Growing up, I never thought I’d be the mother to three boys. I always imagined having daughters whom I would try to guide through life with grace and thoughtfulness based on my own experiences. While my sons are a delight, there are certain subjects I feel less than perfectly equipped to advise them on. Unsurprisingly, penises is one of those.
So I was super glad to receive a copy of this book and see how the experts deal with the subject! David Hu is a father and a professor of mechanical engineering and biology down at the Georgia Institute of Technology, who was moved to write this kids’ book because of conversations he had about bodies and their maintenance with his own son. The P Word goes over what a penis is, its biological functions in the body’s elimination and reproduction systems, and how to keep it clean and healthy. It’s written in an accessible, matter-of-fact fashion that is scientifically accurate while still being engaging for young readers. Heck, even this older reader learned new things, especially in the comparative biology sections. That said, I liked the parts about keeping the penis clean and safe best, with its considerate advice on urination, hygiene and sports protection. I also deeply appreciated the paragraphs on consent and talking to trusted adults about any concerns. Mr Hu keeps his text shame-free and health (physical, mental and emotional) focused, making this the perfect book to hand to your young penis-haver.
I actually gave this to my twelve year-old, who very emphatically did not want to read this with me but was happy to go over it on his own. This is the same kid who selected a book about periods to read one time, again in privacy, tho he did ask me relevant questions afterwards. And I get it: privacy is important! I’m just happy that I’m able to answer his questions about bodies as a parent, and that The P Word has given us a really good framework for having frank conversations regarding this specific organ.
In keeping with the factual but young-reader-friendly writing, Ilias Arahovitis’ illustrations are colorful and occasionally cute but also scientifically accurate where it’s called for. So yes there are illustrated pictures of penises here, to show readers not only the different biological parts (including internal bits) but also that there’s a range of what normal looks like.
Coinciding with the latest infuriating anti-book legislation in other parts of the country, we’ve partnered with the lovely people at Science Naturally to give away one copy of this book to a lucky winner in the United States (with apologies to readers from other regions.) Fill out this form for your chance to win! No purchase necessary. Giveaway ends August 2 2023 at 12:01 a.m. EST.
The P Word: A Manual For Mammals was published today July 11 2023 by Science Naturally and is available from all good booksellers, including