WASHINGTON, PA (Nov. 20, 2020) – When Mary Jo Podgurski’s book “Sex Ed is in Session” launched in March 2020 – a week before a statewide shutdown to prevent the spread of Coronavirus – a book tour and other launch events went by the wayside. But instead of hurting sales, that situation created new opportunities to expand on the book’s offerings.
“Sex Ed is in Session” will be re-released as a hard cover book at the end of November, and will include a new learning guide for parents and be accompanied by a podcast series. The book covers topics like sexuality and gender, death, and other tough topics, and each chapter includes steps parents can take to keep communication going.
“The whole gist of this book is to help parents talk about challenging topics,” said Podgurski, President and Founder of the Academy for Adolescent Health, Inc. and an adjunct professor at Washington & Jefferson College. “This book is a guide to give parents the right words, not just about sexuality, but about the challenging stuff in life.”
A successful pre-sale campaign helped the book hit number-one on Amazon for education titles on the day it was launched in March, and to date most sales have been online. Its focus on parents is a different direction from her book series, the “Nonnie” books, which cover similar topics – including gender, race, trauma, disability, sex, and death – but are written for children and teens. The eleventh book in that series, “Nonnie Talks About Relationships,” was released in October 2020; the final book in the series, “Nonnie Talks About Mental Health,” is in the works.
Podgurski, whose background is in nursing, education, and counseling, said she wrote the Nonnie books because she saw a need for them, just as she sees a need for a parent-focused volume.
“Not everyone grows up in a household where parents and children communicate well,” she said. “The ‘Session’ book is almost just like me talking to parents but it’s fun, I think. I really do believe it’s a necessary book. Sometimes parents don’t know they need this but they do. It always touches my heart in a bittersweet way when teens open up to me, but if it was really common for teens and parents to talk this way then they wouldn’t need to rely on me this way.”
Of course, Podgurski said, many parents and children do communicate well, but at times it can still be difficult to know what to say or how to start a conversation about a challenging topic. She hopes the book will give encouragement to parents.
“Young people are worthy and they have wisdom and I learn from them,” she said. “I want parents to know that young people hear them and pay attention to them. Every child needs somebody in their lives who’s just crazy about them. There has to be someone who loves you unconditionally. I believe that parents are the best role models and the best educators for kids.”
About Washington & Jefferson College
Washington & Jefferson College, located in Washington, Pa., is a selective liberal arts college founded in 1781. Committed to providing each of its students with the highest-quality undergraduate education available, W&J offers a traditional arts and sciences curriculum emphasizing interdisciplinary study and independent study work. For more information about W&J, visit www.washjeff.edu, or call 888-W-AND-JAY.