Is it time to talk about sexuality and puberty with your kids? Sex education is important for kids and teens to avoid abuse, develop healthy relationships and be aware of their bodies. Here are 11 books by Indian authors that can help you start the conversation.
Talking about sex, puberty and relationships is still a topic of taboo in Indian households. But it needn’t be so anymore. If you’re looking to start a dialogue with your children, here’s a list of books you need to get. For kids below 10 years of age, read it with them, exploring topics of sexuality. For pre-teens and teenagers, give them the privacy they deserve while they read, and the space they need to think. Encourage them to come forward with questions. And remember, answer all questions honestly, without shame or hesitation. They have no one safer to turn to other than parents, teachers, or responsible adults.
Just For Boys/Just For Girls: A Book About Growing Up
As the title suggests, these two books about puberty for boys and girls helps in opening a healthy, honest conversation between parents and teens. It is written for teens as well as pre-teens, and touches on topics related to growing up, physically and emotionally. Included in the book are fact boxes, easy to understand diagrams, helpful tips, and even a question-answer section.
Published by: Parragon Books India
Get it now: Just For Girls, Just For Boys
The Red Book: What You Want to Know About Yourself
A book for pre-teens and teens (between 10 and 14 years) that doesn’t just stop at sexuality and puberty, it also talks about body image and self-esteem. Part of a series of books on sexuality, there’s also a clearly detailed section on differentiating between touches, and how to look out for potential abusers. It also emphasises that children have the right to say ‘no’, that they can make informed decisions by themselves, and that they own their bodies. Available in Hindi and English
Published by: TARSHI
Get it now: The Red Book
21 Things Every Teen Should Know
A book by a teenage girl, for teenage girls, it couldn’t get any more appropriate and relatable. The focus of the book is to inspire positivity and confidence in teenage girls while they go through unavoidable but difficult changes through puberty. It encourages girls to have fun, but wisely, and the book tells them how, based on the 14-year-old author’s personal experiences. This includes chapters on how to make friends, deal with bullies, build relationships, and the importance of keeping happy.
Author: Divya Jalan
Published by: Grapevine India Publishers
Get it now: 21 Things Every Teen Should Know
My Little Body Book: Keeping Ourselves Safe
Aimed at kids above 5 years of age, it is detailed and brightly illustrated in many colours. While it is written in a friendly tone and simple language, the message of keeping oneself safe and clean comes across firm and strong. Written from the point of view of Avni and Vivaan, it illustrates the differences between a boy and a girl’s bodies, and makes a point to talk about what is the good touch and the bad touch.
Author: Shruti Singhal
Published by: Zubaan Books
Get it now: My Little Body Book
Menstrupedia Comic: The Friendly Guide to Periods For Girls
For girls aged 9 and above, this wonderfully illustrated comic book can help them understand menstruation the best. It’s humorous, relatable, fun and informative, as it talks about body changes, periods, nutrition, and women’s health care. With cartoon illustrations that remind us of Tinkle and Panchatantra comics of the yore, this 88-page gem gives practical advice, real life experiences, and is medically accurate. Available in Hindi, English, and other languages.
Author: Aditi Gupta, Tuhin Paul
Published by: Menstrupedia
Get it now: Menstrupedia Comic
Also Read: IIT Kanpur Students Develop Kit For Teachers and Parents to Educate Children About Sexual Abuse
The Blue Book: What You Want to Know About Yourself
Second in the series to The Red Book, this one is for teens aged 15 and above. It tackles more complex situations, keeping in mind the hormonal changes, curiosity and sexual experimentation that teens go through. It also deals with peer pressure, pregnancy, parental communication about sex, and, in fact, communication of all kinds, with everyone. It’s available in Hindi and English.
Published by: TARSHI
Get it now: The Blue Book
Body Talk: Real Girls Ask Real Questions about Love, Life and Everything in Between
A treasure trove of 400 questions that plague the mind of the average adolescent girl in India. Right from questions like ‘How do you have sex?’ to ‘How do I tell my parents about my boyfriend?’ and ‘How do I determine my bra size?’, the book gives informed, clear, positive and uplifting answers to a girl’s questions. Aimed at girls over 14 years of age, the questions touch upon menstruation, safe sex, making the right decision, and how to keep well.
Author: Anjali Wason and Amruta Patil
Published by: HarperCollins
Get it now: Body Talk
Why India Should Go All the Way: Sex Ed Book for Children
Released as part of a multi-media project themed on sex education, HIV awareness and population control, this sex education guidebook caters to kids above the age of 10. It breaks down the subject of sexuality in simple, well-illustrated terms, including information about the good touch and bad touch, functions of human body, and more. The book is a well-researched effort that culminated after interviews with psychologists, child experts, doctors and government school teachers. It is bi-lingual, with Hindi and English text.
Author: Vedanti Sikka
Shareer Ki Jaankari
This is an interestingly structured book co-authored by 75 women from rural areas of India. For kids above 10, this is as interactive and fun as it gets. The book illustrates, through flaps (where you can see what’s inside a body part) and detailed diagrams, the various changes that a boy and a girl’s bodies go through during puberty. It is written and drawn by hand, and has some DIY exercises that explore sexuality and puberty. It comes in English, Hindi, Gujarati, Oriya, Bengali and Marathi.
Published by: Zubaan
Mr P’s Guide For Boys, Ms P’s Guide for Girls, and Ms P’s Lessons on Safety
A series of books by Bengaluru-based Deepa Kumar, who also runs a website called howtotellyourchildren.com, these books are a comprehensive guide for adolescent children through their years of change and uncertainities. Topics such as stages of development, body shape, breast development, menstruation, PMS, hair growth, orgasms, erections and more are touched upon in detail in a confident, positive tone. The book for boys also answers important questions and quells fears, as Kumar had noticed that no one sits them down for a talk, unlike girls.
Author: Deepa Kumar
Get it now: Three books
The Yellow Book: A Parents’ Guide to Sexuality Education
And finally, a book for parents, teachers, and other adults who want to teach kids, but don’t know how. A guidebook of sorts, this one has tips on approaching the subject with kids according to their age, how to feel comfortable talking about sex, and what to tell them about sex, puberty and relationships. It prepares parents to deal with curious questions and genuine doubts as well.
Published by: TARSHI
Get it now: The Yellow Book