February 6, 2024

"Our kids already know about 99.9 percent of this stuff. What concerned me..."

"... is that they have a lot of misinformation, no matter how much they tell us, and I wanted them to get accurate information."

Said Robie Harris, quoted in "Robie Harris, Often-Banned Children’s Author, Is Dead at 83/Her children’s books on matters of sex and sexuality — notably 'It’s Perfectly Normal' — became fodder for the culture wars" (NYT).

The obituary links to a 2010 New Yorker article by Jill Lepore, "Too Much Information," which is about books for children that explain sex. That whole article is interesting, and the beginning is hilarious.

Here's some of what Lepore wrote about Harris:
The best of the latest batch [of books] have an endearing and companionable matter-of-factness. “Pads are also called sanitary napkins,” Robie H. Harris explains in “It’s Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health,” for ages ten and up, and then she has the good sense to add, “Sanitary means clean.”... Her books, which include “It’s So Amazing! A Book About Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies, and Families,” for ages seven and up, are genuinely sweet, in a genre in which there’s a fairly despicable tendency to be edgy, brash, and cool.... She’s got a section called “What’s Love?,” and sensible, even existential, answers (“Sometimes people just love each other”), along with a remarkably thoughtful discussion about love between men and men and between women and women.... 
“1 sperm + 1 egg = 1 baby,” Robie Harris explains, in “It’s not the Stork! A Book About Girls, Boys, Babies, Bodies, Families and Friends.” (Harris’s books have two mascots, a bird and a bee.) She writes, “When grown-ups want to make a baby, most often a woman and a man have a special kind of loving called ‘making love’—‘having sex’—or ‘sex.’ This kind of loving happens when the woman and the man get so close to each other that the man’s penis goes inside the woman’s vagina.”... 
Harris’s book for kids ten and up has a two-page section on masturbation, with drawings. Is this too much? Harris wisely allows that it might be. “I’ve heard enough about sex for now,” the bee says, flying away. (“Not me,” says the bird.)...

30 comments:

typingtalker said...

Perhaps all children of a certain age should spend a year on a farm raising cows or goats.

D.D. Driver said...

This strikes me as a lot of wrongthink about boys and girls. I hope the book lets boys know that some of them also need sanitary napkins. Does the left still defend this book?

Leland said...

“1 sperm + 1 egg = 1 baby,”

My twins see that as disinformation.

Howard said...

More tools for tools whom don't know how to raise their kids. Besides, the people who aren't creepy about sex already know how to handle it with their kids so don't need the books. The creepy people whom think sex is dirty sinful pathways to hell would never use such a graphic graphic novel to educate their children about the sexual aspects of life.

A niche within a niche

iowan2 said...

Wiki shows an almost no existant biography.

No marriage, no kids, no education, no work history.

IF that's factual, it kind of explains the lack of interest in the actual children she is targeting.

I guess we are something like 4 generations removed from having family involved in animal agriculture. Meaning less than 5% of the population has ever set foot on a working farm involving the production of food. Specifically Animal protein. Meat, eggs, milk.
I explained to my girl classmates in second grade how babies were made, because I watched when dad brought the neighbors boar over to service 2 dozen gilts dad had just bought. Watched his cork screw penis go to work, and then I was involved during farrowing when piglets emerged from the same place the cork screw disappeared.

That does not mean 2cnd graders should be schooled on masturbation, by anyone not their parent.

Just last month it seems were were welcoming our 2cnd and 3rd grandkids into the world. This summer they will be eligible for their drivers learners permit. So I understand growth and development. Public Schools have NO ROLE in the discussion. NONE.
The left needs to be careful. They might get what they wish. Teachers explaining to all the children the evils of homosexuality. Is that my view? What does it matter? Its the schools call right?

Breezy said...

Were her books banned-banned, or elementary school-banned?

Jamie said...

I'd like to know where her books have been "often" "banned," if they are as presented.

I like the "man and three women get so close to each other that..." part! I can see a bunch of seven-year-olds assiduously socially distancing, just in case.

Oso Negro said...

I think contemporary children use the preferred “Boys Big Book of Buttfucking and Blowjobs”, fully illustrated, or “Your Vagina: the Sneaky Pouch of Fame and Riches”, for the vaginate.

Humperdink said...

Supreme Court Associate Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson demands a rewrite.

RideSpaceMountain said...

Howard is right. If you need a 3rd party to teach your children about sex you're doing it wrong. If anyone other than my wife or myself talked with my children about sex they're getting gangstalked with thermal game cameras and funny-but-not-so-funny pranks. Once they have the talk they're free to snigger with their friends but not before. Absofuckinglutely zero teachers and zero media.

Ann Althouse said...

"Wiki shows an almost no existant biography. No marriage, no kids, no education, no work history."

From the linked NYT obit: "In addition to her sons, Ms. Harris, who lived in Manhattan, is survived by her husband, William Harris, and four grandchildren."

narciso said...

Lepore who plagiarism from zakaria often gets things wrong

Aggie said...

Her books seem quite wholesome and innocuous by modern standards, and I find it difficult to imagine they would be grouped with, say, the selected readings in anal fisting and other such children's gems that are currently being enthused over by our Progressive mavens, and objected to by normal people. Is this a sideways jibe at the 'great-unwashed-flyover-rubes', clutching at their Bibles and panicking about the birds and the bees being taught?

And are her books really banned, or did they just 'used to be be'? And by 'banned', do they mean 'burned, with hate', 'removed from the library?', or just put over into the 'over 12 years' age group shelves?

Kevin said...

Our kids already know about 99.9 percent of this stuff

"Everybody knows this" is not a good reason for teaching something.

I think everybody knows this.

Tom T. said...

