I love having a daughter. Her bright, energetic, and (yes) sometimes emotional personality is such a treat to have in our home. We’ve had a very open relationship so far, which I am very grateful for, and now she’s creeping up on the age where we’re going to start talking about how her body is changing. Let’s face it, she’ll be a (gulp) teenager soon. Even though I know she’s comfortable asking me pretty much anything, there’s only so much my words can communicate to her. She’s going to need pictures, and for that I’m turning to some of my trusted books about puberty for girls.
Liz and I laughed while we were reminiscing about the books we read when we were kids — anyone remember Our Bodies, Ourselves? Let’s be honest — this subject can be awkward and thrilling and downright complicated for girls, but we think there are some great, practical books that can help them understand their changing bodies in a way that’s helpful for you both.
For girls who are in the 2nd or 3rd grade, I think The Care and Keeping of You: The Body Book for Girls by Valorie Schaefer and Josee Masse for American Girl (also at top) is a great intro to what’s going to be happening with their bodies — if it hasn’t already started. It’s basic growing-up info focused on self care, all with that friendly American Girl feel to it. If this one is a hit with your daughter, know that they also have a second edition for older girls by Cara Natterson that gets into a few more details about puberty.
While My Body by Antje Helms isn’t specifically a book for girls or specifically a book about puberty, it’s a great scientific look at the body — including the reproductive system for both boys and girls. It’s a fully illustrated book with detailed pictures about the internal workings of our bodies — more about ovaries and fallopian tubes than breasts and pubic hair. It’s a great one to look at with your child, because there isn’t a lot of written narrative with the images. I like that it shows what’s happening from a scientific perspective and think it’s great for really practical kids or kids who haven’t yet quite hit the puberty stage.
While it’s a few years old, we still think The Period Book by Karen and Jennifer Gravelle and illustrated by Debbie Palen is a great read for parents who want their girls to feel empowered and in charge of their bodies. This one is fully — and we mean fully — illustrated to show girls what really happens to their bodies during puberty. It will encourage them to not be embarrassed about the change but to own it — even the awkward, embarrassing parts. It answers all their questions in a straightforward way, but with a sense of confidence and cool we didn’t get from some of the books we read as kids.