The Best Sex Education Books for Kids of All Ages (And Their Parents!)

These age-appropriate books answer questions about sex, puberty, relationships, bodies, and more.

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sex ed books


What Should Sex Education Look Like in 2023?

This year, for the 2023 Parents Sex Education survey we asked 1,500 caregivers to find out what they really think about the state of sex education today. Here's what they said—and how to start the conversation with your kids.

Kids of all ages have questions related to sex. And if your pat response is “We’ll talk about it when you’re older”—or something about a stork—you could use some help to help them address the topics they need to understand before their peers and the internet send them off course. The best sex education books for kids at all ages (and their parents, too) digs into the topics in formats that engage and explain — without shame. 

To come up with our list, we interviewed experts, including Michelle Felder, LCSW, MA, licensed clinical social worker, parenting therapist, and founder of the online coaching and therapy platform Parenting Pathfinders; and Bethany Cook, Psy.D., HSP, MT-BC, a licensed clinical psychologist and parenting author. We combined their recommendations with research into the most popular and highly reviewed sex ed books in their respective categories. 

These books are inclusive, age-appropriate, and engaging (even fun!) to read, factors we consider pretty key to making this process go smoothly. Most books are under $20, and they’re all well worth the investment to open this important, ongoing dialogue with your kids about sex.

Our Favorite Sex Ed Books for Kids

Best Overall: Sex Is a Funny Word

Sex Is a Funny Word


Why We Like It: This book is inclusive, positive, and clear, with an engaging comic book format.

But Take Note: It covers concepts of sex broadly without providing concrete, scientific explanations or medically precise illustrations.

This book has the format of a comic book, with content that includes children and families of all identities and types. “Sex Is a Funny Word doesn’t just provide kids with clear and honest information about different bodies, what sex is, sexuality, boundaries, and gender, but it offers thoughtful questions and an entryway for parents and caregivers to have meaningful conversations with their kids about these topics too,” therapist Felder tells us.

The book highlights the importance of kids thinking critically about their relationships, expressing what’s important to them, and being who they are. It’s inclusive and both acknowledges and validates kids’ natural curiosity and awareness about sex, Felder says. It also explores broader topics like justice, trust, safety, and respect in a way that’s relatable and accessible. While these are all great and necessary things to discuss, however, you’ll need to look elsewhere for detailed, scientific information about reproduction and anatomy. 

Price at time of publication: $23

The Details:

  • Age/grade level: Grades 2-5

Best Introduction to Sex: It’s Not the Stork!

It's Not the Stork!: A Book About Girls, Boys, Babies, Bodies, Families and Friends (The Family Library)


Why We Like It: This science-driven and direct book for younger kids has inclusive imagery and content. 

But Take Note: Some younger kids may find the page layouts a bit wordy or complex.

This book is an ideal introduction to sex-related concepts in an age-appropriate way for kids in preschool, kindergarten, and early elementary school. The language is lively and engaging. Two cartoon characters, a curious bird and a nervous bee, help give voice to the topics.

Psychologist Dr. Cook recommends this book for its “straightforward manner,” providing objective facts about everything from the basics—naming parts and what they do—to LGBTQIA+ issues and abortion. “The images and messages are non-judgemental and are written from a science-based perspective, no religious tilt or shaming language,” she says. 

Price at time of publication: $12

The Details:

  • Age/grade level: 4 to 8 years old

Best for Young Kids: What Makes a Baby

What Makes a Baby


Why We Like It: This book has content geared toward the youngest kids, with fully inclusive language to describe bodies and families.

But Take Note: The brightly colored illustrations are geared to the youngest kids, but the content is scientific, which some might find too advanced.

This book breaks down the process of creating a human into clear, simple, and age-appropriate steps. “Its vibrant illustrations help to make it not only incredibly educational but fun for kids to experience at the same time,” Felder says. She also appreciates that the book is “intentionally inclusive and avoids making a connection between a person’s body parts and their gender.” Rather, the differences in people's bodies are described without gender labels and are instead explained as “some bodies have sperm in them and some do not” and “some bodies have eggs in them and some do not.” 

What Makes a Baby covers even complex topics like DNA, using language that young children can relate to, which makes it easier for them to understand. “This book provides parents and caregivers with an honest and factual way of explaining conception, gestation, and birth, while leaving room for families to share about the different ways that babies are made and the various ways that families can look in whatever way they believe is best,” Felder says.

