Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “What Makes a Baby” as Want to Read:
What Makes a Baby
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

What Makes a Baby

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  793 ratings  ·  154 reviews
What Makes a Baby is a children’s picture book about where babies come from, written by sexuality educator Cory Silverberg and illustrated by award-winning Canadian artist Fiona Smyth.

Geared to readers from pre-school to about 8 years old, it teaches curious kids about conception, gestation, and birth in a way that works regardless of whether or not the kid in question was
Hardcover, First Edition, 36 pages
Published June 2012 by ZoBall Press
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about What Makes a Baby, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about What Makes a Baby

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.32  · 
Rating details
 ·  793 ratings  ·  154 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of What Makes a Baby
I kind of love the bad reviews for this book, because they are almost all written by people who clearly just don't get it. A book that explains conception without conflating sex and gender, that is inclusive of trans folks and folks who conceive through non-traditional means, is sorely needed. It's not difficult to understand and I have seen plenty of kids "get" it after reading this, so I have to believe that the grown adults who report problems are over-thinking, and over-reliant on the sexed- ...more
Jul 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I adored this book.

I love the fact that the author completely bipasses any gender binary that society clings to as truth. Silverberg talks about the fact that not all people have eggs, only some do; and not all people have sperm, but some do. (Clearly this welcomes trans-parents into the conversation here, too.) Silverberg talks about the egg and sperm meeting to make a baby, but does not tell how they meet. This opens a wonderful opportunity to talk about how we were born (Did our parents have
Apr 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
What Makes a Baby is an absolutely worthwhile book to add to your children’s literature library. As the book states on the front cover, What Makes a Baby really is “a book for every kind of FAMILY and every kind of KID.”

The wonderfully inclusive language works to pare the explanation down to the essentials of what all children really do have in common regarding their origins: the combination of an egg and a sperm, which then grows into a baby in a uterus. The book assumes no more about the reade
Panda Incognito
Jan 07, 2020 rated it did not like it
My coworker and I enjoyed hate-reading this at the library tonight. It's amazingly terrible, with creepy-looking, vague drawings of people in various bright and unnatural colors, over-personified sperm and eggs who dance together and contain within them all the "stories" of the mother and father, and flowery, poetic text that is vague, unscientific, and unhelpful.

The most amazing thing about this book is its complete refusal to acknowledge that sperm comes from biological men and that only a bio
Jun 05, 2013 rated it did not like it
Ghastly, ugly, vague, confusing. I wish someone would write a book for preschool children that explains various ways that human reproduction occurs without nonsensical depictions of tree stumps inside of sperm or unspooled film inside of eggs and such.

We need a book people can use to answer children's questions. We don't need this one.
Nov 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
I'm a little conflicted on this one. I read it because I loved Silverberg's other kids' book, Sex is a Funny Word. I do love that this book completely avoided binaries, both in words and illustrations. The idea that "some people" have eggs and some have sperm might be confusing to a less open mind, but it's the truth. To say that only men have sperm and only women have eggs would be inaccurate, whether we're talking about sex or gender or both.

I didn't love the description of sperm and egg meeti
Mar 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bless this gender neutral book. The sperm looks like Lemongrab tho. 9 MONTHS DUNGEON!
Jim Erekson
Sep 24, 2013 rated it it was ok
The strength of this book was that it made the topic into a narrative and gave it that kind of logic. So the book does something unique beyond the information you could just get from wikipedia, and justifiex its own birth as a paper, hard-cover, four-color book. Fiona Smyth's color scheme and some of the patterns and juxtapositions are downright psychedelic, and there was a lot done in the illustration to avoid any sense of realistic portrayals--it is not a biology book, it is a book about -talk ...more
Jul 11, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: juvenile-books
I appreciate what the author was attempting to do with this book, but I think it fell way flat. The illustrations are extremely disturbing and I, who HAVE EXPERIENCED CHILDBIRTH, was left utterly confused at the way conception and childbirth were described. If I, a grown up and a parent, was confused by this book, how are kids supposed to grasp these concepts?
Farzana Doctor
Sep 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautifully designed, illustrated and written book. I'm thrilled that it exists! Families and children need What Makes a Baby. It's direct, quirky and lively approach to how babies are really made--the full diversity of this reality--is refreshing. ...more
Absolutely horrible. I have no idea how this is a good way to start teaching children about reproduction. It's completely unrealistic and there are enough issues surrounding this topic already. I thought "How Babies Are Made" was bad and that was the book my mother gave to me! ...more
Sep 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013
wow, this book rules. it's about the most basic way babies come into the world, and it's inclusive of basically every kind of family and conception story. ...more
Alicia Evans
Jun 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
What a great idea! This book is designed for any child who is interested in learning about how babies are made. It's not overly graphic--it has a little bit of artsy interpretation--but it's done in a way that encourages the parents to discuss things further with the child. This is also appropriate for lots of different families and isn't completely het. There are LGBT families shown and the book emphasizes that a baby is made through having a sperm, an egg, and a place for the baby to grow. The ...more
Oct 20, 2019 rated it liked it
My 6-year-old asked THE QUESTION out of the blue while on our way to the library. I greatly appreciate our children's library staff for helping us find this on the shelves.

It is specific without being graphic and very accessible to young readers. It provides open-ended questions in the text to encourage dialogue as a family.
Kate Puleo Unger
Dec 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book is a great introduction to reproduction for young kids. I read it with my 4 year old to help him understand where he came from. It's both factual and simple to understand without giving too much information. I highly recommend it! ...more
A fantastic book for introducing the concepts behind how babies are made. It's delightful because it leaves space for all kinds of families to discuss their experiences with their child. Eggs and sperm are described, but there's no "daddy's sperm and mommy's egg," leaving things open for families where there are two moms, or two dads, or where IVF, donors, or surrogacy were involved. My three-year-old loved it and made me read it to her twice in a row. ...more
Cassandra Gelvin
Oct 05, 2018 rated it did not like it
So determined to be inclusive that it forgets to be accurate or useful.

