserve Where Did I Come From?
A list of books to help explain body changes and puberty
These titles are aimed at children aged from about 8 to 12 years old.
Hair in Funny Places by Babette Cole
A jokey picture book about the alarming effects Mr and Mrs Hormone have on the adolescent boy or girl. It does not have a lot of factual information and no biological terms are used but could be a good conversation starter. For parents who are comfortable with Babette Cole’s quirky style and confident about filling in the gaps; it won’t be to everyone’s taste so check it out first before giving it to a child.
Reserve Hair in Funny Places
What’s happening To Me? (Boys) by Alex Frith
What’s happening To Me? (Girls) by Susan Meredith
These books aimed at children at the younger end of the age range. They explain in simple straight forward language and bright cartoon illustrations the physical changes, differences and feelings children experience at puberty and also include advice on basic diet, health and hygiene. They stress the uniqueness of each child and how developing at a different rate or looking slightly different to friends is normal and OK. There is only brief information about sex which is in the context of why the changes are taking place and the responsibilities involved. Each book includes a small section on the changes happening to opposite sex.
Reserve What’s happening To Me? (Boys)
Reserve What’s happening To Me? (Girls)
Let's Talk About Where Babies Come From by Robie Harris
This book covers all the main areas of sex and reproduction: babies, reproduction, bodies, growing up, love, health and lots more. The information is simply explained with humorous commentary from an inquisitive bird and a squeamish bee and it is illustrated with colour cartoon-strips.
Reserve Let's Talk About Where Babies Come From
Puberty Girl by Shushann Movsessian
Puberty Boy by Geoff Price
These are bright, modern looking books which include a lot of quotes from adults and teens about their experiences. They include information about masturbation, lesbian and gay sexuality and slang terms and their meanings and the style is chatty and direct. There is a strong emphasis in both books on responsibilities that come with maturity.
Reserve Puberty Girl
Reserve Puberty Boy
Have You Started Yet? by Ruth Thompson
This book has been around a long time but it is still one of the best explanations of what periods are, why they happen, and how they will affect girls. It answers all likely questions simply, frankly and with humour.
Reserve Have You Started Yet?
A booklist for parents of 12-16 year olds
Sisters Unlimited by Jessica Howie
This book contains advice on all manner of concerns including body image, school, stress, parents, healthy eating and anything that might be bothering a teenage girl. It is presented in a very friendly and honest way with lots of real-life quotes, mini questionnaires and positive, inspirational advice.
Warning: Also covers sex and drugs in a very frank manner.
Reserve Sisters Unlimited
Talking About Myself: Relationships and Sex by Angela Neustatter
This covers areas that some of the other books don’t look at. It contains the stories of real teenagers and young adults who have dealt with issues such as homophobic bullying, being a single parent, being a lesbian, childhood abuse and being a young father. It includes a list of websites and helplines at the back.
Reserve Talking About Myself
Unzipped: A Toolkit For Life by Matt Whyman
Aimed at boys, this is a very user friendly guide that includes everything from keeping clean and how to relate to girls to sex, drugs and gambling. Written in a way that lads will relate to, once again it is quite frank but very easy to dip into.
Sex, Puberty and All That Stuff: A Guide to Growing Up by Jacqui Bailey
A comprehensive overview that could be shared with or recommended to your child at different stages in their development. It has chapters on puberty for boys and girls, discusses feelings and friendship but also talks about sex, contraception, sexually transmitted infections and what happens if you get pregnant. There is a whole chapter on getting to know yourself and having the confidence not to succumb to peer pressure and a little bit about being gay.
Reserve Sex, Puberty and All That Stuff
Talkabout Sex and Puberty by Sarah Levete
This offers a formal, more conservative point of view. It covers puberty, sexual feelings, safe sex, relationships and emotional changes. It has a text book style with key facts, dos and don’ts and suggested discussion points.
Reserve Sex and Puberty
Teenage Pregnancy: The Essential Guide by Nicolette Heaton-Harris
A practical and reassuring guide aimed at the parent/s of a pregnant teenager. It goes through the options available and then looks at how to support the daughter through whatever decision she makes. It also has many useful contacts for further information and includes a chapter on legal considerations.
