cover of What's in there by Robie H Harris

What’s In There? All about before you were born: Book Review

Book Review:  A  book for children that explains pregnancy.

Book Review

What's In There? All about before you were born is written by Robie H. Harris and illustrated by Nadine Bernard Westcott and talks about pregnancy, and how a baby develops and is born.

There is no mention of how babies are made (sexual intercourse). At this age, most kids aren't interested in the details of how they are made. The fact that it takes a male and a female is usually enough information.

This is the third in a series of sexuality books for children in the early years. The previous two looked at families & our bodies.

Please note that this article contains affiliate links. You can read my full disclosure here.

What's in There? All about before you were born talks about:

  • that every minute and day, new babies begin to grow all over the world
  • new babies grow inside a special place in a woman - uterus
  • a new baby starts as one tiny cell - half comes from a woman's body and the other half from a man's body
  • the new baby starts off very small and gradually grows bigger
  • the stages that the baby goes through in it's growth
  • how the baby is fed whilst it is growing inside
  • the woman's uterus grows and stretches to make room for the growing baby
  • how the baby is born - vagina or caesearian
  • brand new babies can do a lot of things - cry, burp, feed, etc
  • sometimes babies can be twins, or triplets or more
  • babies are born  into or adopted into their family

Reading Tips

Make sure you have a look at the book first (before you read it to your child)! That way you will know what to expect.  You can find some tips in this article on how to read 'sex ed' books.

There is no mention of sex in this book. When kids first become curious about babies and pregnancy, they aren't actually wanting to know about sex - they are just wanting really basic information about the topic.

This book is a picture book but it is very wordy. You may have to  summarise the text on some pages, as it is very comprehensive. Most 3 year olds would not have the attention span to sit through a 'start to end' read of this book.

Is your child old enough to  hear about pregnancy and where babies come from? Yes, they are, and this is a lovely book to start with. This book is very age-appropriate  as it does not talk about sexual intercourse.

When young kids first start asking about where they come from, it isn't sex that they are asking about. They just want to know that they grew inside your tummy (or someone else's). You can add in the details as they get older and become more interested in the details.

What's in There? All about before you were born by Robie H. Harris is a great first book that will satisfy your child's curiosity about where they come from! It talks about conception very briefly but with enough detail to satisfy a young child's curiosity. It provides a lot of information about how the baby develops and what the baby does whilst it is inside growing. It answers all the questions that kids have about this  great mystery of life.

So, do make sure that you go and have a look at What's in There? All about before you were born. It is one of my favourite books on pregnancy for young children to read. It is one that my kids have  really enjoyed too!

Ideal ages

What's in There? All about before you were born is ideal for children between the ages of 3 - 8 years of age.

Buy a copy

You can find a copy of What's in There? All about before you were born at Amazon or Book Depository.

You can find more books like this in my extensive list of Sex Education Books for Children.

Video book review


My mission is to create resources that will help you to naturally talk to your kids about sex, all while respecting your personal values.

Which means that inside this website, you'll find lots of resources to help you with talking to your child about love, sex, relationships and growing up.

My Sex Education 101 page includes all of the information on sex education. You'll find lots of different blogposts to help with getting started, on a wide range of different topics.

My Puberty 101 page includes all of the information on puberty. You'll find lots of different blogposts to help with talking to your child about growing up.

You'll find videos about sex ed in my Sex Education Videos resource page that you can watch with your child or to learn more about sex education yourself.

You’ll also find an extensive range of sex education books for children, for kids of all ages. There's even some books in there for parents! 

If you're looking for some ideas on how to talk to your child about bodies, How to Talk to Kids About Bodies, will help you to start naming the private body parts and to have shame-free conversations with them about bodies. It is filled with lots of different ideas on how to have natural converasations with your child about their body. 

You'll also find some child friendly anatomically-correct cartoon illustrations of the genitals and internal reproductive organs that are appropriate for children from the age of 3 and up. Let's Look at Different Body Parts is a printable that will help take the awkward out of talking to your child about their body, so they grow up feeling educated, confident, and comfortable in their own skin.

If you're worried that talking to your child about bodies might lead to questions about sex, then you can relax. How to Talk to Kids About Sex, will help you to explain sexual intercourse to your child in a way they will understand. It breaks sex down into simple steps that  take the stress out of explaining!

If you want a printed book to hold in your hands, then the  The Sex Education Answer Book will give you age-specific answers to the most common questions kid's ask parents about sex. Which means you don't need to worry about finding a child-friendly explanation that your child understands. 

If you want the answers to questions about a lot more than just sex, then Sex Ed Quickies is your best option. It has answers to 300+ questions  that kids commonly ask parents,  including how babies are made, sexual intercourse, body parts, puberty, relationships, pregnancy, birth, masturbation, sexual diversity, gender, pornography, STIs, contraception and much more.

About the Author Cath Hakanson

I'm Cath, a sex educator living in Australia with my husband and 2 kids. I help parents to talk about sex (with less cringe and more confidence) and empower their child to make smart sexual decisions. To find a better way to talk about sex, you can join my community of parents and visit my shop for helpful resources.

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