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’21st Century Guide to the Birds and the Bees’ Book Review

21st Century Guide to the Birds and the BeesAs my readers know, I believe that one can never have enough books. I recently received the chance to review a newly self-published modern sex education book for young school-age children. As a mother who never shies away from even the most challenging topics with my kiddos, I eagerly accepted the opportunity to read and review 21st Century Guide to the Birds and the Bees by Belinda Messer and Rosie Luik with illustrations by Jessica Smith.

Authors

Embarking on a mission to create storybooks with a purpose, Belinda Messer and Rosie Luik developed the I Am Extra Special book series for children in 2014. As mothers with a total of seven children, Messer and Luik had noticed a lack of storybooks on difficult and sometimes taboo topics. The books in the I Am Extra Special series are a must for any parenting wanting a helpful and creative tool to assist in starting tricky conversations. An IVF Story arrived in 2014 followed by 21st Century Guide to the Birds and the Bees in 2015.

Price

21st Century Guide to the Birds and the Bees currently retails for $16 for the paperback version on both the I Am Extra Special website and Amazon. The price is a bit higher than other paperback storybooks of similar length. However, the book is self-published, which likely accounts for the price. The content is also unique, so I consider the price reasonable.

Text

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Knowledge is power, and 21st Century Guide to the Birds and the Bees provides age-appropriate knowledge about human reproduction to children between the ages of 5 and 10. From sex to IVF and surrogacy, this nonfiction book educates school-age readers on all the ways to conceive a baby. The language in the text is age appropriate, both in vocabulary and information. The book presents the basic facts of reproduction in a straightforward manner without glossing over any important information but also without delving too deeply into the mechanics.

My daughter is only three-and-a-half years old, but I have already read 21st Century Guide to the Birds and the Bees aloud to her. When I was pregnant with my son last year, I talked to her about “where babies come from” because she wanted to know how her baby brother “got in mommy’s tummy.” I am very open and frank about sex and other biological facts with my children, so I appreciate the straightforward tone of this book. My preschooler seemed interested in the text and even asked quite a few questions after I read the book aloud to her. I will continue to read this book with my daughter and my son as both grow older. I think that 21st Century Guide to the Birds and the Bees is a great tool for parents to use for teaching about babies, sex, and reproduction. I thus rate the content and text highly.

Illustrations

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Jessica Smith (Mei-Xing) is a freelance concept artist and illustrator from Perth, Australia. Her illustrations for 21st Century Guide to the Birds and the Bees are colorful and modern in style. I appreciate the cartoonish drawings throughout the book, which add a touch of lightheartedness to a more serious subject. My preschooler daughter enjoyed looking at the pictures and asked a lot of thoughtful questions about some of the details. My infant son also liked looking at all the bright colors. I thus rate the illustrations of 21st Century Guide to the Birds and the Bees very highly.

Final Verdict

If you are looking for a sex and reproduction book to share with your 5- to 10-year-old, I highly recommend 21st Century Guide to the Birds and the Bees by Belinda Messer and Rosie Luik and illustrated by Jessica Smith of the I Am Extra Special series. The language and content are age appropriate, and the illustrations are bright and modern. At $16 for the paperback, the book is appropriately priced. 21st Century Guide to the Birds and the Bees is an excellent tool for parents to use in teaching about the difficult and sometimes taboo topic of where babies come from.

Cover of 21st Century Guide to the Birds and the Bees Inside Pages of 21st Century Guide to the Birds and the Bees

For more information or to make a purchase, visit the 21st Century Guide to the Birds and the Bees product page on the I Am Extra Special website. You can follow I Am Extra Special on Facebook and Twitter. You can also purchase 21st Century Guide to the Birds and the Bees on Amazon via my affiliate link.

Image Credits

21st Century Guide to the Birds and the Bees © 2015 I Am Extra Special
Cover of 21st Century Guide to the Birds and the Bees © 2015 Heather Johnson
Inside Pages of 21st Century Guide to the Birds and the Bees © 2015 Heather Johnson

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Written by Heather Johnson

Heather is a writer, librarian, linguist, wife, and mother who loves her husband, children, dogs, and cats. She has a bachelor's degree in English with a minor in creative writing and master's degrees in library and information science and English studies with a concentration in linguistics.

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