Reserve Teenage Pregnancy
It Happened to Me: Teenage Pregnancy by Suzie Hayman
Six female teenagers talk frankly about their experiences and a teenage father gives his perspective. This book covers many issues, including abortion and contraception as well as the reality of being a teenage parent, in an accessible question and answer format. There is a glossary and list of useful contacts at the back. This book is aimed at young people but could be a useful tool to look at and discuss together.
Reserve It Happened to Me
A selection of fictional books for teenagers
Slam by Nick Hornby
Sixteen year old Sam’s main concerns are learning new skating tricks and deciding what to do at college. That is until his girlfriend Alicia gets pregnant… This book is great because it gives a male perspective on the subject; in Sam’s case he deals with his fears and worries by talking to a poster of Tony Hawks!
Hanging on to Max by Margaret Bechard
Another male point of view. This time seventeen year old Sam (not the same one!) is left holding the baby when his ex Brittany decides she is going to give it up for adoption and he doesn’t want that to happen. Sam really wants to do the right thing by Max but it isn’t easy and he faces some very difficult decisions.
Reserve Hanging on to Max
Babyfather by Joanna Kenrick (Barrington Stoke)
A quick read about the day that fifteen year old Mickey finds out he is going to be a dad.
Baby Baby by Viv French (Barrington Stoke)
April and Pinkie are two very different girls who both find themselves at Tinley Road Centre for Schoolgirl Mothers. This is a quick and easy read but you really get under the skin of the two girls before, during and after their pregnancies. This book is emotional but very enjoyable too.
Reserve Baby Baby
The Kissing Club by Julia Clarke
Whilst visiting her pen pal in the US 14 year old Emily joins The Kissing Club and vows to not have sex and not tell lies. But when she gets back home and ends up pregnant she finds herself covering her tracks with a series of stories starting with telling her parents that it is going to be a virgin birth! This is a positive and sweet story about what happens when an ordinary girl gets pregnant.
Reserve The Kissing Club
Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen
Halley and Scarlett are best friends but when Scarlett’s boyfriend is killed in an accident and she discovers she is pregnant their closeness is tested. Halley has problems of her own with her boyfriend trying to pressure her into having sex and her feeling like she has to in order to keep him. This is a very readable and positive portrayal of friendship, the pressures of being a teenager and dealing with the difficulties that life sometimes presents.
Reserve Someone Like You
The Opposite of Chocolate by Julie Bertagna
Chocolate girls are those that are groomed and perfect as defined by queen bee Grace. Becoming pregnant at 14 is the opposite of chocolate but this is how Sapphire finds herself one balmy summer. She flounders, indecisive, whilst everyone around her seems to know exactly what she should do. This book describes really well how differently mums, dads, sisters, best friends and others may react in this situation as determined by their own hopes, dreams and experiences.
Reserve The Opposite of Chocolate
Dear Nobody by Berlie Doherty
Classic teenage pregnancy book voiced by Helen the mother-to-be and her boyfriend Chris. Both are set to go off to college when she becomes pregnant. This book is written in letter, diary and flashback and describes in detail the difficulties and decisions the pair go through.
Reserve Dear Nobody
Useful organisations and web links
A registered charity giving professional, confidential free advice to young people up to the age of 25 on contraception, STI, sex and relationships.
Telephone Helpline: 0808 802 1234.
Address: Brook Birmingham, 59-65 John Bright Street, Birmingham, B1 1BL
Tel: 0121 643 5341
Opening Times: Mon 10am-7pm, Tues 11am-7pm, Wed 11am-7pm, Thurs 11am-7pm, Fri 11am-7pm, Sat 10am-5pm.
Fflag (Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays
FFLAG is a registered charity which offers helplines and regular meetings for parents and their gay, lesbian or bisexual sons and daughters. It provides a network of local parents' self-help groups and telephone contacts for advice, information and a listening service. It also assists people who wish to tell their parents they are lesbian or gay.
Helpline: 0845 652 0311
FPA (Family Planning Association)
FPA is a sexual health charity providing information and advice on all aspects of sexual health including pregnancy choices, contraception and sexually transmitted infection. The web site has a facility to find your nearest clinic or down load free information sheets.