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Let’s be honest… talking to your kids about puberty can feel almost as awkward as going through puberty itself.
You may not know what to say, how to say it, or where to draw the line. Thankfully, there are a lot of books out there that make the job easier.
Whether you want a book you can read to educate yourself, that you can read along with your child, or that they can read for themselves, the list below will give you options!
The Care and Keeping of You 1: The Body Book for Younger Girls by Valorie Schaefer
Published by the same people behind the American Girl series, this book is designed to help teach preteens (ages 8-10) about some of the changes their bodies are going through, including period, hormones, emotional changes, and body changes.
It’s written in a very simple, easy-to-understand way and includes fun illustrations that keep readers engaged.
A quick perusal of the reviews does show that some parents were concerned that the book will draw attention to some of the common insecurities that can plague girls as they enter puberty. And that’s a fair concern. It can seem counterproductive to bring up insecurities that perhaps they didn’t have.
However, the reality is that a lot of girls DO struggle with insecurities, so addressing them can be a great way to start a conversation about it. I recommend reading the book alongside your daughters or encouraging them to talk to you about what they read.
The Care and Keeping of You 2: The Body Book for Older Girls by Valorie Schaefer
The second book in this series is geared toward older girls (10 and up) and goes into deeper detail about the physical and emotional changes of puberty, including (but not limited to) periods, the growing body, and personal care (such as hygiene, self-breast exams, using tampons, eating healthy, getting enough rest, etc).
It also talks a lot about relationships, such as friendships, being able to talk to your parents and other trusted adults, and peer pressure.
Celebrate Your Body (and its Changes Too): The Ultimate Puberty Book for Girls
This book talks about puberty from a very body-positive standpoint, focusing more on what the body is capable of rather than what it looks like. For that, it stands apart from a lot of other books about puberty.
Designed to not only educate but to empower, this book approaches puberty as something exciting.
As expected, it dives into the specifics of puberty (including what, when, and when it happens). It discusses things related to social skills, such as withstanding peer pressure, practicing safe social media skills, and choosing friends wisely).
It also provides readers with self-care tips, such as eating healthy, exercises, and developing healthy sleep habits.
Guy Stuff: The Body Book for Boys by Cara Natterson
One thing I love about this book is that right from the beginning, it encourages boys to use what they learn inside as conversation starters with their parents and other trusted adults.
As with the books for girls, it spends a lot of time talking about the physical changes associated with puberty, such as all the hair in new places, growth spurts, and voice changes.
However, it also talks about things like hormone changes, changes in mood, erections, and feelings. It also covers the health aspect by discussing hygiene, nutrition, sleep, and sports safety.
Growing Up Great!: The Ultimate Puberty Book for Boys by Scott Todnem
This book is very similar to another on the list in that it was written to be inclusive and body positive.
The goal is not just to educate boys on the realities of puberty (though it definitely accomplishes that); it’s also to help them get through puberty with confidence.
As with the other books on this list, it covers the physical and emotional changes associated with puberty.
It also goes into depth about coping mechanisms (like creative outlets, exercise, and mindfulness) that help boys deal with strong emotions.
It’s Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health
If you’re looking for something very straightforward and inclusive when it comes to talking about puberty, sex, and sexual health, this book (which is the most recent version of one that’s been around for well over 2 decades) is the go-to for many.
This updated edition expands on LGBTQIA topics, making it inclusive for all readers. It discusses sex, sexual safety, and contraception, with illustrations throughout.
There’s a section on sexual abuse, the importance of consent, and more. It also covers information on how to stay safe online — especially when using social media.
Admittedly, the reviews section shows that the book has people who love it and others who find it highly controversial. For that reason, I recommend reading it first to find out if it’s a good fit for your child.
In fact, I recommend that for all of these books. I hope you find the one(s) that will be good at providing your growing child with the information they need to navigate adolescence with confidence, joy, and safety!
Is there a book you recommend that didn’t make it onto this list? We’d love to hear about it in the comments!