Price at time of publication: $12

The Details:

  • Age/grade level: 3-7 years old

Best for Elementary School Age: It’s So Amazing!

It's So Amazing!: A Book about Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies, and Families (The Family Library)


Why We Like It: It delivers science-based answers to kids’ typical questions about sex in a straightforward, fearless style.

But Take Note: Use your judgment on age appropriateness for your individual child, as some have found the concepts too advanced for their 7- or 8-year-old kids.

This book, by It’s Not the Stork author Robie H. Harris and illustrator Michael Emberley,   is geared to elementary school kids age 7 and up, covering sex-related topics in an age-appropriate, reassuring way. The accompanying art is inclusive and engaging, with two cartoon characters, a bird and a bee, who should also be familiar to readers of the earlier book in this sex ed series.

“Diversity is found in both the pictures—multiple races and shapes are represented—but also in the content covered and the manner in which the message is delivered,” Dr. Cook says. “I can’t say enough about this down-to-earth, based-in-science-not-using-fear approach to teaching kids about sex and sexuality!”

Felder also recommends this book, noting that it does have some gaps in information but still offers a lot of answers to the kinds of sex questions kids this age have.

Price at time of publication: $11

The Details:

  • Age/grade level: 7-10 years old

Best for Tweens: It’s Perfectly Normal

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


Why We Like It: This book is up to date with the most modern language and concepts, without ever being condescending. 

But Take Note: As with all books, use your judgment: Some parents found this book too advanced with too much detail not appropriate for tweens.

This long-trusted book for tweens has been around for 25 years with 1.5 million copies in print; it’s from the same popular series that also includes It’s Not the Stork! and It’s So Amazing. For kids ages 10-12, it describes some of the mechanics of heterosexual sexual intercourse and discusses non-reproductive and non-heterosexual types of sex without being very explicit. There are even some cartoonish illustrations of couples in bed together. A chapter devoted to sexual desire may come at just the right time for kids just starting to experience such feelings.

The latest edition of It’s Perfectly Normal is highly updated, with gender-neutral vocabulary; more on LGBTQ+ topics, gender identity, sex, and sexuality; more sensitive content around sexual abuse and consent; and more on how to stay safe online.

Price at time of publication: $12

The Details:

  • Age/grade level: 10-12 years old

Best for Tween Girls: Grow Up and Love Your Body!

Grow Up and Love Your Body!: The Complete Girls’ Guide to Growing Up Age 8-12 incl. Body-Care and Self-Esteem Special


Why We Like It: This book for tween girls aims to help them understand their bodies in a way that empowers them and builds their self confidence.

But Take Note: This book focuses more on puberty than sex, per se, which may or may not be your goal for your child.

With so much noisy messaging in today’s world, it can be hard for girls to feel love for their own bodies and how they look. This book aims to beef up their self-esteem and self-confidence by addressing and exploring some of the challenges that likely impact them on a daily basis at school and beyond. It also offers tips on how to overcome these challenges to feel good about themselves.

Topics include puberty and the way it changes girls’ bodies, how emotions affect moods and confidence levels, healthy diet and exercise, starting a period, buying a first bra, family conflicts, relationships, and more. 

Price at time of publication: $10

The Details:

  • Age/grade level: 8-12 years old

Best for Tween Boys: Guy Talk: The Ultimate Body Book for Boys

Guy Talk: The Ultimate Boy's Body Book with Stuff Guys Need to Know while Growing Up Great!


Why We Like It: This book sensitively covers a broad range of mental and physical health topics for boys.

But Take Note: This isn’t strictly about sex education, but more broadly about physical and mental wellbeing. 

This book is easy to read and illustrated with bodies of all shapes, abilities, and sizes as  it covers a broad range of topics for boys ages 8 to 12, including body changes, personal hygiene, peers and friendships, and healthy eating. 

It's aimed not just at boys’ physical health and wellbeing, but mental health too. The content provides tips on peer pressure, social media, consent, and self esteem.

Price at time of publication: $11

The Details:

  • Age/grade level: 8-12 years old

Best for Middle School Age: Sex, Puberty and All That Stuff

Sex, Puberty, and All That Stuff: A Guide to Growing Up


Why We Like It: This book is right for middle school kids, talking to them in their own language about topics already on their minds at this stage.

But Take Note: While some parents find this age appropriate for tweens, others consider the content more advanced, and appropriate for a young teenage audience.

This book uses a friendly tone to talk to middle schoolers about subjects they spend tons of time thinking about, like crushes, kissing, dating, hormones, periods, pimples, sexual activity, condoms, contraception, pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and consent. 

