Oh, the million-dollar question that can give adults everywhere anxiety attacks – “where do babies come from?” Many picture books on the subject of reproduction talk about sex, which is a very important topic to discuss with children, but which isn’t always a factor in the baby-making process. Babies are the result of a collision between sperm and egg, and this miraculous collision can occur with or without sexual intercourse between a male and a female. Some children are born to a biological mother and father with the help of IVF, while other babies are conceived to same-sex families through donor eggs or sperm, IVF and/or or surrogates. Just as families come in a variety of shapes, sizes and forms, babies are created in many different ways, and each way is special.
Brought to you by the same team behind the inclusive, sex-positive sex-ed book Sex is a Funny Word, What Makes a Baby is “a book for every kind of FAMILY and every kind of KID”. It’s a great starting point for discussions on reproduction, sex, and childbirth, providing the basic framework of information, and allowing caregivers to customise their discussions to suit their own experiences. Just as in Sex is a Funny Word, the characters in What Makes a Babycome in a variety of candy colours, and are often portrayed externally without conventional gender identifiers, allowing readers to insert themselves into the images.
This is a particularly helpful picture book for same-sex families, as it gives their conception stories the same weight, worth and importance as those of other families, and doesn’t make their stories feel like exceptions to the any rule, uncommon, or unusual. Conception is the same process, no matter how the egg and sperm end up meeting, or how they are introduced.
What Makes a Baby? is a fantastic starting point for discussions of conception and birth, and is a worthwhile addition to any collection.