Books for kids about where babies come from

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz  March 23, 2011 06:00 AM

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hi,

i am looking for a book or website recommendation for a good way to start talking about anatomy/reproduction w/ my 4 year old son. we do use the proper words for anatomy (i.e. penis) already.

he has recently had a few questions about where babies come from, how are babies born that took me a little off guard. My parents were great at passing on their values but terrible at imparting the actual information involved which caused me some problems as a pre-teen. I really want to raise my kids to be comfortable w/ the practical info so even though he is young I want to start off right so that when he reaches puberty we will have a good base to build on.

From: Simpsonfan, North Brookfield, MA

Dear Simpsons fan,

I hear you loud and clear and think you have already made a good start by using correct anatomical names. Your son is right on schedule; all kids about this age become curious about where they came from. Incomplete or inaccurate information creates misconceptions. The idea of a "seed" has some kids thinking they grew in the dirt, in a garden. An "egg" makes them think they hatched, like a chicken.

Here are a few books I like, all of them are recommended for ages 4-8, but you should always check them out first, before you plop down with the book and your kid, and always go at your child's pace. If none of the books feel appropriate yet for your son, you can always use the information to weave your own narrative and introduce the books down the road.

"How you were born" by Joanna Cole has photographs rather than drawings which is one reason I like it, but some people might think it is too "scienc-y."

"Where Did I come from?"
by Peter Mayle is considered the classic on the subject. It's got cartoons, including naked moms and dads, and very good detail in age-appropriate language, but it's probably better for the older age of this spectrum.

"Mommy Laid an Egg, or Where Did I Come from?" by Babette Cole is probably the easiest read for young children because it has touches of humor (the kids teach the parents who appear to be clueless).

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3 comments so far...
  1. I'm a big fan of Robie Harris's books. For that age, there's "It's Not the Stork", for elementary-aged kids, there's "It's So Amazing", and for tweens, there's "It's Perfectly Normal". I like that they are straightforward and convey that different kids react differently to the topics, and that's OK - there are a bird and a bee that show up on most pages, and one of them is really interested in all of the topics, while the other is hesitant and sometimes squeamish.

    Definitely read through a selection of books and pick the one you're most comfortable with. Kudos to you for approaching the topic at a young age, and using the correct terms!

    Posted by akmom March 23, 11 06:52 AM
  1. Just curious... what is the argument for using the scientific names for parts? My parents used the correct name for everything with me, but it always struck me as kind of humorless and clinical. And it did NOT eliminate misconceptions... I think I was pregnant with my first before I got a handle on the details of external female anatomy (my own body!). This was probably partially because they were pretty squeamish about talking about any details of the actual sex act, reasons why people might choose to do such a strange thing, etc.

    With my son (3), we use nicknames (he has a "pee pee"), although we also tell him the real names, and try to be very matter-of-fact about things. But I'm willing to be convinced to change that if the counter argument is compelling!

    Posted by Carriefran March 23, 11 02:54 PM
  1. "How are Babies Made", Usborne Flip Flap Book is great!

    "What's Inside Your Tummy, Mommy?" by Abby Coccovini is another one. These two are the more explicit, scientific ones. I felt like my 3.9 year old was a little to young to grasp them, but they were good strong books.

    "Hello Baby" by Lizzy Rockwell is more general pregnancy/preparing to be a big brother book, but includes 2 or so pages about how the baby grows and is fed in the womb, and was our favorite "mommy's having a baby" book.

    Posted by chelleindot March 24, 11 03:13 PM
 
3 comments so far...
  1. I'm a big fan of Robie Harris's books. For that age, there's "It's Not the Stork", for elementary-aged kids, there's "It's So Amazing", and for tweens, there's "It's Perfectly Normal". I like that they are straightforward and convey that different kids react differently to the topics, and that's OK - there are a bird and a bee that show up on most pages, and one of them is really interested in all of the topics, while the other is hesitant and sometimes squeamish.

    Definitely read through a selection of books and pick the one you're most comfortable with. Kudos to you for approaching the topic at a young age, and using the correct terms!

    Posted by akmom March 23, 11 06:52 AM
  1. Just curious... what is the argument for using the scientific names for parts? My parents used the correct name for everything with me, but it always struck me as kind of humorless and clinical. And it did NOT eliminate misconceptions... I think I was pregnant with my first before I got a handle on the details of external female anatomy (my own body!). This was probably partially because they were pretty squeamish about talking about any details of the actual sex act, reasons why people might choose to do such a strange thing, etc.

    With my son (3), we use nicknames (he has a "pee pee"), although we also tell him the real names, and try to be very matter-of-fact about things. But I'm willing to be convinced to change that if the counter argument is compelling!

    Posted by Carriefran March 23, 11 02:54 PM
  1. "How are Babies Made", Usborne Flip Flap Book is great!

    "What's Inside Your Tummy, Mommy?" by Abby Coccovini is another one. These two are the more explicit, scientific ones. I felt like my 3.9 year old was a little to young to grasp them, but they were good strong books.

    "Hello Baby" by Lizzy Rockwell is more general pregnancy/preparing to be a big brother book, but includes 2 or so pages about how the baby grows and is fed in the womb, and was our favorite "mommy's having a baby" book.

    Posted by chelleindot March 24, 11 03:13 PM
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About the author

Barbara F. Meltz is a freelance writer, parenting consultant, and author of "Put Yourself in Their Shoes: Understanding How Your Children See the World." She won several awards for her weekly "Child Caring" column in the Globe, including the 2008 American Psychological Association Print Excellence award. Barbara is available as a speaker for parent groups.

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