It’s up-to-date and practical, speaking to middle schoolers in their own language on topics like social media and protecting yourself online, positive body image, mental health, sexual orientation, and gender identity. 

This book is right for all genders, but it has chapters titled “Boy Stuff” and “Girl Stuff” that describe male and female genitalia and how they work. 

Price at time of publication: $15

The Details:

  • Age/grade level: Grades 5-10

Best About Puberty: You Know, Sex: Bodies, Gender, Puberty, and Other Things

You Know, Sex: Bodies, Gender, Puberty, and Other Things


Why We Like It: The graphic-novel-style reading experience is engaging for kids 10 to 14, and the content is inclusive and lively.

But Take Note: This book isn’t just about the physical aspects of puberty, but also dives into topics like power, harassment, and a range of emotional experiences.

This book gives kids an entertaining graphic novel-style reading experience that is relatable and easy for them to absorb. “Not only [is it] bold and engaging, but it presents information about sex, sexuality, puberty, and reproduction in a way that is honest, straightforward, and relatable,” Felder says. “This book explores topics that go beyond the facts of how different bodies can look and change, and offers kids information about topics like body autonomy, safety, consent, harassment, and the emotional experiences that they can have growing up.”

The book features characters that are racially and ethnically diverse, and is intentionally inclusive of various body types, genders, abilities, and experiences. “This book helps to validate and normalize so much of what kids can go through, and thoughtfully explores the ups, downs, pleasures, joys, confusions, and challenges that are a part of growing up,” Felder says.

Price at time of publication: $30

The Details:

  • Age/grade level: 10-14 years old

Best by Doctors: You-ology: A Puberty Guide for Every Body

You-ology: A Puberty Guide for Every Body


Why We Like It: Physicians authored this book about kids’ changing bodies, but its content is still upbeat and engaging.

But Take Note: The book does not specifically cover sex.

This book comes straight from the American Academy of Pediatrics, and its authors are physicians. It offers a fully inclusive approach to learning about puberty that’s fun and open, not cloaked in shame or awkwardness. 

This inclusive book offers kids (and parents looking for openings into conversation) age-appropriate and body-positive facts about the physical, social, and emotional changes puberty brings. It has colorful illustrations and a lively, engaging tone, interwoven with stories.

Price at time of publication: $12

The Details:

  • Age level: 9-12 years old

Best About Consent: Let’s Talk About Body Boundaries, Consent, and Respect

Let's Talk About Body Boundaries, Consent and Respect: Teach children about body ownership, respect, feelings, choices and recognizing bullying behaviors


Why We Like It: This book tackles the topic of consent, as it relates to kids’ own bodies and to others’ bodies, which is critical to sex education at any age.

But Take Note: While the content is important, some readers didn’t find it as engaging for young readers as it could be.

Inherent in the necessary discussions around sex are topics surrounding consent (something that was almost completely absent from the conversation in previous generations). This book focuses on teaching kids about boundaries—both for their bodies and others’ bodies—which is key for developing their sense of self and confidence.

This book helps kids understand that they have a right to their own personal space, and helps them defend that space. It also helps them learn how to ask for others’ consent before going into their personal space. 

Price at time of publication: $10

The Details:

  • Age/grade level: 5-8 years old

Best for Teens: Sex Education for Teens

Sex Education for Teens: Understanding Sex, Sexuality, and Relationships. The Things Teens Don't Want to Discuss to Their Parents


Why We Like It: This book covers topics including relationships and dating pertinent to teenagers, beyond covering just the physical.

But Take Note: Some may find parts of the book too binary.

This book helps teens address heady, urgent topics that they might be too shy to ask about elsewhere. Not just about physical topics, Sex Education for Teens covers issues like crushes, romance, dating, and even cheating.

The book tackles some truly important issues teens should know before they start to get romantically or physically involved, like the potential dangers of sex, signs of an unhealthy relationship and what to do if you find yourself in one; misconceptions about sex; and how to know when you’re ready for sex.

Price at time of publication: $15

The Details:

  • Age/grade level: 13-18 years old

Best for Parents: 30 Days of Sex Talk

30 Days of Sex Talks for Ages 12+: Empowering Your Child with Knowledge of Sexual Intimacy


Why We Like It: This book has tools to help parents and kids start and continue the conversation around sex, intimacy, and relationships.

But Take Note: It’s geared toward parents, not kids.

