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Sex Is a Funny Word: A Book about Bodies, Feelings, and YOU

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A comic book for kids that includes children and families of all makeups, orientations, and gender identies, Sex Is a Funny Word is an essential resource about bodies, gender, and sexuality for children ages 8 to 10 as well as their parents and caregivers. Much more than the "facts of life" or “the birds and the bees," Sex Is a Funny Word opens up conversations between young people and their caregivers in a way that allows adults to convey their values and beliefs while providing information about boundaries, safety, and joy.

The eagerly anticipated follow up to Lambda-nominated What Makes a Baby, from sex educator Cory Silverberg and artist Fiona SmythSex Is a Funny Word reimagines "sex talk" for the twenty-first century.

160 pages, Hardcover

First published July 28, 2015

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About the author

Cory Silverberg

5 books142 followers
Raised in the 1970s by a children's librarian and a sex therapist, Cory Silverberg grew up to be a sex educator, an author, and queer person who smiles a lot when they talk. Cory received a master's degree in education from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto.

Cory is the co-author of four books, including the ALA Stonewall Honor Book Sex Is a Funny Word, What Makes a Baby, and most recently, You Know, Sex, all with Fiona Smyth. Their life is full of kids. All of them know where babies come from. Some know more.

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5 stars
970 (63%)
4 stars
392 (25%)
3 stars
119 (7%)
2 stars
26 (1%)
1 star
28 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 385 reviews
Profile Image for Leann.
556 reviews36 followers
September 15, 2016
The kids at the library know exactly where this is shelved, and sneak off into aisles to read it all the time. I've talked to them about it multiple times, that it's okay for them to read and that's what it's there for! One finally checked it out this week, so I thought it was about time I read it too.

It's wonderfully inclusive, and I love the level of detail it gives. This book describes body parts and all the ways bodies can be different without getting too deep into the mechanics of sex, so it's a great introduction for younger readers (ages 9 to 12ish, I'd say). The authors continually make a point of how to treat others' bodies with respect and how all ways of having bodies or feelings are okay, but that boundaries are important. Highly recommend for the curious kiddo.

Of course some parents will have issues with the explicit nature and some of the drawings, but, parents will always find problems with things. There are short sections on inappropriate ("secret") touching and masturbation that are done really well. Otherwise it's really not about sex as an act at all.
Profile Image for Sha.
62 reviews2 followers
June 2, 2022
Thank goodness for this book!!! I have been looking for a way to open the conversation with my kid about sex, and this is such a great resource. We are a queer family that includes a transgender person, so most of the resources about sex are not helpful for us because they describe sex in overly simplistic terms both around describing what genders have what body parts, and also equating sex with reproduction.
This book talks about the difference between three ways we use the word sex: 1. A person’s sex to describe what body parts a person has (different than gender); 2. Sex as a way for people to share touch and pleasure; 3. One way grown ups make babies (reproduction). This is so helpful for our family because there is no sex in our story of the way our child came to the world.
(This book is an excellent accompaniment to the intro book called What Makes A Baby? That book just talks about the biology of what it takes to create a human, and has no mention of sexuality, focuses more on biology and diverse ways that families come together.)
One of the things I love about this book is that there is a core theme throughout each section that talks about four key words: Respect, Trust, Joy, and Justice. That sets a tone of preparing kids for understanding consent, cultural difference, pleasure.
It also leaves a lot of room for whoever is reading to discuss key questions in each chapter and talk about what is true for their family, for their community, for their culture. Really well done - setting a tone that balances offering clear definitions but also doesn’t limit the definitions to the ones in this book.
I’m so grateful to the authors of this book! Thank you for creating this queer friendly, anti-racist, gender fluid resource for families to support our kids in understanding how to navigate so many complexities of learning about sex!
Profile Image for Melissa.
945 reviews4 followers
January 30, 2016
Wow! Where was this book when I was growing up? I'm so glad to give it to my kids and wish I could have even earlier. This is a respectful, clear description of the variety of feelings, relationships and experiences that are normal for anyone. It's inclusive and tolerant but not preachy. I'm very interested to see how my kids respond to it. Treatment of gender was particularly interesting to me since it contrasted so strongly with the birds and bees book my parents gave me.
Profile Image for Sean.
355 reviews42 followers
November 13, 2015
There's really no way around this. If you read this to your child, you are a bad person. This is something you pick up and make fun of with your friends and laugh at how dumb everyone is and how are society is crumbling. How many people are going to be depressed and confused their entire lives because their stupid single mother read this to them and it confused the hell out of them? Sorry, is them an acceptable word? It confused the hell out of xe. It confused the hell out of za. I can't even keep up with this lingo anymore

