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 Smyth, Sex Is a Funny Word reimagines "sex talk" for the twenty-first century.
"Moving up in target audience from their explanation of reproduction, What Makes a Baby (2013), Silverberg and Smyth explore various meanings for the word "sex." In their own ways, Zai, Cooper, Mimi, and Omar respond to information in chapters about bodies, "Boys, Girls, All of Us," touch, language, and "Crushes, Love, and Relationships." With skin tones in unlikely shades (blue! purple! green!) and wildly diverse crowd scenes, chances are good that any reader can identify with someone in these pages. Refreshingly, these crowds are diverse in a way that does not appear assembled by checklist. Lively design, bright, clashing colors, cartoon-style illustrations, comic strips, and plenty of humor support the informal, inclusive approach. Each chapter ends with questions to think and talk about. The author's respect for different approaches to the subject comes through. No actual sexual activities are described except for masturbation, in the chapter that also deals with "secret touches." The gender chapter tells how gender is assigned but notes "there are more than two kinds of bodies." The character Zai doesn't identify as either boy or girl. Illustrations show body parts of kids and grown-ups (nipples, breasts, bottoms, and parts biologically specific to boys or girls) demonstrating wide variety. Puberty will be addressed in a third title. This carefully thought-out explanation may surprise but should be widely appreciated." (glossary) (Nonfiction.7-10) --Kirkus Reviews
"In Sex is a Funny Word, Cory Silverberg and Fiona Smyth have added an important and original resource to the world of sex education for young people. Flexible in design, engaging for kids, and culturally responsive, their work represents a new generation of sex education materials. With the themes of respect, trust joy, and justice, Sex is a Funny Word represents the experiences of young people across the gender spectrum; while geared towards preadolescents, it nonetheless presents a nuanced and inclusive way for talking about this important and sometimes confusing subject. --Joel Baum, MS
Senior Director, Professional Development and Family Services, Gender Spectrum®
"You could send your kid to college and graduate school, and years of therapy, to learn how to lovingly come to terms with their gender and sexuality. Or you could simply read this book with them—it's that thorough, and that good." —Kate Bornstein, author of My New Gender Workbook
“Sex Is a Funny Word is a book that brilliantly reminds us of our shared humanity. Whether you are LGBTQIA or any other letter in the alphabet (including “U" for undecided), this book contains everything you ever wanted the kids in your life to know about sex.”—James Lecesne, Co-founder of The Trevor Project
“This deliciously illustrated book fills a huge need for interactive sex education that parents can feel comfortable reading with their kids. It will result in some very interesting conversations. I wish the teenagers that I treat had been able read this book with a parent when they were younger!” —Miriam Kaufman, MD
Head, Division of Adolescent Medicine, The Hospital for Sick Children (Toronto)
"Sex Is a Funny Word is a wonderful resource for parents and educators who want to talk with kids about sex and sexuality in a positive, loving, inclusive, and joyful way. For people who care about social justice and want to raise our kids to be healthy, safe, and strong, this is the book we have been waiting for!"—Eveline Shen, Executive Director, Forward Together
“Inventive, inclusive, and inspiring Sex is a Funny Word is a fantastic new resource for young people to learn about sex and so much more! Brilliant in color and content, the protagonists Zai, Cooper, Mimi, and Omar provide children with the means and the encouragement to explore their feelings, to ask questions, and to be who they are. This is a book that puts diversity and justice at the center of sexuality education - exactly where it should be!”—Al Vernacchio, MS Ed, and author of For Goodness Sex: Changing the Way We Talk to Teens about Sexuality, Values, and Health
“Sex Is a Funny Word opens a portal to a world where gender is exactly what we say it is rather than simply the sum of our ‘middle parts.’ Silverberg provides the template for all of us to see the simplicity with which we can step out of today’s binary gender paradigm.” —Aidan Key, author, educator, speaker, and founder of the Gender Odyssey Conference
About the Authors:
Raised by a children's librarian and a sex therapist, CORY SILVERBERG split the difference and grew up to be a sexuality educator and writer. With an academic background in education and counseling psychology, he has developed and facilitated workshops for hundreds of agencies across North America, working on a range of topics including sexuality and disability, sexual pleasure, and sexual communication. He is the coauthor of The Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability, and since 2005 he has worked as the Sexuality Guide for About.com. In 2012, Silverberg developed a book project—What Makes a Baby?—that became the best-funded children's book on Kickstarter. He subsequently signed a three-book deal with Seven Stories Press to produce a series of inclusive children's books about gender and sexuality. Silverberg lives in New York City.
FIONA SMYTH is a Toronto-based painter, illustrator, and cartoonist. Her first graphic novel, The Never Weres, was published by Annick Press in 2011. Fiona’s comic Cheez was published in Exclaim! magazine for almost ten years, and her comic Fazooz was in Vice for eight years. Fiona teaches illustration and comics at OCAD U in Toronto.