Bi Bookshelf: What Makes a Baby?

BCN 116 cover

This originally appeared in BCN issue 116, December 2012

Book review: What Makes a Baby
By Cory Silverberg and illustrated by Fiona Smyth

A friend told me about the book “What Makes a Baby” written by Cory Silverberg and illustrated by Fiona Smyth.

It wasn’t out yet: it was a project using “Kickstarter”: an online way of pledging money to a new project to get it started. It sounded like a really good idea to me: a book that answers the general question “Where do babies come from?” for all babies and that leaves space for caring adults to talk to a child about the child’s own personal story of conception and birth.

The project got plenty of backers, including me, and the book is now available for sale from: The author is working on further books for older kids. This one is aimed from pre-school to around eight years old.

I was impressed when my copies arrived. The book illustrates that you need a sperm and an egg, represented as containing stories, and a uterus for the baby to grow in. What is special about this book is that is says that some bodies have sperm, some do not – illustrated with brightly coloured human figures, and the same for eggs and the same for a uterus. It makes no assumptions of what gender such a body might be or what sort of relationship the people who make a baby might be in.

A couple of pages talk simply about a couple of ways of childbirth and then the book asks who was waiting and looking forward to you, the reader, being born. Here’s a space to add the specifics about the child reading or being read to.

Details of the illustration lead to me spotting different shapes of family in the park – different ages, some visible disabilities, different hairstyles that could be read as likely to be from different ethnicities.

I’ve shown the book to some children and their carers and it went down well. I recommend it and look forward to future books from the same author and illustrator.

    Grant Denkinson


What Makes a Baby on