"Progressives" won't stop until everything is destroyed. They eat their own and most are overweight chicks with blue hair so they aren't a threat but to go after children? That's just low man. An 8 year old has no business thinking or discussing what he/she/it/za is attracted to or how they identify sexually. Dude, I was thinking about teenage mutant ninja turtles, goosebumps and mario kart at age 8. It's amazing that you can now go online, admit to abusing your kids, and be apart of this group that praises you for it. More people need to stand up against this insanity. You haven't even gone through puberty at age 8. You don't know what it means to be gay or straight or whatever buzzword is trendy today.

Another thing, either homosexuals are born the way they are or you can choose your sexual identity. You cannot have it both ways! Why are all "progressives" so devoid of logic? I don't get it, this is basic stuff.

I found this comment from a transgender person regarding this book:

"As a transgender person, this shit is f***ing stupid.

Being transgender sucks. It's not something you want to be. Sure, we should make children knowledgeable that hey, this kind of thing exists, but its absurd that some people think we should try and shove it in kids faces."

Another quote I found in regards to this abomination:

"This book asks children to act like adults and question the fundamentals of their body at an early age. If that sounds dangerous or like bad parenting, it’s because this book is not about helping children feel whole — it’s about promoting the ideology of broken adults."
899 reviews28 followers
February 5, 2017
This is a fun, well-illustrated, informative book about bodies and genders. I think it is geared toward middle-school-aged kids, but I think it would be entirely suitable for younger and older people. Many different types of bodies, relationships, and families are covered. I really like that it's not just a book about sex; it presents concepts of gender and sexuality in the context of bodies which we use for a wide variety of activities, some of which happen to be sexual and/or gender-related. There are a few things I would have liked to see addressed in more depth -- in particular, intersex bodies, which are alluded to early on but not directly named until much later, and very little info is given that would be useful to an intersex reader. Overall, an excellent book that I highly recommend!
Profile Image for Rachel Fellows.
125 reviews3 followers
April 3, 2017
I wish I would have had this book when I was younger. It is so thorough, so straightforward, asks the reader to think, and gives plain descriptions with zero judgment or shame. The illustrations of genitalia are cartoony, but extremely thorough enough to show the diversity of what our parts look like and what they can do, again, without shame or judgment. I also like that the book doesn't only focus on the practical, um, nuts and bolts functionality of secondary sex characteristics/puberty and the act of sex, but also focuses on relationships, gender, sexuality, the word "sexy," healthy communication, touching, and inappropriate (or "secret"--we call it "selfish") touching.

The book features four relatable kids who take the reader through all the topics covered in the book with humor and a little bit of sass. The illustrations are cartoony and colorful in a Todd Parr kind of way. And the book is very open towards gender non-conforming and LGBTQIA kids.

