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Tell Me about Sex, Grandma
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Tell Me about Sex, Grandma

(Ordinary Terrible Things)

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  182 ratings  ·  58 reviews
Patiently forthcoming with lessons your parents redacted, this necessary conversation stresses consent, sex positivity, and the right to be curious about your body. The dialogue focuses on the dynamics of sex, rather than the mechanics, as Grandma reminds readers that sex is not marriage or reproduction, and doesn’t look the same for everyone. Instead, each person’s sexual ...more
Hardcover, 64 pages
Published April 11th 2017 by The Feminist Press at the City University of New York
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4.29  · 
Rating details
 ·  182 ratings  ·  58 reviews

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Cassandra Gelvin
Sep 02, 2018 rated it liked it
A case of style over substance.

There are a lot of things I like about this book, but it's vague, and some of what it says can be misleading. It's written mostly in a conversational style, with a child of unknown age and indeterminate gender who asks his or her grandmother, "Tell me about sex, Grandma." And the grandmother says, "Well, whattaya want to know?" The kid says, "What's so bad about it?" "Who says sex is bad?" And the kid makes a good point, explaining that nobody lets them see it or t
Taylor Kundel-Gower
Jun 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Powerful message about what sex is (and isn't). It emphasizes sex positivity, consent, and bodily autonomy in a way that young children can understand so that they may be safe and healthy, in addition to curious.
RH Walters
Feb 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Superbly illustrated easy-going, shame free conversation with Grandma about sex, with lots of interruptions for snacks.
Apr 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is a very appropriate way to tell young children about sex without getting into the nitty-gritty. Its main message is that you will know what to do when the time comes, and, most importantly, the decision to have sex is 100% up to you. Read it first to make sure you feel comfortable sharing it with your child.
The content. The illustrations. I LOVED it.
Dec 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Will definitely give this to my kiddos when they’re a bit older.

I really do shudder to think of what my kids actual grandparents would tell them if they asked 😂
May 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kids, queer, ya
The best kids’ book about sex I’ve ever come across. Cool art, too!
May 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Anastasia Higginbotham does a great job, once again, of tackling a tough subject. This book isn't the be all end all of sex talks, but it's a great way to get the conversation started. It started off a little vague for me, but then nailed it with the topic of choosing and that you are in charge of your body. Much like Death is Stupid, this book won't be right for everyone, but it will definitely be right for someone. A worthy addition to a collection.

Side note: I LOVE Grandma's hair.
Feb 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: parents reading with their older children
After reading a couple of Ms. Higginbotham's books, I knew I wanted to read them all.

I love that she is very skillful at presenting information about tough topics in a way that is respectful of children's innocence as well as their intelligence.

Her multi-media collage illustrations are wonderful, combining paper, cloth, images, and a handwritten narrative to create a very unique and accessible story.

I like that there are situations presented in the book's illustrations that are not discussed in
Kayla Roth
Mar 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of the only children's books I own that sits on a side coffee table. Why? Because it undoes any of the (non) teaching about sex my generation had. It's a shame free and honest way to talk about what sex is to a child without getting into mechanics. It also strongly reinforces consent & body empowerment in little ones and addresses abuse which is incredibly important and a conversation that is lacking. The end of the book has body awareness activities "tight fist + stomach twist" for chil ...more
Sep 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids-books
This is great for younger elementary kids! I wish I had this when I used to teach 3rd grade.
Jan 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I would recommend this picture book to any parent who needs a way to talk about sex to their child.
Apr 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
I really like this series as preparation for adults to read before talking to kids and would also use it to start discussion with kids.
Ann Santori
Dec 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A.M.A.Z.I.N.G!!!!!!!!!!!!! This hits every single note -- consent, bodily autonomy, the emotional and physical parts of sexuality -- without in any way being clinical or boring or preachy. We need to mass-produce this and literally drop it from the skies onto our entire world population.
Nov 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow these books are so good!!
Nov 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens, nonfiction
Suitable for even the pretty young, this discussion of sex doesn't get into the mechanics at all (not even about how babies are born); instead, it talks about sex as a feeling in your body and an exploration of what you like and want. It lays out 2 rules: everyone is in charge of their own choices about sex, and nobody should have sex with children. As always when it comes to books about sex, adults should pre-read to make sure they are prepared for questions and that it conforms to family value ...more
Becky Shaknovich
Sep 30, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: childrens
When I have children this is the book I will be using to teach them about sex. It covers the concept in a simple, straightforward manner, without shame, and it focuses strongly on consent.

