A Cornish father has created two picture books to help children’ understand their genitals and open up conversations with under-10s about their privates.
Alex Waldron, from Mevagissey in Cornwall, published That’s My Willy and What’s Down There?, the first two books in Fred & Woody’s Fantastic Series.
The books are available through all online stockists and Alex says he hoped the books will help add humour and honesty in a sensitive subject and help families engage in open dialogue about our bodies.
Alex said: “I wrote the books as a bit of fun for my kids really, a keepsake, I’ve got two little boys and a bit of a creative itch that I like to scratch. Coming from a design background I just started drawing these funny little stories based around their characters.”
“My wife and I run a nursery called The Snug near St Austell and the more I talked about it with her I thought it was actually quite a good opportunity to deal with subjects that parents find it difficult to talk about with their kids.”
“The first book I wrote was about willies, I’ve got two little boys who, as most boys and men are, are obsessed with their willies so I just thought it would be a really good way of drawing a fun book that talks about the appropriateness of where you can play with it, where you can explore yourself, how to look after themselves and it’s just spiralled from there really.”
“It’s been about three years ticking away in my head and then it’s the last couple of years that I’ve been drawing it and perfecting it and it’s in the last six months that I’ve come up with a final product. I’ve always told my boys silly stories in bed and I just thought it would be really nice to get it down on paper and that’s escalated.”
Discussing the books’ content, Alex says that there has been some criticism levelled at What’s Down There with several people complaining that the vagina hasn’t been given a title.
Alex said: “The first one was That’s My Willy dealing with safeguarding issues, where it’s appropriate for the boys to explore themselves, how to look after themselves, keeping them safe, keeping them clean and keeping them healthy. Then when I finished that book publishers came to me and said they’d really like a girls’ book as well which I was a bit nervous about as I don’t have any girls but I worked with a consultant down here called Mandy Lancaster. We discussed the main issue with girls at the moment, as well as all the other things that I talked about with the boys’ book, the main issue being that we don’t know what to call it (the vagina) as a society really.”
“Everyone’s got their own family names for girls’ genitals, they call it a foof or a flower and we actually thought as a way of safeguarding these kids in the future it’s actually really important for those kids to know what their genitals are called from the start. ”
“There was a bit of confusion over why we haven’t used the name of the girls’ parts in the title like we did with the boys, basically it is because there’s not really a girl equivalent to willy and the whole reason for What’s Down There is to address the mystery behind what we call it, to get people talking about it and make sure these kids are learning properly what their parts are called.”
Alex has already written a couple of other books dealing with sexuality and relationships and how to discuss bereavement with kids.