I've always been a fan of It's Not the Stork for this particular topic but I love, love, love that this book takes it a much needed step further.
Profile Image for Dewi.
1,000 reviews
January 4, 2017
Sex is a funny word memiliki format berbeda dengan beberapa buku edukasi seksualitas yang pernah saya baca. Alih-alih membeberkan banyak fakta dan jawaban, buku ini menampilkan banyak pertanyaan untuk didiskusikan. Menurut saya Cory Silverberg paham bahwa informasi tentang edukasi seksual mudah didapatkan. Yang ingin dipertajam oleh Silverberg adalah memberikan pencerahan pada orang tua dan anak mengenai nilai-nilai apa yang akan mereka anut. Plusnya lagi buku ini memberikan porsi banyak mengenai relasi. Relasi sebagai teman, relasi dengan diri kemudian relasi dengan pasangan. Bahwa pendidikan seksualitas tak melulu soal fisik, namun juga adanya keterlibatan emosi dan jalinan relasi di dalamnya.
Lima bintang untuk buku ini.
Profile Image for Chandra.
445 reviews2 followers
July 22, 2022
I read this with my 11-year-old niece and am so glad that I did! This book is geared towards kids a bit younger than her, but she is a very private kid and loves graphic novels so I figured it was a good resource for us to talk about bodies and gender and sex. She said she would rate it a 4.5 (given her tween defiance I call that a complete win).
Profile Image for Jae.
5 reviews1 follower
March 29, 2017
I am so excited to finally have found an amazing book aimed towards youth that is so inclusionary. There are some things I wish they had included or had been less vague on. All in all it is now my first pick for young kids to understand their body, sexuality, gender and so much more.
Profile Image for Ashley.
188 reviews4 followers
June 3, 2016
What I appreciate so much about this lovely book is that it touches on subjects that I find myself handling right now as they come up--for example, gender roles, the presence and validity of the LGBT people in our communities, the fact that relationships can be with men or women or individuals who don't identify as either. What's wonderful about kids growing up at this time is that this information is not shocking or hard to understand. I feel intensely grateful that I live at a time, and in a place, where the concept of gay or lesbian relationships do not strike my child as strange. In fact, what confuses him is that there are still many people who find them not only strange, but troubling, and want to prevent people who love each other from creating legally recognized partnerships.

I'm being far more specific and preachy about this topic than this book does--in fact, it's really a gentle breeze that runs through the book. Other topics broached, and again, with a very light touch, are crushes/relationships, "secret touching" (used to be called good touch/bad touch), masturbation, words associated with sex, and so on. It utilizes four "characters" who represent fairly fluid categories of individuals: for the most part, their sexuality is ambiguous.

I do wish there had been more specificity. There was no discussion of the mechanics of sex, nor was there any discussion of "sex words" beyond the word "sexy." There was some discussion of sexual organs (described in this book as "middle parts," which I thought was nice--any part of the body can be private, the author argues), but nothing clinical. The illustrations served to show that body parts can look markedly different from person to person, from age to age, which actually can come as a surprise in this time of standardized and totally unachieveable standards of beauty. My son and I laughed at several of the illustrated scenes, and we found the use of question marks and exclamation marks to convey a character's sense of befuddlement or shock really endearing. This book doesn't really explain what sex is, but it provides parents a really low-key way to reinforce the ideas of trust, justice, joy, and respect in the context of all kinds of relationships, sexual and otherwise, as well as an easy way to introduce LGBT "acceptance" or "understanding," which is still in short supply.
Profile Image for Natalie Pietro.
340 reviews55 followers
September 27, 2021
Bloody hell is this book bad. Yes bad! This book reads like you are learning about the birds and the bees from Mr. Brady, you know the father from the Brady Bunch. However I was not looking forward to hearing long lengthy statements that beat around the bush and never make any sense when he is done talking. I never have been more confused about my body in my life.
I don't really know why I picked this book up but I loved the title and it seems like a funny graphic novel. However after I was done with this book I was not quite sure about myself. Are my touches bad, are my morals wrong, should I be dating girls? So many unanswered questions. God why would someone write this book and with kids in mind. No no no! This book is going back on the library shelf far in the back corner of the kids parenting section and hopefully will never come down again. I would pass this book up if you ever cross it path. You have been warned!
Profile Image for Leslie D.J..
Author 3 books16 followers
July 15, 2015
Sex educator Cory Silverberg and artist Fiona Smyth tackle—in a humorous and informative way—the birds and the bees. The colorful multi-racial comic book aimed at children ages 7 to 10 or Grades 2 to 5 depict children and families from all walks of life, orientations, and gender identities. Sex Is a Funny Word provides answers to questions children and adults may have, the author points out, “Everyone has their own idea of what sex is.” While others, “think they don’t know anything about sex.” And so the author provides different scenarios in which the topic may arise and poses questions to open up a discussion with family members or adults a child trusts. After all, “learning about sex is kind of like visiting a carnival or a fair. You can never do it all in one day.”

