Title: The Amazing True Story of How Babies are Made
Author: Fiona Katauskas
Themes: puberty, sex, baby development
What’s it about?
This is a non-fiction book told in narrative (like a story) about where babies come from. It starts by looking at some of the myths about where a baby comes from before moving onto the differences between boys and girls, puberty, having sex, fertilisation and baby development inside the womb, birth, and nourishment.
Simple sentences that are easy to understand. Pictures that support the text well and are engaging and detailed!
I have only one small complaint regarding the end of the book but I’ll discuss that below so it is in context.
I’m going to fess-up and state that I thought this book was going to be awful but I was wrong! Finding passable resources to use in the classroom to teach about this type of topic are very difficult to locate. Many teachers I have worked with are still using the old 70s and 80s cartoon film and book. I can remember having to watch and read them myself and they weren’t particularly informative.
This book starts by looking at how babies are ‘everywhere’ – in this case lots of animals with their babies before a page of parents with babies. Just a note here to say this double page spread is very inclusive and features a range of nationalities, cultures and family structures (please also note that single parents are not, in my opinion, depicted, neither are interracial couples – small point but just so you are aware!).
I like the next section that deals with the myths of where babies come from. I remember an elderly lady telling me once that her mother had told her she could get pregnant by using the toilet or having a bath after a man so it is important that these myths are dealt with early on!
The next part is about the differences between a boy and girl. Yes, it has diagrams that are labelled! A huge plus for this book is that genitalia is not hidden away. It’s there, it’s clear and it’s easy to understand even without reading the text (but do read the text as it is very easy to relate to!).
Puberty is next and is also a no-bars look at the changes boys and girls go through. It also states how the stages are the same for all boys, for example, but that they will not all be identical, eg. their penis will not be the exact same as everyone else.
Next comes the sex section and I have to say that this is illustrated really well without coming across as too in your face. Fertilisation follows and then looks at multiple births, particularly twins. I like that after that part was a bit on IVF treatments and this as an alternative route for getting pregnant. With more women becoming pregnant with assisted treatment I am pleased that this was included.
The baby’s development in the womb comes next followed by the birth process – yes, illustrations included. Both natural/vaginal and caesarian births are detailed. It looks at the umbilical cord and how it becomes your belly button and has a paragraph on premature babies as well.
The last part looks at feeding the baby and this is where I have my one criticism of the book. It looks at breastfeeding and has not one, but two pictures of mother’s breastfeeding. It then dedicates a single line to bottle fed babies – no picture. I think that the two vs none pictures is not right and is overdoing the breastfeeding push. For me that second illustration made what could have been a perfect book become a very good book. Balance is the key and I think after everything else being done so well in this book I am surprised that this was published as it stands as bottle feeding mums do tend to be portrayed less (and in some cases not all in) in resources. Small criticism though.
Overall I feel this is a great book to use in health classes in upper primary (grades 5+). The text is easy enough to understand for ESL learners and the illustrations fill in the gaps anyway. I also feel this is an appropriate book for students with disabilities to use as the content is so accessible.
Get to know the author
Click HERE to visit Fiona Kataukas’s official website.