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Wait, What?: A Comic Book Guide to Relationships, Bodies, and Growing Up

Limerence/Oni/. Sept. 2019. 80p. pap. $11.99. ISBN 9781620106594.
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Gr 4 Up–Inclusive, respectful, accurate, and informative—books about sexuality and puberty are held to the highest nonfiction standards. In addition to meeting those marks, this short graphic novel is also forthright and attractive. Expert sex educators Corinna (founder of scarleteen.com and author of S.E.X.: The All-You-Need-To-Know-Sexuality Guide To Get You Through Your Teens and Twenties) and Rotman (You’re So Sexy When You Aren’t Transmitting STIs) are funny but never flippant when answering typical tween questions. Unlike other titles, this text won’t force readers to scour the index for information on masturbation or gender. However, the authors are never confrontational, making room for all points of view. In the chapter on sexual identity, one character says, “I’m so tired of feeling like I have to label myself!” while another avers, “I like having shorthand I can use to describe myself.” The authors also stress the importance of respecting crushes or dating partners, a topic rarely if ever addressed in similar texts. The book closes with advice on finding trusted friends and adults in whom to confide. Cartoon-realistic characters representing a variety of orientations, genders, body types, and interests will validate readers.
VERDICT Research shows that the earlier children learn about consent and body autonomy, the better. All libraries serving middle school and upper elementary school students will want this warm, candid guide.

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