Monday, September 24

Favorite finds, what a relief!

Am I weird for not dreading talking to my kids about anatomy, sex and all those topics that make parents squirm? I was not an inquisitive youngster on this topic, but I do wish I'd had more accessible information that respected my level of need to know / want to know. 

With so much misinformation and filth so prevalent these days on such a topic so vital to my kids' well-being, I want my kids to be armed with confidence in the truth. I also obviously want them to know their parents' and faith's values based upon our Heavenly Father's plan. I've been on the hunt for years to find good age and personality-appropriate books to read WITH my children. I am not good without a script! A book allows me to guide the conversation, gives us something to look at, and encourages the kids to comment and ask questions. Surely, in this day and age there had to be some good books that fit the bill, right? Well, most to date have made me squirm -- not enough detail, too much detail, bad illustrations, heavy bias one way or the other . . . etc.  

But Hallelujah! I think I found some I like for the ages of my kids! Here's my recent favorite finds found browsing the library shelves a few weeks ago. Both of these are by Robie H. Harris and have different illustrators. They are available on Amazon for ~$16 each.

"Who's Got What?"
Geared toward 2-7 year olds as a family takes a trip to the beach with their dog. Okay illustrations of what's inside and outside the body that makes us male or female. I shared this with my 3 and 6 yr old and they enjoyed the information and story. Nice and basic.

"It's So Amazing: A book about Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies, and Families"
I'd say this one is for 5-10 yr olds that want to or need to know more than who's got what. Just good to have around. I'm sure many adults will learn a thing or two as a refresher course, I know I did! Big topics are broken down into bite-sized sections for easy digestion so kids and parents can take it all in at their own pace! Topics include anatomy, feelings about these topics, puberty, reproduction, sex, sexuality, keeping your body safe, birth, adoption, family types, and STDs -- in 79 pages! The artwork and text are thorough without conveying a bias which I find to be the most amazing part! The author seems to strive to define each topic and not state a bias - that will bother most or some but for me and where I stand, I love how open ended this leaves it for me, the parent. The comic strip illustrations and text are very age appropriate to draw a child of reading age in and get them talking. 

I have begun sharing "It's so amazing" with my 8 year old because I know kids around him are beginning to have conversations and experiences that make me want to homeschool! While reading this book before introducing it to my kids, I felt impressed to simply print and post a copy of The Family: A Proclamation to the World in the book. I feel that the majority of my values on these topics are stated in this one document in bite-sized chunks. Having it in the book lets me reference it as needed. Once my own copy arrives in the mail, I will do the same and probably make a note in the book's margins of what Proclamation paragraph and line I want to use to clarify our family's beliefs. 

I do want to note that I was able to read through the author's book on puberty and I found it too full of opinions I do not share. I was very disappointed. The search will continue!

But to end on a happy note, last week I stumbled upon this next gem we used tonight for Family Home Evening. Written by an LDS gal whose blog I follow and beautifully illustrated, "God Gave Me a Body" is a great way to introduce modesty and keeping your body safe from pornography and other harmful things. I'm so happy about how our reading and family discussion went tonight, it was just awesome! Before the lesson, Ryan asked me if the kids were too young for these topics but by the end, we were both convinced we were in the knick of time if not late to the party!

Not totally unrelated, if you read through the comments below their book's post, there's a discussion and great comment from the illustrator, Jessica W. Clark, about LDS artists, nudity, and pornography. She shared an interesting blog post by LDS artist J. Kirk Richards. If there's one thing you become accustomed to seeing when traveling in Europe, it's nudity in art. Is Michaelangelo's David pornographic? To me it is not and I see it and appreciate it as a masterpiece. Yet my life's experience and level of comfort with nudity is such that I don't necessarily wish for a full body replica to be displayed in my home. We do, however, have a small souvenir bust of David's head because of a description I read about how Michaelangelo set his David's eyes to convey different emotions rooted in human spirituality - faith, determination, hope, and courage versus fear, uncertainty, and despair. I love David's story - his entire story. I admire Michaelangelo and loved the portrayal I recently read of him in Basilica: The Splendor and the Scandal: Building St. Peter's