Discover & explore for grade schoolers: Let’s talk about bodies & puberty

By Children’s Librarian Hal Patnott

Developing accurate and affirming language to name the parts of our bodies and understanding the ways in which bodies change as we age is an important skill for young people to learn. Not only is it a matter of physical health, but it also provides young people with better tools to advocate for themselves and set boundaries.

Unfortunately, in our education about bodies, we are often taught language that excludes transgender and intersex folks in our communities, particularly when we make binary distinctions about what “boys’ bodies” and “girls’ bodies” are supposed to look like.

Starting a conversation about bodies and puberty may feel intimidating and embarrassing, but you don’t have to do it alone! Find some resources to help below.

Read these books

Check out these Discovery Kits

  • Anatomy Kit: Comes with a human anatomy model (head, body/skeleton, or brain/heart) or skeleton puzzle, and Magic School Bus: Inside the Human Body
  • Body Kit: Comes with a doctor bag, life-size skeleton floor puzzle, and The Skeleton Inside You.

And learn more about Discovery Kits below.

Explore these web resources

  • interACT: Learn more about intersex identities through interACT, an advocacy organization for intersex youth. Their website is full of great resources, including videos of intersex folks sharing their stories.
  • The Gender Unicorn: This free tool is great for facilitating creative conversations about bodies, gender, and sex.
  • Every Body Curious: This web series, created and hosted by experts in sexual health education, introduces young people to topics including body image, puberty, and consent.
  • Six Minute Sex Ed: This sex education podcast places a strong emphasis on consent and setting boundaries. The lessons are six minutes and introduce topics like privacy, identifying trusted adults, and puberty. Six Minute Sex Ed is available on both Sound Cloud and Apple.

About Discovery Kits

More than 50 Discovery Kits with play-and-learn activities that encourage kids to explore nature, make art, practice coding, and even learn to play the ukulele are available for checkout at the Main Library.

To check out

  1. Place a hold on a Discovery Kit in the library’s catalog or browse the available kits at the Main Library in the Children’s Services Area.
  2. If you’ve placed a hold, wait until you receive notification that your hold is ready for pickup at the Main Library.
  3. Use the self-checkouts available on all three floors of the Main Library (but not in the lobby) to check out your kit.
  4. Enjoy the kit for up to three weeks!

To return

  1. When you are done with the kit or the due date has arrived, return your kit to the Main Library.
  2. Kits can be returned inside the Main Library vestibule and lobby.
Hal Patnott

About Hal

Hal Patnott is a children’s librarian who specializes in serving LGBTQ+ young people and their allies. He is passionate about identity exploration through collaborative storytelling and imaginative play.

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