This is a collection mostly based on what I have used and seen useful in clinical care. As I am a midwife, I work mostly with women and girls, so this list is based on that angle.
1. A basic anatomy book - I do not have a specific book to suggest, but have always had one in the house, taking all the secrets and mystery and fear out of our bodies. When you can look at bones, eye balls and heart images, you can also look at the rest of the body with more ease. What better way to introduce health, self care, and sex like topics then making it part of their normal day to day. Here is one basic idea.
2. It's So Amazing - This book has been in our house from day one, a recommendation for peers with older kids. It was mixed matched in with other books, and they found it, and found interest in it when they were ready. There is a lot of worry about telling your kids too much too soon, but I have found that if you just follow their lead, they will ask what they need as they need it. And try not to answer questions with more then what they ask. The first few times they took this book out I held my breath with anticipation and fear...what would they think of it, how will I answer? But they just took it in, asked a few questions and moved on with their day. Both my girls have gone back over and over, from age 4 on. It remains a staple in our home, on our main bookshelf with the kid books. Author: Robie H. Harris, Michael Emberley
3. It's Perfectly Normal - This is the older kid book to complement It's So Amazing. This book came into our home pre-puberty, pre teen (age 10ish for my kids). Since it reviews puberty, "changing bodies, growing up, sex and sexual health" it was only when the kids were asking questions more related to the relationship aspect vs anatomy/body actions and parts. It expands on anatomy, the physical changes of puberty, but also dives deeply into the social aspects of boundaries and teasing, sex, family planning and family dynamics. Again, this is one that they will go back to as needed, and they will ask questions. If they do not, I have prompted them with "what do you think of that?" or "what is something new to you that you found in that book today."
3. Sex is a funny Word -
4. The care & Keeping of You, 1 & 2 - American Girl Doll series -
5. Cycle Savvy: The Smart Teen's Guide to the Mysteries of Her BodyCycle Sauvy -
1. Celebrate Your Body - this is an intro book, another one to just have around the house, for them to find when it is time.
2. Cycle Savvy - this book is hands down a must for girls once they begin their period. It takes out the mystery and fear, and replaces it with smarts and understanding. This book helps set the tone for normal vs concern.
3. Go With The Flow - another options for all things period, so the girl holds the power, by being in the know.
4. The Female Brain - this is for the older teen, but understanding that our brain is different in so many amazing ways helps us harness our power. There is also a movie based on this, that is worth watching together, or even with your adult lady friends...this is a new concept in science, until recently, a brain was a brain, male or female.
For Us (parents):
1. Girls & Sex - this book was just updated, and has been a recent leader in sex in media, the social pressures, and modern day challenges for our young girls. As a parent, it is hard to stay in the loop, and in front of the trends, but we need to at times. A head in the sand misses the waves.
2. Girls on the Edge (Also useful, Boys Adrift) - also just updated in 2020, this book is one of 3 worth owning. Girls and boys have different challenges, and this book addresses deeply the challenges of girls and boys in this day in age. In my view, these books should be read so we can be sympathetic and supportive to the world that our kids live in.
3. What Your Child Needs to Know about Sex and When - this book just reviewed the developmental milestones that our kids journey through, so we can address topics at the age that they can make sense of it. Most of us are learning as we go...this book may keep us one step ahead.