Today’s Banned Book Review is…

So I, along with bazillions of others in the blogosphere, am reviewing a banned book today at the invitation of the fabulous Tahereh and the Rejectionist – two amazing book bloggers.  Without further ado…

*Tension builds. Weak women faint. Strong men fall down*

TA-DAH!  The amazing Robie Harris’s deeply dangerous and controversial books, It’s Not the Stork, It’s So Amazing, and It’s Perfectly Normal.

Why these books?  There are so many incredible novels on the banned book list, including some that probably rank in my very favorite ever in the Whole Wide World (as Small Daughter is wont to say).  But Robie’s books play a different role in my life, or rather, they pertain to a different role that I play; that of parent, rather than reader.

These books talk without shame or awkwardness about all the mysterious-wonderful-strange-interesting things that happen to our bodies, with our bodies, and from our bodies.  As the names suggest, these books start with the basics of biology for very young children and move to pre-adolescents tackling subjects like masturbation and birth control.  The drawings (by the talented Michael Emberly) are accurate without being scary, and the language is honest and fun.

The wild controversy? Well, these books don’t just offend those that believe in Creationism.  No, they go further into the quagmire by showing loving couples of all colors, shapes, physical abilities, and genders.  They acknowledge that families, and love, come in a variety of forms. They tackle the hard conversations about inappropriate touch and what to do about it.  They mention (in the ones for older readers,) abortion, HIV/AIDS, and more.

As a reader, there are a million other books I would rather curl up with.  After all, I am already able to identify all my body parts, thank you very much.  But as a parent, there is no book I would rather keep accessible to children and their families.  These are important books.  They discuss subjects that even the most liberal of parents don’t always know how to talk about.  They cover material that might save lives, and they don’t let a veil of embarrassment keep the potential for conversation under wraps.

In our house, I left It’s Not the Stork out from the time my kids were around four or so, figuring they could glance at the pages and ask questions as they wished.

Of course, at our house, the copy is signed, with love.  Robie Harris is my cousin.  How lucky am I?

6 comments to Today’s Banned Book Review is…

  • I love the sound of those books – it’s something I’d want my children to read.

  • Jen

    Hooray for banned books week! I’m still shocked at all the books that made the list, it’s upsetting to see these wonderful stories going on a list because a few people couldn’t handle them.

  • I’m so glad you reviewed these books. I own two of them for my children.

    A few years ago, I saw Robie Harris speak at the SCBWI conference. She said one of her books was used in a court case. A girl was at school, and the book was in the library. As she looked through it, she told either her teacher or librarian, this is about me, “When she got to the section about molestation/incest. The book gave her a voice about what her father was doing to her.

    I also participated in a banned books review, if you want to visit my blog.

    • @Theresa – I’m so glad you know these books! While I’d rather reread Harry Potter or To Kill a Mockingbird, they hold a special place in my heart, and not just because they’re family! That example Robie gave is exactly why they need to be accessible.

  • […] It’s Not the Stork is the first in a trilogy for youth, ages 4, 7 and 10. These books are often used to support the Our Wholes Lives (aka “OWL”) curriculum at UU and UCC churches in the US. I was a student in an early version of this curriculum as a 6th grader. As an adult, I have been trained in the revised curriculum, and have coordinated programs for middle and high school youth in Austin with this curriculum. All of the students in these classes, and my own children have read one or more of this trilogy of books. […]

  • […] It’s Not the Stork is the first in a trilogy for youth, ages 4, 7 and 10. These books are often used to support the Our Wholes Lives (aka “OWL”) curriculum at UU and UCC churches in the US. I was a student in an early version of this curriculum as a 6th grader. As an adult, I have been trained in the revised curriculum, and have coordinated programs for middle and high school youth in Austin with this curriculum. All of the students in these classes, and my own children have read one or more of this trilogy of books. […]

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