This book is aimed at parents of kids ages 12 and up, not at kids themselves, because many of us can use all the guidance we can get. It’s meant to help open up a healthy conversation around the topic in a way that’s not awkward and bashful, but engaging—a dialogue that includes joy, laughter, and the positive emotions around intimacy.

The book includes topics like emotional intimacy, social media, consent, and the tools needed for healthy relationships. Each topic is broken down plainly, with bullet points and questions to serve as conversation starters between parents and kids. 

Price at time of publication: $22

The Details:

  • Age/grade level: Adults

Best LGBTQ+: The Pride Guide

The Pride Guide: A Guide to Sexual and Social Health for LGBTQ Youth


Why We Like It: It’s written explicitly for LGBTQ+ teenagers (and their families), with an engaging and humorous tone.

But Take Note: The book is stronger on social-emotional topics than on medical guidance.

This book is written for teens who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, nonbinary, or any other non-heterosexual/cisgendered identity, an estimated 10 percent of all teens. It explores not just sex and puberty but also dating and relationships, plus such essentials as online safety. 

Giving teenagers and their families the knowledge they need can help build self confidence, which helps serve as armor against social challenges they may face. The information is presented in a way that is factual, but humorous, too, to keep teens engaged.

Price at time of publication: $21

The Details:

  • Age/grade level: 14-17 years old

Our Review Process

To come up with this list of the best age-appropriate sex education books for kids, we interviewed Michelle Felder, LCSW, MA, licensed clinical social worker, parenting therapist, and founder of the online coaching and therapy platform Parenting Pathfinders; and Bethany Cook, Psy.D., HSP, MT-BC, licensed clinical psychologist and parenting author of For What It’s Worth: A Perspective on How to Thrive and Survive Parenting. We compiled these top picks using their choices combined with research into the most popular and highly reviewed books in their respective categories. 

Factors to Consider When Choosing Kids’ Sex Ed Books

Age-Appropriate Topics and Language

Naturally, preschoolers, grade schoolers, preteens, and teens all have different experiences and different questions about their bodies; pick a book that matches their individual developmental stage. 


Sex education used to be extremely binary and heteronormative, and therefore not useful—even damaging—to a big section of the population. Pick a book that prioritizes an inclusive approach, no matter what you believe your child’s identity or orientation to be. “I suggest that parents broach the subject with the support of an age-appropriate and inclusive book that talks about the changes that different bodies experience and the various ways that families can look and grow,” Felder says.


In order for kids to get anything useful out of a book, it will need to engage them. Pick one that speaks to them in their language, using stories, descriptions, and illustrations that they can easily understand. They maybe even enjoy these books instead of running away cringing.

Your Questions, Answered 

At what age should you talk to children about sex? 

You should talk to children about sex in an age-appropriate way as soon as they know they have bodies, experts tell us. “Parents can begin to build the foundation of their child’s understanding of sex from the time they start talking to them about their body,” Felder says. “Just like we talk to infants and toddlers about their head, shoulders, knees, and toes, we should be using anatomically correct names for all of their body parts.”

How do I teach my child about consent?

Modeling consent is the best way to teach your child about it, long before their brains can consciously understand the concept. Dr. Cook suggests using the following type of language: When they are babies, say things like, “I’m going to touch your legs to put your pants on.” When they are toddlers, try saying things like “Is it OK if I braid your hair?” And when they are tweens, you say things like, “Hey, is it OK if I give you hugs in front of your friends?”  

This modeling helps kids learn that consent isn’t just asking someone, “Can we have sex?” Rather, Dr. Cook says, “Consent is an awareness that others' physical boundaries may be different from ours and the importance of checking in with and respecting those boundaries."

How do I start the sex talk with my kid?

The experts discourage the notion of a single, pent-up sex talk. Rather, they encourage talking about the topics in an age-appropriate way throughout kids’ development. “If a child has a vulva, they should know that it’s called a vulva, if they have a penis, they should know that it’s called a penis,” Felder says. “Kids tend to be able to easily pick up on which words we’re comfortable with and which we aren’t, so be mindful to not whisper these words. Say them as casually and confidently as you would talk about their ears or elbows.” And when you’re stuck, turn to one (or a few) of the books we list here.

Who We Are

Alesandra Dubin is a mom to school-aged twins who have plenty of questions already. She’s also a veteran lifestyle writer and product reviewer who has been writing about parenting topics since she helmed’s pregnancy blog when she was expecting in 2014.

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