Profile Image for Sparrow.
1,945 reviews33 followers
September 28, 2018
Read this for Banned Books Week!

I can appreciate an approach to teaching kids about sex in healthy ways. I think it is the right step towards abandoning abstinence as the only option. I think the approach in this book was an honest effort: welcoming of questions and inclusive of all types of people and situations. Most importantly, I liked the effort made towards helping kids come forward about abuse.

However, I can't help thinking that a lot of the subjects talked about are incredibly vague as a result of being so inclusive. Perhaps I'm too far away from that time when I knew nothing about these subjects. But I think this book could have been a great opportunity to discuss these subjects a bit more concretely.
Profile Image for Ninjamechanic.
97 reviews13 followers
August 11, 2021
My 8-year-old is an inquisitive person and a voracious reader. This provides just enough of a springboard to encourage conversation without getting too tied up in the squishy biology of being human.

The illustrations are vibrant and playful. The text is accessible and consistently supports discussion with trusted adults.

(LGBTQA+ friendly, diverse characters)
Profile Image for Kari Yergin.
630 reviews15 followers
August 1, 2022
Wow, things have certainly changed since I was a kid! This is an incredibly inclusive book that feels like it gives children a healthy start to being able to talk about sex.
Profile Image for Ryan Ebling.
103 reviews4 followers
October 30, 2022
Just phenomenal. I plan on using this to get the conversation about sex, etc started with our kids.
Profile Image for Kjersti.
349 reviews
September 22, 2023
Excellent and age appropriate book for 8-10 year olds. Checked a copy out from the library to preview it for my kids. Will buy a copy for them to have around at home. Wish I had this book when I was that age!
Profile Image for Robyn.
1,868 reviews125 followers
September 17, 2023
Cory Silverberg

For children, I would imagine 8 to 12 or so. IT asks them some valuable questions and provides an open opportunity for discussion about sex.

Well done

4 stars

Happy Reading!
Profile Image for Jazmyn Dolbin.
308 reviews5 followers
February 23, 2021
This is a GREAT book about sex for kids that includes proper vernacular, a variety of illustrations, incorporates LGBTQIA+ experience, and more. I think it talks about sex in a really healthy and appropriate way. I'll definitely be pulling this out in the future with my kids.
Profile Image for Sarah.
629 reviews2 followers
February 15, 2021
This was a fun, informative, and inclusive book for kids and parents on sex, bodies, relationships, boundaries, emotions and more. I was really impressed with the way the author presented topics surrounding sex in an age-appropriate way for kids. There were fun comics and other illustrations included in this book. Very engaging. I would recommend this book for ages 8-11.
Profile Image for  ♥ Rebecca ♥.
1,361 reviews384 followers
May 14, 2021
As a parent, and as an asexual, I read a lot of books about sex to help prepare me as much as I can for when my two daughters are older and I need to give them the sex talk, as well as guide them through their teenage years. I used to be worried about how I wouldnt understand what they will go through. But it is such a fascinating subject, and I have learned so much and I'm beginning to feel so confident in my knowledge.

This book was amazing! It has so many thought provoking questions. And I like how they’re worded as if there’s no wrong answer. Also it subtly doesn’t mention boy and girl parts. It just says “some bodies have” this or that. And it is so matter or fact and unbiased about how different peoples bodies can look.

