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RSE day: Books we love about love

25th June is RSE Day, the annual celebration of Relationships and Sex Education, which educates children and young people about healthy relationships and positive sexual health.

What is RSE?

Relationship and Sex Education (RSE) is learning about the emotional, social and physical aspects of growing up, relationships, sex, human sexuality and sexual health. It should equip children and young people with the information, skills and positive values to have safe, fulfilling relationships, to enjoy their sexuality and to take responsibility for their sexual health and well-being.

Is it only for older teenagers?

No! RSE should be part of lifelong learning for all children, starting early in childhood and continuing throughout life. It should reflect the age and level of the learner. RSE topics for early years children might include: family, friends and learning about their body, all kinds of love, respect, resilience, friendships and kindness.

RSE 2020

This year the theme for RSE day is ‘Books I love about love’. Below are our book recommendations for fiction and non-fiction books – suitable for all children aged 3 to 18. As a parent, carer or teacher you can read some of the stories to your children, or use them as a platform to open a discussion about RSE.

All About Families (age 3+)

All About Families

What do families look like? Who’s in your family? And how can families change? With delightful illustrations, this glorious celebration of family diversity talks about lone-parent families, adoptive, foster, divorced, remarried, and mixed race families, and lots, lots more, showing little children that families come in all shapes and sizes.

All About Friends (age 3+)

All About Friends

Respecting others and having empathy and kindness are skills children need to develop for healthy relationships. All About Friends looks at different types of friendships, and what happens when friends fall out, and make up.

Where Do Babies Come From? (Age 3+)

Where do Babies Come From?

How do you answer this awkward question in an age-appropriate way? Young children can lift the flaps to find out how babies are made, when they are born, what new babies need and how they grow. A charming, age-appropriate introduction to the facts of life to share with young children.

Anisha, Accidental Detective by Serena Patel (age 7+)

Anisha, Accidental Detective

With a big wedding looming for reluctant bridesmaid Anisha, navigating her family has never been more difficult! The last thing they need is for the groom to be kidnapped… Only Anisha can save the day, but luckily she has a best friend to help. A hilarious book that touches on children’s insecurities about the changing shape of families.

The Girl with Space in Her Heart by Lara Williamson (age 9+)

The Girl With Space in Her Heart

A heart-warming, laugh-out-loud story about changing family units. Mabel doesn’t know how to fill the space in her heart that Dad left when he walked out and now Mum has a new boyfriend, so Mabel sets out on a mission of discovery…

Nothing Ever Happens Here by Sarah Hagger Holt (age 9+)

Nothing Ever Happens Here

Families come in all shapes and sizes.  Nothing ever happens in Littlehaven… until Izzy’s dad comes out as Danielle, a trans woman. Izzy is terrified her family will be torn apart. Will she lose her dad? Will her parents break up? And what will people at school say?

Looking After Your Mental Health (age 11+)

Looking after your mental health

Loving and respecting yourself is a big part of RSE. This book covers everything from friendships, social media and bullying to divorce, depression and eating disorders, this is an essential book for young people.

Jemima Small Vs the Universe by Tamsin Winter (age 11+)

Jemima Small Versus the Universe

A brilliantly funny and touching novel that explores bullying, body confidence and, most importantly, learning how to be happy with who you are. The perfect novel for learning to love yourself. Shortlisted for the Waterstones Children's Book Prize 2020.

Places I’ve Cried in Public by Holly Bourne (age 14+)

The Places I've Cried in Public

Holly Bourne is the master of teaching young adults the importance of love, respect and empowerment in a relationship. When Amelia and Reese split up, Amelia begins to realise that love shouldn’t ever hurt, and what real love is AND isn’t.

Birthday by Meredith Russo (age 14+)


Told on one day every year, over six years, this is a story about best friends Eric and Morgan. Former quarterback Morgan feels utterly alone, as she wrestles with the difficult choice to live as her true self. Who better to help than your best friend?

Find more RSE Day resources for parents and teachers on the Sex Education Forum website.

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