It's Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health (The Family Library)

by Robie H. Harris

Paperback, 2014



Call number



Candlewick (2014), Edition: Anniversary, New, 112 pages


Introduces human sexuality, describes the changes brought about by puberty, and discusses sexual abuse, sexually transmitted diseases, AIDS, and pregnancy.

Media reviews

While Harris continues to deliver accessible yet clinical messaging around the realities of puberty and the risks and rewards of sexual activity, this book falters significantly in its attempts to include intersex, trans, and nonbinary readers.
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It actually lives up to its promise and delivers “honest, reliable, accurate, and accessible information” about human sexuality and reproduction. Harris’s scientific bent prompts her to provide thoroughgoing up-to-date research on every topic from reproduction and contraception to HIV/AIDS
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and abortion law. But this book is far from a heavy-handed textbook.
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In this intelligent, amiable and carefully researched book, Harris ( Before You Were Three ) frankly explains the physical, psychological, emotional and social changes that occur during puberty--and the implications of these changes.

User reviews

LibraryThing member ewyatt
A guide directed at late elementary school students/early adolescents about puberty, sex and sexual health. It has been a frequently banned book. It presents information about body changes and sexual reproduction in a matter-of-fact way. The book is replete with drawings - a bird and bee provide
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commentary throughout the book and there are frequent sketches of human bodies that illustrate the material being covered in the text.
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LibraryThing member ladycato
I can see why this book may be deemed "offensive" by some. It is very blunt in how it addresses sexuality. There are many drawings of naked people of all ages and shapes and races; I don't see this as a bad thing, though. Everything builds towards the message of the very title of the book--it's
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perfectly normal to have a body with these parts, and have them do certain things, or to have intense dreams with bodily responses, etc. This is intended for a middle grade audience, and offers a simply-stated approach to try to alleviate kids' fears.

Even when the artwork shows people straddling each other, it's the kind of thing you'll see on midday TV these days, only this book introduces information about sexual consequences like STD and pregnancy, too. I see It's Perfectly Normal as a good starting point for an honest conversation where a family can then discuss their beliefs and answer questions. This book was certainly more informative and honest than the sex ed course I took back in high school (which came too late for a lot of kids, anyway).
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LibraryThing member sexy_librarian
All about growing up and how the body changes, going into detail about internal functions and outward appearance, from pimples to the concept of sex. Parents be warned: it has drawn nudity, but don't let that scare you away, it's perfectly normal! The age for which this in intended could be debated
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(see above warning) but with guidance, could be for pre-teens, or even those who've already ventured into puberty.
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LibraryThing member tjsjohanna
Written for the pre-teen set (or even older), this book on human sexuality is packed full of information, all presented in a straightforward, non silly way. And that makes it most useful for starting conversations with kids who are heading into puberty with lots of questions.
LibraryThing member Ellen_Norton
This book is very well written and covers most every topic about sexuality and sexual health from puberty to parenting. I was particularly impressed that they covered homosexuality as being perfectly normal, along with many variations of sexuality. The images are all cartoon like, and the text is
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light and directs children to confide with someone they trust for more information or to answer any questions. Great resource for parents or pubescent children looking for some answers and direction.
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LibraryThing member paulweber
This informational book details the changes that will occur in the body as the students grow older. It aims to give students an understanding of how/why their bodies change, as both the text and illustration provide the important information students need to know. The reading level of this book
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aims to inform mature grade level students, grades 6th-8th.
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LibraryThing member kmcinern
Although this book is packed full on information, I am still hesitant to suggest an appropriate audience for this text. The information and the images in the book are purposeful, however some may still find the images inappropriate for certain children. The cartoon characters, a bird and bee, that
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provide some narration throughout the chapters give the impression that the text is actually intended for a younger audience.
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LibraryThing member lalalibrarian
I thought this book was awesome. I wish I'd read it when I was a teen.
funny fact: my husband actually went to summer camp with the author's sons.

LibraryThing member cjfox73
The author writes in a reassuring manner, taking on controversial subjects and handling them easily, taking the embarrassment out of the equation.
LibraryThing member smpenni
This is a very frank, open book about every aspect of human development and sexuality. It covers everything from relationships to maturation to reproduction and much more. For supervised, guided reading only.
LibraryThing member librarycheri
This book is exactly what I want as a future family reference. I love that It's Perfectly Normal provides honest, accurate, thoughtful, and clear information for tweens and young teens about puberty, sex, pregnancy, STDs, sexual orientation, and more. It is exactly what a good nonfiction book
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should be. Without honest answers from reliable sources, young people get a lot of misinformation from peers and their own assumptions. I read both this book and the younger companion book in the Family Library called It's So Amazing, so I could have accurate and age-appropriate books on hand for my son's now and future questions. I've taught middle/jr. high school students for many years and think that this book will best serve middle school students (6th-8th grade), but depending on the kid and his/her questions, this book is rightly labelled as 10 and up. I love that both books are divided into 1-2 page, well-titled sections, so that more mature, for some controversial, content areas can be easily skipped over, or returned to when the young person is more ready. How people handle teaching sex-ed to their children is such a personal decision. Please review before you share. We are our children's most important teachers; having a good book helps.
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LibraryThing member cougargirl1967
I needed a book like this when I was young; even at 57 I learned a few new things! I'm going to strongly suggest that every parent, child and future parent read this and keep it in their reading arsenal!
LibraryThing member Lake_Oswego_UCC
Large format book about changing bodies, growing up, sex, and sexual health. Information that kids and teens need to stay healthy and safe as they go through puberty and adolescence.
LibraryThing member engpunk77
Okay, so I thought nothing would make me blush when it comes to talking to my son about sexuality, but this one challenged me. I actually didn't even give it to my son, who is totally the right age for it, because I couldn't handle one little thing...I'M HORRIFIED at myself! But there's an
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illustration of mom and dad having sex, and, well, I just don't want him visualizing me in that position. Is this awful of me? I think it is, but I can't get past it. The information in this book is thorough and perfect, but that was just a little too much. If I could eliminate that page, I'd hand it right over to him. Thankfully, there are plenty of other resources out there for him.
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LibraryThing member RosanaSantana
This book does a great job or explining how bodies change over time. It also explains conception, birth control, and pregnancy.


Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

10.25 inches


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