So, here I am. On the brink of puberty. Hormones bouncing around like a popcorn kernel in the spin cycle, pre-acne, noticing the opposite gender…only this time, it’s not me: it’s my daughter. By announcing her “crush” a few months ago, it proves this: transitioning from her previous crush on a fictitious cartoon character to a human, an admittedly adorable British YouTube sensation, I think solidifies that notion. She formulates very specific and direct questions about anything, including this very topic. She’s also matter-of-fact and not at all excitable about the topic, so I have to be very thoughtful about how I talk with her; it’s very easy to speak at an adult level with my child most of the time. How much honesty is too much with a child who is, at times, beyond her years? I had heard really positive feedback from friends of mine who were moms to girls my daughter’s age about this book, so I figured it might be a good starting place. I was happy to find that it was. My friends advised me to read ahead before sitting down with my girl, and I advise the same. It makes is easier to be an “expert” on a topic if you’re not caught off guard by something you weren’t expecting in a chapter, and it lets you decide if your child is ready for that particular portion of the book.
The book is illustrated with colored drawings, which I honestly feel makes a lot of the anatomical discussion more approachable. I mean, those photos can be terrifying! It is also broken down into sections that separate different parts of puberty and the body as well. The first few pages are about taking care of yourself and your hygiene, which is not a sweaty-palm type of conversation. It segues from hair, skin, teeth, ears and such to some body changes (think bras), then discusses differences in body shapes and sizes and nutrition. After that section, it talks about monthly cycles as well as the bikini area, then ends on a less question-earning discussion about sports, fitness and sleep. The book also has sort of a “Dear Abby” bit at the end of each section that may be helpful if your daughter is, for example, wondering why she’s having trouble sleeping because she’s stressed out over things. A question is presented in the form of a letter seeking advice and a thorough response is given with support.
You can find this book on Amazon, linked below, or check your local bookstores to see if they can order it (support local businesses!):