This book does introduces the idea of trans and non-binary in a few pages, but its as well done as the rest of the book! It talks about consent in all forms of touching as well as bad touching, which is worded so well. So easy and concise and simple to understand for children.

Certain parts would be better at different stages, and the book even says that in the introduction. It would be good to own and share with your children in stages as they grow.

This doesn’t actually say what sex (intercourse) is. It talks a lot about bodies, touching, consent, and feelings. But not intercourse. So it’s for slightly younger kids than the usual sex talk, depending on how you feel of course. For the real sex talk you’ll need something more. But this is such a great starting point! I highly recommend this for all parents!
Profile Image for Beth.
40 reviews1 follower
January 1, 2021
I’m a middle school counselor, working with kids who are going through puberty.

I picked up this book to find resources for families to help their students navigate developmental milestones. The front of the book has a guide for adults who plan to read this material with their kid(s). I appreciate their recommendations and highlighting which topics would benefit from structured conversations.

This book follows several middle-school-aged students. Their discussions on relationships, love, and respect are all illustrated with colorful cartoons.

I love the attention to detail and inclusivity (both illustrations and language). The author also addresses issues of consent (for any touching, including hugs). I would absolutely recommend this book for families who are getting ready to have “the talk!”
Profile Image for Dawn Serra.
48 reviews66 followers
October 3, 2015
When I finished reading this book, my first thought was, "How do I get this book into the hands of every single parent, caretaker, teacher, child, and parent-to-be?"

I wish I'd had this book when I was a youngster, and my heart broke a little realizing how different things could have been had I had this in my arsenal as a pre-teen. I wish I'd been given this kind of permission and been invited to think about what I wanted for myself, and what I thought about things like my body and sex.

This book is revolutionary, the concepts are groundbreaking, and I want to see an entire movement of young people raised on books like this. That's how we change the world.
Profile Image for Elizabeth Wood.
Author 2 books33 followers
July 31, 2015
This book is about the most important book I've seen for preadolescent children. It addresses the kinds of questions kids have about bodies, emotions, relationships, and sex before puberty, and it does this in a way that includes kids of every sort. It completely avoids stereotyping, and it refuses to force kids into conventional boxes, yet it provides accurate and complete information about the kinds of things they want to know. Silverberg frames the entire thing in the language of respect, trust, joy and justice while Smyth's illustrations make sure that all kids can be engaged and welcomed into the story.
Profile Image for Rebecca.
39 reviews18 followers
March 24, 2017
I'm not a parent but I am coming from a background of education. When I was a teenager, I had access to my friend's American Girl book about the changes of your body. Sex is a Funny Word is great for a child entering puberty. The characters are inclusive, the illustrations are accurate, and the vocabulary is great. The characters represent inclusivity by showing characters with disabilities and some have same-sex parents. The language is inclusive and explains gender, sex, and intersex clearly and accurately. Mostly I enjoyed the questions after each section, which is why I think you should read this text alongside your child. You can answer the questions together and start a conversation!
Profile Image for Molly Dettmann.
1,449 reviews22 followers
January 29, 2016
This book is fabulous! It explains all of these topics in a way that is perfect for the suggested age range (about 8-12). It's actually part two in a series where the first one is all about where babies come from (and is an intro to this subject for younger children). The illustrations and comic book format is also very enjoyable to read and would keep my attention (and provide a wider range of info) as a tween more than those weird, boring "my changing body" books.
Profile Image for Lisa.
395 reviews21 followers
September 28, 2015
After seeing mention of this book in an online article, I checked it out from my library. It is classified as being geared toward ages 8-10 years old, but I would say it is appropriate for anyone 8 years old and up. A terrific, fun, and informative read. Also, the bonus of characters using wheelchairs and forearm crutches...just like me! I wish I had this book when I was a kid.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 385 reviews

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