Marshmallow reviews You Know, Sex by Cory Silverberg and Fiona Smyth

Marshmallow is reading about growing up and this week she wanted to talk about a recent book she read about puberty, growing up, and sex written for young people who are around her age: You Know, Sex: Bodies, Gender, Puberty, and Other Things by Cory Silverberg and Fiona Smyth. Sprinkles is taking notes and asking questions.

Marshmallow reviews You Know, Sex: Bodies, Gender, Puberty, and Other Things by Cory Silverberg and Fiona Smyth.
Marshmallow reviews You Know, Sex: Bodies, Gender, Puberty, and Other Things by Cory Silverberg and Fiona Smyth.

Sprinkles: First of all, as we begin this review, I want to thank you for reading this book, Marshmallow. After reviewing a collection of books about where babies come from, I had intended to write a post about a handful of books about puberty next. And one of the books I chose was this one, a huge, 432-page tome written in graphic novel form. But when I began to read it, I realized that my personal discomfort with the form (due to my poor eyesight) would mean I would probably not be able to give it its full due. So thank you for helping me out and checking the book out on your own.

Marshmallow: Well, that’s alright, Sprinkles. It was an interesting read.

S: That’s good to know. Can you tell us a bit about the specifics of the book?

M: Sure. You already said it is big, and has 432 pages. And you said it is written as a graphic novel.

S: The two who wrote this book also were the writer and the illustrator of What Makes A Baby?, one of the books I read for that review of books about where babies come from. And the pictures have the exact same style.

M: Yes, there are people with many different skin colors, like orange and purple and green and blue, and many different shapes and sizes.

S: Does that work well?

M: Yes, it is interesting. I think the people all look quite unique.

S: Well, I guess that makes the book more realistic, right? We are all quite different from one another.

M: Yes.

S: So tell us more about the book.

M: There are eleven chapters. They are titled: What is Sex? Bodies, Gender, Puberty, Feelings, Consent, Talking, Relationships, Reproduction, Touching, and Safety.

S: So the book covers a lot of ground.

M: Yup. It is also very contemporary.

S: What do you mean by that?

M: It has some ideas which I think are contemporary. They talk about gender identity and sexual orientation, transgender and non-binary people, and people having relationships with multiple partners.

S: The last one does not sound too contemporary to me. Polygamy and polyamory have been around for a long time. They have not always been accepted or legal though. I guess the authors are trying to teach the reader to be open minded about different arrangements.

M: I am not sure all readers would be too open to all of these ideas at this point.

S: I agree with that. Actually I too find some of these ideas challenging, especially polygamy. Though rabbits are typically not monogamous, according to Wikipedia, “scientific studies classify the human mating system as primarily monogamous, with the cultural practice of polygamy in the minority”. In any case, it is good to learn about how different people can relate with others.

M: Well, the book does not talk so much about polygamy as polyamory. But yes, it is good to learn about these different things.

Marshmallow is reading You Know, Sex: Bodies, Gender, Puberty, and Other Things by Cory Silverberg and Fiona Smyth.
Marshmallow is reading You Know, Sex: Bodies, Gender, Puberty, and Other Things by Cory Silverberg and Fiona Smyth.

S: They also talk about the changes a young bunny goes through in puberty, and more generally about biology and mechanics of sexual reproduction, right?

M: Well, yes. There are also very vivid depictions of things. They make an effort to show all kinds of things, so that the reader does not end up assuming that a body part has to look in one specific way. And they show people doing all kinds of different things together or alone.

S: I did look through the pages a lot, too, and I’d say there really are a lot of illustrations that some parents may not be comfortable with.

M: The self-discovery and self-exploration parts might also be kind of touchy topics for some folks, I’d imagine.

S: I did see a section on pornography, and that too is a very challenging topic. Perhaps grownup bunnies should read this book together with their young ones when they feel like the conversations about the various themes and issues that come up will be constructive.

M: I’d agree with that.

S: What were some of the other topics in the book? What topics did you find were most important?

M: They talk a lot about relationships, and I thought it was useful to learn about that. They talk about consent and power in relationships, and sometimes how people talk about being with people as a competition.

S: Yes, I did see that page about how sometimes people talk about “scoring” and the book instead encourages young people to think about “trust, respect, justice, joy, and choice”.

M: Yes, I did find those parts useful. All in all, it is an interesting and useful book, but I think grownups should probably check it out before sharing with their little ones.

S: Agreed. So what would you tell our readers as we wrap up this review?

M: Stay tuned for more amazing book bunny reviews!

Marshmallow appreciated reading You Know, Sex: Bodies, Gender, Puberty, and Other Things by Cory Silverberg and Fiona Smyth, and she thinks all growing bunnies should read a book along these lines; she also suggests grownups check it out before sharing with their little ones.
Marshmallow appreciated reading You Know, Sex: Bodies, Gender, Puberty, and Other Things by Cory Silverberg and Fiona Smyth, and she thinks all growing bunnies should read a book along these lines; she also suggests grownups check it out before sharing with their little ones.

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