Children's book triggers questions about appropriate age to talk sex

6:50 AM, Oct 20, 2011   |    comments
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Greensboro, NC -- The birds and the bees are tough to talk about at any age, but a book written for young children has some parents asking when is the appropriate age to share that information with your kids.

You can find copies of "It's Not The Stork!", written by Robie Harris, in the children's section of many public libraries. Even though some of the text and illustrations look more like they belong in a high school or college sex ed book, the book is written for kids as young as age four.

Link: Book reviews from
Link: Purchase "It's NOT the Stork!"

"You could just easily see this in the adult section, because there are adults who don't have any more information than this," said Michael Harrelson, a parent at the Greensboro Public Library.

Tammy Miller, the youth coordinator at the Greensboro Public Library, said some parents want books with details and pictures to help them with the conversation. She said the book came with rave reviews, but like any book, it's not for everyone.

"This particular book was written and illustrated for children, so when a book is for children, we put it in our children's collection," said Miller.

However, just because it's in the children's section, and says its for ages four and up, doesn't mean it's right for your child to read it.

"I don't know. He doesn't even understand it right now. But, it's one of those things, as a parent, you really don't know the right age even to start talking to him," said Lindsay Miller, while reading the book to her son.

News 2 asked an expert how young is too young to talk to your kids?

"There's not an age that I can tell you that you should have that conversation, but whenever it comes up, it's time to have that conversation. That's the age," said Debra Mack, director of the children's unit at Cone Behavioral Health.

Mack said if the questions start coming from your child at age four, parents need to be ready to answer them.

"If they ask a question, and they don't get an answer from you, they're going to get it from somewhere," she said.

Mack said parents should not say their kids are too young to talk about the issues.

"It may be they're afraid that the child will take action, but I think that action only comes when they don't know," she said.

However, parents aren't convinced that young children need to know and see all of the details, as illustrated in the book.

"Four years old, they're not going to buy this. They're not going to fundamentally get it," said Harrelson.

"I think the book shows a little more than kids really have to see," said Marines Jackson, a mother of two.

Miller said if you think a book like this is in the wrong section, the Greensboro Public Library and other libraries have a process where you can formally challenge the book or any book for that matter. You're instructed to fill out a form with a librarian and they will review it.

The author of the book, Robie Harris, has a section on her Web site dedicated to defending the book. It said the book was created to answer young children's questions and concerns about these issues.

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