Seven Stories Press

Works of Radical Imagination

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A completely new approach to learning about puberty, sex, and gender for kids 10 and up, You Know, Sex is the much-anticipated third book in the trilogy that started with the award-winning What Makes a Baby and Sex Is a Funny Word

In a bright graphic format featuring four dynamic middle schoolers, You Know, Sex grounds sex education in social justice, covering not only the big three of puberty—hormones, reproduction, and development—but also power, pleasure, and how to be a decent human being. 

Centering young people’s experiences of pressures and joy, risk and reward, and confusion and discovery, there are chapters on body autonomy, disclosure, stigma, harassment, pornography, trauma, masturbation, consent, boundaries and safety in our media-saturated world, puberty and reproduction that includes trans, non-binary, and intersex bodies and experience, and more.

Racially and ethnically diverse, inclusive of cross-disability experience, this is a book for every kind of young person and every kind of family.

You Know, Sex is the first thoroughly modern sex ed book for every body navigating puberty and adolesence, essential for kids, everyone who knows a kid, and anyone who has ever been a kid.
 

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“Representative, inclusive, caring, honest, accurate, and affirming, You Know, Sex is the book that every young person will connect with, and every caring adult wants for the young person in their life... You Know, Sex is what sex education is, can, and should be.”

You Know, Sex is comprehensive, nuanced, and expertly uses guiding questions to facilitate self-exploration around sex, boundaries, relationships, and more.”

You Know, Sex may be the most thoughtful and thorough book I have ever read on the subject of sex.”

“In their third title together, Silverberg and Smyth build on their middle-grade title Sex Is a Funny Word (2015) to explicitly talk about puberty, bodies, gender, and sex for tween and teen audiences. Mimi, Omar, Cooper, and Zai are back and ready for their sex-education class at Jordan Middle School. The creators get their ideas across through descriptive illustrations as well as vignettes that feature the four main characters and others. In what many readers will recognize as their signature approach, they tackle often confusing topics (you know, sex) against a delightfully diverse backdrop of skin tones, body sizes, and abilities in a fun, text-heavy style infused with warmth, humor, and emotional intelligence. The visual representations of changing bodies are especially impactful (labias! hair growth!), as is the inclusion of information about critical topics such as boundaries, consent, and clear communication that are too often left out of sex-ed curricula. In a preliminary note to readers, Silverberg advises that they may need to take breaks given the intensity of some of the material. . . . Dipping into this ambitious work, especially with a caring, trusted adult, may be the best way to digest the multitude of topics covered. A necessary invitation for young people to explore.

“In the Youth Services division of the Brooklyn Public Library, we have an unwritten policy. If we have books on a topic, we can build a program around it. My venture into menstrual advocacy and sexuality education travelled down many different roads to where it has arrived today. Every spring, there would be flustered fathers or determined mothers looking for books on puberty for their daughters. They would use every euphemism before I could decipher what they wanted. Their discomfort inspired me. First, I’d boldly put the books on display behind the reference desk to take out some of the embarrassment. Secondly, came booklists and finally I started offering puberty and sex ed programs for caregivers and for teens. Fun, inclusive, and informative non-fiction books like Cory Silverberg’s books make a daunting topic easier to approach. When the kids and parents see the bright colors and cartoons, they see something non-threatening. However, something as natural as sexuality, physical intimacy, and menstruation shouldn’t be thought of as threatening in general. Out of my sex ed workshops, I developed the teen advocacy program Cycle Alliance to de-stigmatize conversations about menstruation and to tackle period poverty. Sometimes, it takes just one book to launch a whole library movement.”

blog — December 08

Seven Stories Joins Broad Coalition to Condemn Coordinated Political Attack on Books in Schools

We are proud to join over 400 signatories, including 16 fellow publishers, over 50 bookstores, nearly 80 organizations, and over 250 authors, teachers and librarians, to sign the National Coalition Against Censorship's statement against censorship in schools, and in support of historically marginalized students.

Most of the challenged books address topics previously underrepresented in libraries and school curriculums: books that address racism and other forms of discrimination, and those that include positive multicultural representation. While presented as ways to "depoliticize school" or "protect kids" from so-called challenging topics, these book bans are clearly attempts to further stigmatize LGBTQ students and students of color, and to promote nationalism at the expense of education.

As publisher of several books cited as problematic or inappropriate — such as the gender-inclusive sex education books by Cory Silverberg and Fiona Smyth and social justice-oriented picture books by Innosanto Nagara — we strongly condemn these attempts to censor school libraries.

As the National Coalition Against Censorship's statement (see below) concludes: Freedom of expression ensures that we can meet the challenges of a changing world. That freedom is critical for the students who will lead the world in the years ahead. We must fight to defend it. #BooksNotBans

December 8, 2021 New York, NY-- The National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) leads a coalition of over 400 signatories in condemning the coordinated political attack on books in schools playing out across the country. As a staunchly non-partisan organization dedicated to defending students’ right to read for nearly 50 years, NCAC is gravely concerned by the increasing number of school districts allowing the personal viewpoints of some to determine what books all students are allowed to access. 

Policies already exist in most districts to allow individual concerned parents to influence what their own children read. This year, time and again, we have seen those policies ignored and repeatedly violated as books are removed without proper review based on the personal opinions of particular groups of people. We have also seen increasing reports of threats to the livelihood and safety of librarians, teachers, school administrators and school board officials who do not accede to the demands of these would-be censors. No individual or group has the right to impose their beliefs on others. School officials, as government actors, have a First Amendment responsibility to ensure that no particular viewpoint or belief is allowed to dictate what all students can learn and read.

NCAC is joined by over 400 signatories, including nearly 80 organizations, over 50 bookstores and 17 publishers and over 250 individual stakeholders, comprising authors, teachers and librarians.

Full statement and list of signatories available here

A media factsheet is available here

More information on the First Amendment in schools is available here

Guidelines and best practices for book challenge policies are available here

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Raised in the 1970s by a children's librarian and a sex therapist, CORY SILVERBERG grew up to be a sex educator, an author, and queer person who smiles a lot when they talk. Cory received a master's degree in education from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto. Cory is the co-author of four books, including the ALA Stonewall Honor Book Sex Is a Funny Word and What Makes a Baby, both with Fiona Smyth. Cory's life is full of kids. All of them know where babies come from. Some know more.

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Fiona Smyth is a Toronto-based painter, illustrator, and cartoonist. Her first graphic novel, The Never Weres, was published by Annick Press in 2011. Smyth’s comic Cheez was published in Exclaim! magazine for almost ten years, and her comic Fazooza was in Vice for eight years. Somnambulance, a thirty year collection of her comics was published by Koyama Press in 2018. In 2019, she was inducted into the Giants of the North Hall of Fame for Canadian cartoonists. Smyth teaches cartooning at OCAD U in Toronto.