We got that book for our 11-year-old, and a little-kid version for our 8-year-old. No matter how good one's relationship with them is, there are things that a kid would drop over dead before asking their parents, so the books are there to fill in the gaps.

William said...

My parents weren't all that great when it came to sex education, but, I suppose, they were appreciably better than the nuns I had in school.....I came of age in a time when when naked women were a rarity. You really had to work at it to find pictures of naked women, and even then mostly what you got to see were boobs....Shame and ignorance are not predictive of a great sex life, but I suppose all that repression is like a weight training exercise for the libido. I can remember getting turned on by the sight of the back clasp of a bra of a girl wearing a white blouse sitting in front of me at church. I can remember thinking that I was surely doomed for hell for thinking such thoughts in the house of God.....That said, I don't see how early exposure to porn--particularly all that weird stuff they do nowadays--gives children a leg up in the pursuit of happiness. Where ignorance is bliss, it's folly to be wise. Perhaps someday we'll think up a way where most of the people most of the time find happy, fulffilling sex. I have my doubts though. There's something in the sex drive that doesn't like a wall and there's something in our conscience that likes to build a wall.

iowan2 said...

Thanks Ann. Wiki usually gives at least the basics. Guess I cant use wiki for anything anymore.

Then I am at a loss how a mother and grandmother is willing to abdicate such important child rearing duties to govt functionaries. People can debate about the efficiencies of govt taking on certain tasks. But I refuse to allow teachers the power to lead our youth on societies social norms. The Government ALWAYS fails at such matters.

(on a side note, I saw a short clip of college professor explaining the new process for teaching reading has finally unlocked the mystery of reading. Are really going to believe Lucy is not going to pull away this football again?)

Ampersand said...

There's a reason that there is no generally accepted theory for how much children should know about sexual matters, at what ages particular matter should be introduced, and what people are the best instructors.

The reason is that nobody knows. There is no body of empirical evidence that links knowledge or ignorance of this or that sexual fact to long term positive or negative outcomes. Was it sexual ignorance that filled our 19th Century convents and maternity wards? Who knows? Why were the outcomes bad? Who knows? Is it increased sexual knowledge that has lowered birth rates below replacement? Nobody knows.

There are only anecdotes, and people who calculate that their anecdotes can be used to get whatever outcome they desire. We ought to tread carefully in this arena. Sexual knowledge and sexual wisdom are categorically different.

mikee said...

The famous children's tome, Everybody Poops, demonstrates that this post's subject is quite normal. Sort of the obverse of Rule 34, (anything and everything has porn about it online), it is also true that anything and everything has a straightforward explanation of it online (or published).

Joe Smith said...

"“1 sperm + 1 egg = 1 baby,”"

Why wasn't she cancelled by the left?

Clearly it is just a clump of cells...

Josephbleau said...

My favorite Dr Seus book was “Oh! The People you’ll Do!”

I will not F her on a train, I would not D her on a plane,
I do not like big tits and c*t, I will not eat it Sam you runt,
I’m like the bee, I’ve seen enough.

n.n said...

50 shades of grooming.

n.n said...

Janey has two fathers and a womb.

Dick has two mothers and a teste supplement.

Martha has a mother who identifies as her father who identifies as her mother who is pregnant with baby... fetus Joey.

natatomic said...

I liked her book, “It’s Not the Stork.” I gave it to my son when he was 4.5 and I was pregnant with his sister. He could already read, but we read through it together often, and I’d occasionally catch him reading it on his own (along with many other books). It explained the very basic matter-of-fact mechanics of sex, which I felt was appropriate for him.

He’s ten now, and I’m still not going to give him the next book in the series - “It’s Perfectly Normal.” Even with our early sex talks, my son is still naive for his age, and given that he’s still in Tanner Stage 1, he’s showing no signs of puberty just yet. I’m not about to give him a book that explains masturbation, talks about the “pleasure” it brings, and shows a picture of it happening to a young curious boy who might then think, “oh, is this something I should try then?”

You’re only a kid once. We’ll have that talk with him when he starts showing signs of puberty. Maybe he’ll discover the process on his own first. But Im not going to give him a how-to manual before his body even has that impulse awoken.

mikee said...

As to why many parents abdicate their responsibilities regarding sex education for their own kids, a large part of the reason is the many, many adults don't know a damn thing about either sex or reproduction, beyond what they have clumsily managed to accomplish themselves with often equally ignorant partners.

In 30+ years of stories about work over dinner, from my doctor spouse, a recurring theme is that not just the pregnant teens but their parents have no idea how that happened, literally.

n.n said...

Clearly it is just a clump of cells...

Not just, but a carbon deposit, which is a double "burden". Abort because climate change.

JT Neel said...

My youth on a dairy farm taught me that hefiers were bred by a man who drove a very nice truck with stainless steel dry ice chests in the back.

Joe Biden Is Corrupt said...

There is a balance - (Natatonic found it)
I don't want schools forcing young children into they-them BS - trans-confusion - gay sex or sex period.
Let children have their innocence until the time is right for proper understanding.
Parents should be pro-active.

I see a connection between the left's denial that child sex trafficking exists - the left's denial that Biden's open border is a mess with human & sex trafficking, and the willfully ignorant of/ or on board with - the left's open desire to groom young children with age-inappropriate sex.

Joe Biden Is Corrupt said...

Gays Against Groomers.

Many in the gay community are tired of being dragged into the left's child abuse sex cult.
Good.

n.n said...

Gays Against Groomers

Transgenders are not a colot bloc in the diversity taxonomic catalog. Exercising liberal license to indulge diversity [dogma] (e.g. DEI) denies individual dignity, individual conscience, human value, is a hate crime. #HateLovesAbortion