This is another one of those books about reproduction that leaves out all the important parts. It's easy enough to say that some people have sperm in them and some people have eggs in them and then you put the sperm and the eggs together and then you put them in a uterus (which some people have) and then a baby may or may not develop out of that. That's not hard to talk about. Biologically, it might be hard to understand, but
Eric Rosswood
Aug 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What a great book! My husband and I have started the adoption journey for the second time and this prompted our three-year-old son to start asking questions about where babies come from. I purchased What Makes A Baby after a friend recommended it, and the book was exactly what I was looking for! It covers reproduction in a very "matter of fact" way while still managing to be age appropriate for younger children. It's also inclusive of families that have children via adoption, surrogacy, co-paren ...more
Jan 12, 2018 marked it as children-chapter-books-to-read
I only paged through this book, but I'm so glad that I did before I started reading it to my 6 and 3 year olds! It looks like it will be a great reference for when they finally start asking questions like this. ...more
Lacey Louwagie
May 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
The first sex-ed book I had the pleasure of reading to my son! This is a great "starter" book for the topic, as it is VERY inclusive (doesn't assume all parents are MF pairings or that all babies are conceived via sex). Instead, it breaks down the component parts needed to make a baby (egg, sperm, uterus) without tying those parts to specific relationships. And it doesn't articulate how those elements get together, either, allowing each family to tell its own stories or elaborate as much as they ...more
Dec 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: family, nonfiction
There are a myriad of books on the subject of reproduction for children, all of which follow the typical "when a mommy and a daddy love each other very much..." narrative. I can remember reading some of them when I asked my mom where babies came from. Her response was, "Let's go to the library." It would have been delightful to be introduced to the concepts of baby making with a book as considerate as What Makes a Baby.

This book's strength lies in its gender neutral and scientifically accurate
Apr 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
If you are looking for a book about where babies come from for young kids, this is a fantastic choice. It truly is a book for all kinds of families and all kinds of kids. The people in the book are not specifically male or female. They are also a wide variety of colors, such as blue, green, pink, etc. Accurate terms such as egg, sperm, and uterus are used, but this is not a technical book. The text is lovely and answers the basics without being more detailed that most kids need.

My kids loved th
Some of our patrons were surprised that a book about human reproduction never uses the words "male" and "female" (or "man" and "woman" or any variation thereof) and just states that "some bodies" have various features and "some bodies" do not. ...more
Aug 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Definitely a contender. There are no gender pronouns in this book. Added bonus is it includes an opportunity to explain induction.
Callie *Fights Censorship*
I enjoyed the psychedelic illustrations. What I did not care for was the strange mix of biological terms and vagueness I assume is motivated by popular political correctness. Terms like sperm, vagina, and uterus are used but who has these body parts is glossed over. "Not all bodies have eggs in them. Some do, and some do not." Gee, that really clears things up...

Many of the descriptions made me wonder if the author even understands reproduction, they certainly don't explain DNA in a helpful clea
May 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Holy shit! A gender neutral book about baby making! Amazing! It is a little vague because of it, but then it prompts discussion about one's own family with questions like "Who was happy that it was YOU who grew?" ...more
Juli Anna
Jun 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is an incredible picture book. Playful and lyrical, with absolutely no gendered language. It also includes all kinds of families, including adoptive and foster families. This is definitely most appropriate for younger children (I would say under 7 years old), but it's a keeper. ...more
Feb 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing
The best inclusive/non binary book on the subject that I've read. Really well made and the illustrations are lovely! ...more
Jan 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is great! Perfect amount of info.
Lu Benke
Sep 28, 2013 rated it liked it
Evaluating this book requires that I look around it. First, behind it. To the past when in the 70's Sara Bonnett Stein's Open Family Series pioneered beautifully interactive books for parents and kids on sensitive topics like death, adoption and sex. In her books, simple straightforward text in large print ran down one side of the double page spread while suggestions to the parent on how to encourage discussion with their child ran down the opposite side. In the middle was a beautiful, eye-catch ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • It's Not the Stork!: A Book About Girls, Boys, Babies, Bodies, Families and Friends
  • And Tango Makes Three
  • It Feels Good to Be Yourself: A Book About Gender Identity
  • My Footprints
  • Wait, What?: A Comic Book Guide to Relationships, Bodies, and Growing Up
  • Neither
  • Eyes That Kiss in the Corners
  • Pink Is for Boys
  • Worm Loves Worm
  • Llama Llama Loves to Read
  • The Hips on the Drag Queen Go Swish, Swish, Swish
  • Lift
  • Consent (for Kids!): Boundaries, Respect, and Being in Charge of YOU
  • I Am Jazz
  • Ten Ways to Hear Snow
  • Ruby Finds a Worry
  • Little Owl's Night
  • It's Okay to Be Different
See similar books…
Cory Silverberg is a sexuality educator, author, and trainer. He received his Masters of Education from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education and trains across North America on topics including access and inclusion, sexuality and disability, and sex and technology.

He was a founding member of the Come As You Are Co-operative and served as the chairperson for sexuality educator certificati

News & Interviews

Here’s some trivia for your next vacation get-together: The concept of the summer “beach read” book goes all the way back to the Victorian...
26 likes · 11 comments