"I wanted my kids to stay healthy, so I had to give them accurate information," said Robie H. Harris (1940-2024), whose training and deep interest in child development - and experience as a parent - made her realize how difficult but necessary it is to answer kids' questions about sex. Consultations with other parents, kids, educators, doctors, psychologists, and scientists confirmed the critical need for books like It's Perfectly Normal, It's So Amazing!, and It's Not The Stork!, all illustrated by Michael Emberley. Used as trusted resources around the world, these definitive books - known collectively as The Family Library - answer kids' questions about sex and sexual health in a manner that assures even the most squeamish reader that "it's perfectly normal."
Robie H. Harris used her expertise in child development in numerous picture books as well. About Happy Birth Day!, illustrated by Michael Emberley, she said, "This is a story my children asked me to tell them over and over again when they were young. I think they loved hearing about all the things they could do on the day they were born." Hi New Baby!, also illustrated by Michael Emberley, was another book inspired by her own children. "When my older child met his new baby brother, he was full of feelings - excitement and disappointment when he finally saw the baby, surprise that the new baby was so tiny, upset when the baby cried, bored when the baby slept, angry that he was no longer the baby, and proud when he realized that he could make the baby stop crying."
Robie H. Harris tackled a common bugaboo faced by parents and children in Don't Forget to Come Back!, illustrated by New Yorker cartoonist Harry Bliss. The all-too-familiar tale wisely and wittily captures the many emotions children face when parents go out - and a babysitter comes in.
In more recent years, Robie H. Harris authored a series of books known as the Let's Talk About You and Me series, providing easy-to-understand facts and answers to kids' delightful, thoughtful, and often nonstop questions. Illustrated by Nadine Bernard Westcott, these include Who Has What? All About Girls' Bodies and Boys' Bodies; Who's in My Family? All About Our Families; and What's in There? All About Before You Were Born.
In addition to being an award-winning author, Robie H. Harris was a popular speaker around the country. A graduate of Wheaton College and the Bank Street College of Education, Robie H. Harris had plenty of hands-on experience working with kids, including as director of an early childhood after-school program and as a teacher. She also co-produced and directed Child's Eye View, a film on the daily life of children in Hell's Kitchen, and had professional affiliations too numerous to count.