Seven Stories Press

Works of Radical Imagination

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Winner of the the 2016 Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Non-Fiction

2016 Stonewall Honor for Books in Children’s and Young Adult Literature

American Library Association Reading List 2016

The eagerly anticipated follow up to Lambda-nominated What Makes a Baby, from sex educator Cory Silverberg and artist Fiona Smyth, Sex Is a Funny Word reimagines "sex talk" for the twenty-first century.

A comic book for kids that includes children and families of all makeups, orientations, and gender identities, Sex Is a Funny Word is an essential resource about bodies, gender, and sexuality for children ages 8 to 10 as well as their parents and caregivers. Topics covered include:

• What is sex?
• Privacy, safety, and respect
• Boundaries regarding nudity, talking about sex, and touch
• Assigned sex, gender identity, and gender roles
• Names and functions of body parts
• Talking about the word “sexy”
• Protecting yourself against unwanted sexual touch and abuse
• Crushes, love, and sexy feelings

Much more than the "facts of life" or “the birds and the bees," Sex Is a Funny Word opens up conversations between young people and their caregivers in a way that allows adults to convey their values and beliefs while providing information about boundaries, safety, and joy.

Sex Is a Funny Word is the first sex education book for this age group that is inclusive of lesbian, gay, and bisexual experience as well as gender creative and gender-nonconforming children.

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“Done with great sensitivity, precision and poise ... having access to a book like this could change the life of a lot of kids.”

Sex is a Funny Word is nothing short of revolutionary. Cory Silverberg and Fiona Smyth’s newest book is brilliant in its approach to giving caregivers and educators the tools they need to talk to kids about their bodies.... Though representation of many bodies shouldn’t be revolutionary, most of our media – children’s books included – showcases white, thin bodies in ways that are often ableist, sexist, homophobic, and trans-exclusive. In this way (and many others), Silverberg and Smyth’s contribution to the dialogue is revolutionary: finally young people have a way to see all bodies (including their own body) represented. Yes.”

“Emphasizing the importance of trust, respect, justice, and joy—as well as open communication—it’s a thoughtful and affirming exploration of relationships, gender identity, and growing sexual awareness.”

“You could send your kid to college and graduate school, and years of therapy, to learn how to lovingly come to terms with their gender and sexuality. Or you could simply read this book with them—it's that thorough, and that good.”

“With more emphasis on consent, sexuality and gender identity than ever before, the landscape of sexual education is changing and kids and adults alike may feel left behind. Sex is a Funny Word by Cory Silverberg and Fiona Smyth is here to help.”

“Exciting, enlightening, and innovative, this book addresses timeless questions about sex for a new generation of kids who are increasingly aware of the broad spectrum of gender and sexual identities.”

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 by a children's librarian and a sex therapist, CORY SILVERBERG split the difference and grew up to be a sexuality educator and writer. With an academic background in education and counseling psychology, he has developed and facilitated workshops for hundreds of agencies across North America, working on a range of topics including sexuality and disability, sexual pleasure, and sexual communication. He is the coauthor of The Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability, and since 2005 he has worked as the Sexuality Guide for About.com. In 2012, Silverberg developed a book project—What Makes a Baby—that became the best-funded children's book ever on Kickstarter. He subsequently signed a three-book deal with Seven Stories Press to produce a series of inclusive children's books about gender and sexuality, including Sex Is a Funny Word. Silverberg lives in New York City.

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 Fazooz was in Vice for eight years. In 2019, she was inducted into the Giants of the North Hall of Fame for Canadian cartoonists. Smyth teaches illustration and comics at OCAD U in Toronto.