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Today’s Jenna Bush Hager Thanks ‘The Summer I Turned Pretty’ for Helping Teach Daughter About Sex

Todays Jenna Bush Hager Thanks The Summer I Turned Pretty for Helping Teach Daughter About Sex
Jenna Bush Hager and daughter Mila. Today Show/YouTube

Jenna Bush Hager has author Jenny Han to thank when it comes to navigating mature topics with her 10-year-old daughter, Mila.

“I feel like conversations about sex have changed so much since we were little,” Bush Hager, 42, told cohost Hoda Kotb on the Thursday, March 28, episode of Today With Hoda and Jenna. “And, you know, Mila’s in fifth grade, and one of the things that people have been surprised about is I let her read this book series called The Summer I Turned Pretty by my queen, Jenny Han, who is an incredible writer for young adults.”

In response to feedback that Mila is too young to read the teen book series, Bush Hager stated, “I would so much rather my kids learn about sex or drinking or whatever it is through books than through YouTube. I would so much rather my kids read something and get to come to their mom’s bedside and say, ‘Hey, mom. I didn’t quite get this,’ and me be able to help lead the conversation than her having influencers do that for her.”

Along with Mila, Bush Hager shares daughter Poppy, 8, and son Hal, 4, with her husband, Henry Hager. As a mother of two daughters herself, Kotb, 59, praised her cohost’s parenting choice.

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“For everybody who’s worried about books and banning books and all that stuff, your children are getting a million times more stuff that you might deem as inappropriate [on the internet],” said Kotb, who coparents Haley, 7, and Hope, 4, with ex-fiancé Joel Schiffman. “And the fact that a child is actually reading, like, wants to read something [is great].”

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Bush Hager went on to explain that depictions of sex and drinking in the books have sparked a conversation about consent with Mila. “The thing I say to her is, ‘You are the chooser. If something doesn’t feel right to you, don’t do it,’” she shared.

Todays Jenna Bush Hager Thanks The Summer I Turned Pretty for Helping Teach Daughter About Sex
Lola Tung (Belly), Christopher Briney (Conrad) Erika Doss/Prime Video

She subsequently gave Han, 43, a special shout-out, stating, “Thank you, Janny Han, for guiding my sex talks.”

The Summer I Turned Pretty book series follows teenage protagonist Isabel “Belly” Conklin as she comes of age and navigates a love triangle with family friends Conrad and Jeremiah Fisher. The trio of novels was adapted into a Prime Video series starring Lola Tung, Christopher Briney and Gavin Casalegno as Belly, Conrad and Jeremiah, respectively.

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Season 2 of the series, which premiered in July 2023, featured a scene in which Belly loses her virginity to Conrad during a romantic night alone at his family’s Cousins Beach home. In an interview with Variety that same month, Tung, 21, opened up about feeling “very safe” on set while filming the intimate scene.

Todays Jenna Bush Hager Thanks The Summer I Turned Pretty for Helping Teach Daughter About Sex
Courtesy of Jenna Bush Hager/Instagram

“They were trying to do everything that they could to make us feel safe and make it as easy as possible for us to do our jobs,” she told the outlet. “I feel very grateful that we were able to check in with each other and to bring the scene to life in a really beautiful way.”

Tung believed Belly’s decision to lose her virginity felt right in terms of her relationship progression with Conrad. “They both have a lot of love for each other, and they feel safe together too,” she stated. “So it’s familiar, and it’s comfortable, but also new and exciting for them.”

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