Cover image for It's perfectly normal : changing bodies, growing up, sex and sexual health
It's perfectly normal : changing bodies, growing up, sex and sexual health
Harris, Robie H.
Personal Author:
Fourth edition
Publication Information:
Somerville, Mass. : Candlewick Press, 2014.
Physical Description:
98 pages : color illustrations ; 27 cm
Introduces human sexuality, describes the changes brought about by puberty, and discusses sexual abuse, sexually transmitted diseases, AIDS, and pregnancy.
General Note:
Includes index.
Lots of questions : changing bodies, growing up, sex, and sexual health -- What is sex? Girl or boy, female or male : sex and gender ; Making babies : sexual reproduction ; Strong feelings : sexual desire ; Making love : sexual intercourse ; Who you are : straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender -- Our bodies. The human body : all kinds of bodies ; Outside and inside : the female sex organs ; Outside and inside : the male sex organs ; Words : talking about bodies and sex -- Puberty. Changes and messages : puberty and hormones ; The travels of the egg : female puberty ; The travels of the sperm : male puberty ; Not all at once! : growing and changing bodies ; More changes! : taking care of your body ; Back and forth , up and down : new and changing feelings ; Perfectly normal : masturbation -- Families and babies. All sorts of families : taking care of babies and kids ; Instructions from Mom and Dad : the cell-- genes and chromosomes ; A kind of sharing : cuddling, kissing, touching, and sexual intercourse ; Before birth : pregnancy ; What a trip! : birth ; Other arrivals : more ways to have a baby and family -- Decisions. Planning ahead : postponement, abstinence, and birth control ; Laws and rulings : abortion -- Staying healthy. Helpful-- fun-- creepy-- dangerous : texting, messaging, e-mailing, being online ; Talk about it : sexual abuse ; Getting a checkup : sexually transmitted diseases ; Scientists working day and night : HIV and AIDS ; Staying healthy : responsible choices.
Added Author:

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On Order



The definitive book about puberty and sexual health for today's kids and teens, now fully updated for its twentieth anniversary.

For two decades, this universally acclaimed book on sexuality has been the most trusted and accessible resource for kids, parents, teachers, librarians, and anyone else who cares about the well-being of tweens and teens. Now, in honor of its anniversary, It's Perfectly Normal has been updated with current and correct information on subjects such as safe and savvy Internet use, gender identity, emergency contraception, and more. Providing accurate and up-to-date answers to nearly every imaginable question, from conception and puberty to birth control and STDs, It's Perfectly Normal offers young people the information they need -- now more than ever -- to make responsible decisions and stay healthy.

Author Notes

Robie H. Harris has written many award-winning books for children of all ages, including the definitive Family Library about sexuality: IT'S PERFECTLY NORMAL, IT'S SO AMAZING!, and IT'S NOT THE STORK! She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Michael Emberley is the illustrator of numerous books for children, including the Family Library. He lives in Wicklow, Ireland.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 4-7. This caring, conscientious, and well-crafted book will be a fine library resource as well as a marvelous adjunct to the middle-school sex-education curriculum. There's no doubt, however, that some libraries and schools will have problems with Emberley's plentiful pictures, which, besides being warm and unaffected, are eyepoppers--especially in a book for this age group. The bold color cartoon drawings are very candid: a double-page spread of nudes, which beautifully demonstrates the varied shapes and sizes humans come in; a picture of a couple making love; one of a boy masturbating as he sits on his bed; another of a girl examining her genitals with a mirror. Less controversial will be Emberley's helpful diagrams and the running cartoon commentary he supplies on the main text, which is delivered by an embarrassed bee and a curious bird (modern kids may miss the allusion, and the device eventually wears thin). Harris' text, as forthright as Emberley's art, encompasses all the supposedly "age appropriate" issues (the structure of the reproductive system and puberty, for example), as well as a good deal more--from the terms we use when we talk about sex to intercourse, birth, abortion, sexual health, abuse, and issues of responsibility and respect. Readers won't find answers to their burning questions quite as easily here as they will in the at-a-glance question-answer overview Asking about Sex and Growing Up (1988), by Joanna Cole. Harris' coverage, however, is much broader and a good deal more detailed. With illustrations scattered liberally across the pages, the format occasionally seems crowded, but the candor of the artwork will help kids view sex as a natural part of life. Such openness will also help them grasp the main message of the text: that sex comprises many things, not just one. Children will find this a comforting, informative precursor to Lynda Madaras' books on puberty; librarians will find it well worth fighting for if, by some chance, the need arises. ~--Stephanie Zvirin

Publisher's Weekly Review

In this intelligent, amiable and carefully researched book, Harris ( Before You Were Three ) frankly explains the physical, psychological, emotional and social changes that occur during puberty--and the implications of these changes. Taking a conversational, relaxed tone, Harris also discusses such subjects as sexual orientation, sexual reproduction, pregnancy, birth control, sexually transmitted diseases and sexual abuse. The author intentionally and effectively repeats certain crucial information, especially on the subject of the possible consequences of sexual intercourse. Alternately playful and realistic (and occasionally graphic), Emberley's ( Ruby ) watercolor-and-pencil art reinforces Harris's message that bodies come in all sizes, shapes and colors--and that each variation is ``perfectly normal.'' Cartoon panels illustrate various complicated processes (e.g., menstruation, the fertilization of an egg, childbirth). Appearing on each spread are two characters--an easy-going bird and an apprehensive bee--whose comments add levity to this solid volume. Ages 10-14. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-8-A wonderful guide for young adolescents setting sail on the stormy seas of puberty. Packed with the vital information they need to quell fears and make wise decisions, this ``sex manual'' uses of clever cartoons to enliven and expand the text. Frank yet playful, they portray a reassuring array of body types and ethnic groups and illuminate the richly informative, yet compact text, allowing readers to come away with a healthy respect for their bodies and a better understanding of the role that sexuality plays in the human experience. Birth control, abortion, and homosexuality are given an honest, evenhanded treatment, noting differing views and recommending further discussion with a trusted adult. The dangers of STDs, teen parenthood, and sexual abuse are examined. The inventive use of a bird and a bee that react to the topics throughout artfully contrasts the differing views of early and late bloomers. Like any book that depicts naked bodies and sexual activity, this one is sure to inspire a few giggles in the stacks and be likely to disappear. But what it offers in scope, currency, and a cheerfully engaging format is quite special. An ideal introduction to ``coming of age.''-Virginia E. Jeschelnig, Willoughby-Eastlake Public Library, Willowick, OH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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