Making a Baby: An Inclusive Guide to How Every Family Begins – Rachel Greener and Clare Owen

Making a Baby: An Inclusive Guide to How Every Family Begins by Rachel Greener and Clare Owen. Dial Books for Young Readers, c2020, 2021. 9780593324851

Rating:  1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5

Format: Hardcover

What did you like about the book? This book factually describes how a baby is made, grows, and is born into a family in an inclusive way. I really appreciated having a model for neutral and descriptive language to use to appropriately describe these concepts to young children. For example, the book states that sex is one way people can make an egg and sperm meet, and goes on to explain “a grown-up with a penis and a grown-up with a vagina can make a baby by having sex, if they want to.” Here gender-neutral terms are used based on their body parts. Other times, “the person growing the baby” is used, which could refer to people of different gender identities as well as different parental roles. The book describes how a baby can be made by someone donating sperm that is then inserted into the person growing the baby, sperm and egg can be collected in a lab and the embryo is then inserted in the person growing the baby, sometimes a surrogate grows the baby, and sometimes a baby or child is adopted. Accurate and child-friendly terms are used to describe the baby growing inside the womb, comparing the fetus or growing baby to different fruits. The description and images of childbirth appear mostly relaxing, showing different people sitting on balls, in pools, standing, or moving, though the text says that “the person growing the baby will start to feel pains in their stomach and back.” A c-section is also described and shown through illustrations. There is a clear tone of love and joy throughout the whole book. At the end of the book are a few additional questions and explanations, about a person’s sex (very briefly describing what intersex and transgender mean), miscarriage, and premature birth. The illustrations include both single and partnered parents with different gender and racial combinations. Additionally, parents are shown holding and carrying their children in different ways (sling, backpack, baby-wearing, stroller, swaddled, carrier, etc.). The illustrations are cartoon-like but realistically detailed. 

Anything you did not like about the book. There could have been more backmatter to point interested readers to further resources.

To whom would you recommend this book? I would give this book to any adult who wants to talk with young kids about how babies are made and born. I would especially recommend it to families who are having babies in less traditional ways, either to talk through with their child once they are born, or to talk with children about future siblings. I would give the book to an older elementary or young middle school-aged child looking for a basic scientific understanding of how a baby is made, though I think this book would be best to read paired with an adult to answer questions and help facilitate conversation. Read-alike with It’s Not the Stork: A Book About Girls, Boys, Babies, Bodies, Families, and Friends or It’s So Amazing: A Book About Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies, and Families (Harris). 

Who should buy this book? Public librarians, families

Where would you shelve it? Nonfiction, or parenting section

Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Sarah Bickel, Greenlodge Elementary School, Dedham Massachusetts

Date of review: July 31, 2021

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