I work at a library and picked this book up while shelving. The title made me laugh, so I opened it, and I was pleasantly surprised.

However, if you are looking for a book that goes over the mechanics with detailed illustrations, this is probably not exactly what you are looking for. It doesn’t really go into
Cara Byrne
Jun 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"Curiosity about sex is your birthright." A unique, yet important book that stresses how one's sexuality is theirs alone (a message important for children of all ages to learn) and to find a trusted adult (not the internet) to learn more about the abstract concepts around you. This book does not go into the biological aspects of sex, but it doesn't need to. It's smart and has great illustrations.
Apr 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
I was really unsure about this book. After reading it, I understand why it received the reviews it did. I like that it is very open about sex and that it is not bad. I also like that it empowers kids to know their bodies. It is worth reading and then deciding if it is for you and or your kids.
Jun 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Best thing ever.
Nov 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
The title makes people physically take a step back, as "sex" and "Grandma" aren't usually words that adults see together, and this jarring feeling stays with me as I read this excellent book -- it's disconcerting in a way that is similar to how I felt while reading another Ordinary Terrible Things book, Not My Idea. I find myself wanting a more linear narrative, but starting with "Sex is everywhere. It is also hidden. Knowing where to look...when you want to find key" makes the book ...more
May 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book would be great to pair up with a more scientific book to explain to children about what sex is. Instead of focusing on where babies come from or what changes your body might go through as you get older, it focuses on the relationship aspect. The overriding message is that your body and your sexuality are your own and you never owe anyone sex. In the same way, no one ever owes it to you. The book is an introduction to issues of consent and reminds kids that they can always ask questions ...more
Well, here it is. The gold standard for having early, non-overly-specific versions of "the conversation" - no surprise to me, either, after having read Higginbotham's works on death & divorce. The woman hits the nail on the head in a beautifully no-nonsense, informative, unintimidating, thoughtful way with the real hot-button issues a child might face. I wish above all things that this had existed in my day, it would have made for exponentially less awkwardness...I plan to have enough on han ...more
Stephanie Bange
Dec 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
A grandchild asks his grandmother about sex. Not holding back, she answers his questions and tells him just enough to satisfy his curiosity, but also gives some “rules” about sex.

Higginbotham’s collage artwork is wonderful – colorful and attractive. She makes great use of word bubbles to move the conversation forward, with Big Ideas written in a larger format. No pictures or images to offend.

Excellent for parents to use when young ones start asking questions or to start a conversation. Be sure
Sandy Brehl
Jul 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
One of three titles in this series (so far), I am very impressed with the kid-friendly finesse of this book. The art is an intriguing blend of collage, drawing, and hand-written fonts with both standard text and dialogue bubbles. The initial premise that only reliable sources should be sought is both smile-enduring and deeply valid when the "inquiring mind" settles on Grandma to resolve all confusions.
This is no biologically-detailed handbook, and offers both literal and figurative and even poe
Jun 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was actually a very good book. Don't let the title turn you off. It's great for children who don't have someone "safe" to talk to and I think it's great that the grandmother is the person discussing this because a lot of kids are living with grandma and grandpa lately. The whole idea of "you make the decision. It's yours alone" is noted throughout the book and it's a very important line that needs to be reiterated like it is. A must-read and a must-purchase for library juvenile collections.
Jan 03, 2018 rated it it was ok
I had to read this twice... at first I was appalled but I tried to see where they were coming from... I can see they want to teach the right things, but I just don't think a kid who is 5 years old or less needs to know all this. I think their minds aren't ready; I'd wait to tell them stuff when they can grasp some of this. It's OK to tell a kid really simple answers or "wait till your older." Why do we need to go into all this with a toddler?
Dawn Rutherford
Nov 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really like Mx. Higginbotham's work. I'd recommend this to any family, though as with any book about sex it is good for the grownup to read first, so they are ready for questions and sure they are themselves comfortable with the tone. My only complaint is that this has been published in a series called "ordinary terrible things", which is fine for death and divorce, but I hate that kids are getting sex associated with the word terrible in any way. :(
Dec 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Excellent. I much appreciated the loud and clear message repeated here that your body and what you do with it is entirely your choice. While this is necessarily more complicated for kids than adults, the message is crucially important and one that so many other books do not mention or stress nearly enough. In particular, Granada's disgust for adults who manipulate and lie to kids about consent is very hard to miss, and hopefully will hit home with its intended audience.
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