A small child asks Grandma what sex is and gets a wise response.
Higginbotham follows titles on death and divorce with a refreshingly different take on a child’s sex question. A speech-bubble conversation, occasionally interrupted by eating and play, accompanies narrative answers, stated simply but directly and stressing the child’s right to be curious. This is not a biology lesson or physical description; it’s ethical and emotional. “Sex is private.” It includes motion and feelings that grow and change as a child grows up. With whom and how “belongs to no one else but you.” The child reiterates the lesson: what’s most important is the personal choice: “I am the one-and-only, top-boss, in-charge decider about sex in my life for my whole life.” Set on kraft paper, the collage illustrations have been assembled from a variety of materials including magazine pictures and photographs. The pair are black: the child has a reddish Afro and Grandma sports beaded hair (and very cool shoes). Images of Grandma’s row-house neighborhood and comfortable apartment, decorated with religious images and looking out on trees, tell readers more about their world. Several pictures reinforce the final message that the internet is not a good place to find answers to this question; ask a savvy grown-up instead.
With its strong message about sexual assault, this is a necessary addition to sex-education collections. (Picture book. 4-9)