Letter to the Editor from Robie H. Harris and Michael Emberley, November 2019


Thank you so much for publishing the wonderful article by Kitty Flynn celebrating this year’s twenty-fifth anniversary of the publication of It’s Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health.

We agree with Flynn that “the language around gender and sexual orientation…has evolved quite a bit” over the last five years. Her wish that “the next new edition of It’s Perfectly Normal would [take] a holistic, beyond-the-male/female-binary approach to the subject matter, beginning with the ‘Who You Are’ chapter” and continuing throughout our book will come true: a brand-new edition will be published in fall 2020. This greatly expanded edition contains more updated text and art than we have ever included before. It also incorporates all the gender language that Flynn referred to in her article.

We have always believed that we have a responsibility to present young people with the most accurate and comprehensive information to help them stay physically and emotionally healthy and safe. We are also in complete agreement with Flynn’s statement that “the more work we do to see and understand our differences” — and we would add “and our commonalities” — “the greater our capacity for empathy and compassion.” These are the very values that underlie our books on sexual health. Our hope is that our books can help young children, kids, and teens foster the values Kitty Flynn has written about in such a clear and compelling way.

Robie H. Harris
New York, New York

Michael Emberley
Greystones, County Wicklow, Ireland

From the November/December 2019 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

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