Katharina von der Gathen was born in 1972. She works in the area of sex education with children and adolescents from a wide range of backgrounds. She lives in Bonn with her husband and four children. Anke Kuhl, born in 1970, is one of Germany's leading children's book illustrators, whose awards include the German Youth Literature Award in 2011. She lives in Frankfurt with her husband and two children.
As the subtitle indicates, this German import answers a whole host of questions kids curious about sex want the answers to. There are 99 in all, covering anatomy, puberty, reproduction, sexual and gender identity, and, of course, sex. The book opens vertically, with the page below the gutter displaying both the handwritten question and a cartoon drawing, frequently humorous. The second question, 'Are there different penises, ' is illustrated with a double lineup of 10 unengorged penises complete with hair and scrota, some circumcised, some not, all verifiably different. Its placement so early in the book ensures readers know what they're getting into in terms of both tone and frankness. Sex educator von der Gathen's answers appear on the flip side; all employ appropriate vocabulary that's respectful of the capabilities of their audience and are calmly inclusive of variations in human and cultural experience. While the book early on establishes the fact that there are 'people who identify as a different gender than the one they are born with, ' it often uses gendered language to describe experiences: 'Girls get their periods for the first time and boys have their first ejaculation' during puberty, for instance. When discussing sexual intimacy, the importance of consent is ever present. Kuhl's cartoons depict adults and children of different racial presentations and include several same-sex couples. Funny and frank, this will be an important resource for many kids. --Kirkus Reviews --Journal