Book Review: How You Were Born

Recently as a companion to my curriculum order, I also made an order of (mostly) reference type books to be used in our homeschool. I ordered 9 items from my Thrift Books wish list (there are lots more left) and they are arriving in 5 separate packages. I thought that since they will be arriving staggered, it would be an easy time to review them, as they come in. I also cannot recommend Thrift Books enough, I spent about 40 dollars on my entire book haul, and most of the books were listed as very good quality.

The first book to arrive was How You Were Born by Joanna Cole (a savvy reader might note that she is the creator of the Magic School Bus series). I must admit I bought this book sight unseen only because I’ve heard all her books are as good as the Magic School Bus series she created. It was a highly recommended title and I see why.

This book goes from egg and sperm to early childhood giving easy explanations in simple terms for pretty much everything related to being born. The only real issue I have is that she didn’t cover different forms of birth, but cesarean would probably be pretty difficult to explain to a child without scaring them for life. This book is meant for preschool age children, and the explanations reflect that.

One thing that I noted is the casual mention of breast or bottle feeding, which I found to be a nice addition in our very breastfeeding polarized society. I am all for re-normalizing breast-feeding. The entire book is very informative. The print is fairly large, with no huge blocks of text. The photos are labeled with the proper scale of the size a fetus would really be. The only real detractor for me is the extremely dated photography. The photos were taken in the early 90’s so you get lots of examples of horrible 80’s fashion. This isn’t a real problem for anyone but me, my daughter loved looking at the many photos of the babies.

Overall, this book is a solid 4.5, and easily a 5/5 if they had a chance to update the photography to something that will be a bit less dated in a couple of decades. A wonderful tool for introducing accurate birth information to the curious child, while mostly glossing over the difficult or icky bits like sex, labor, and the realities of the gross parts (mostly referring to the difficulties new moms experience after giving birth). It makes birth seem very happy and natural. There is even a section talking about how excited parents prepare for their children. It is a very down to earth and friendly book. It is absolutely a book I would recommend and if you can find it somewhere cheap in good condition, like Thrift Books, it is definitely worth the money (an order over 10 dollars has free shipping, many books are 3-4 dollars).



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