By Brittany Lafirira, Youth Advocate, HOPE Works
One thing I will always be thankful for is my love of reading. This is something that my parents have encouraged from a very young age and something that follows me today. I read a variety of different things and enjoy when I can share my love of books with other people. One book that I have read recently and enjoyed is the book called Sex is a Funny Word by Cory Silverberg and Fiona Smyth.
The very first page of the book is a letter to the grown up reader. It talks about how this book is meant to be read over time and that it is meant to be inclusive and non judgmental. Each section starts with a comic that addresses the topic and ends with questions that parents can ask their kids. Topics include learning about bodies, gender expression, touch, and crushes.
This book doesn’t waste time getting to the point, it is about sex. In some of the first pages it discusses that some words have one meaning, examples given are sun and crayon, but that words like sex have many meanings. It can be used to describe bodies or making babies. Sex is a Funny Word then cuts into respect, trust, and joy. All very important components to having sex and being able to have open and honest communication.
Open and honest communication about sex is the point of this book and it’s something my coworkers and I keep coming back to in conversations. My coworker, Lucy said, “I wonder how different my life would be if I had this book growing up.” How different would our world be if we were able to have open, honest, and inclusive conversations with our children about all things in life? One of the things we believe in prevention education is that by being able to teach and talk more openly about the things we do want, relationships that are healthy, and what feels good we are less likely to tolerate things that don’t fit. We often tell children not to do things, but we don’t tell them what they can do. We talk about unhealthy relationships all the time, but not what a healthy relationship looks and feels like. This book is one way to start having more balanced conversations.
Overall I think this is a wonderful book for anyone that has children in their lives. It says it is geared towards those ages 7 to 10. It’s a comic book format that is easy to read. This is a definitely a book that should be read with kids and not just given to them. I highly recommend this book to anyone that has children in their lives or even adults that want a little brushing up!
Other resources to check out:
- WholeSomeBodies: A healthy sexuality and sexual violence prevention curriculum for adults with children and teens in their lives. The curriculum is available from the Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence and comes with a facilitators guide and participant workbooks.
- Advocates For Youth: Parent’s Sex Ed Center