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The book’s launch in Mumbai was great fun for adults. Manisha Koirala, Boman Irani and Pooja Bedi were there.

How I Got My Belly Button by Anju Kish

How I Got My Belly Button by Anju Kish

A good-natured, informative and age-appropriate sex-ed book for Indian pre-teens, How I Got my Belly Button uses a framing narrative of two 9-year-old siblings (the twins Neal and Kiara) quizzing their very well-prepared parents about life’s mysteries. While there’s no shortage of answers here, curmudgeonly, age-inappropriate readers may leave the book with more questions than they began with.

We wonder, firstly, why it’s being promoted as India’s First Kids’ sex-education book’. A Google search reveals at least 11 precursors from a variety of Indian publishers, notably Tarshi, Zubaan and Menstrupedia. Some passages seem cloyingly coy and quaintly gender-normative (A man and a woman’s body are like two pieces of a jigsaw puzzle’).

That said, we read it after binge-watching Sex Education and Big Mouth on Netflix and all that puberty-com did leave us wondering what kids are streaming these days. And whether Belly Button isn’t really a comforting fairy tale for parents. By all accounts, the book’s launch in Mumbai was great fun for adults. Manisha Koirala, Boman Irani and Pooja Bedi were there. Bellywood.

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