Puberty can be an awkward time not only for adolescents but also for the adults who care about them. It can sometimes be uncomfortable to step in and help adolescents take care of their changing bodies. The good news is you do not have to do it alone. Many books and resources can aid you in supporting your child or students through this time. Here are some books and resources I recommend for both girls and boys.
American Girl, creators of the popular American Girl dolls, publishes many popular books for tween and teen girls, including The Care and Keeping of You series. These books have information on anything you can think of, from bad breath to periods. The Care and Keeping of You 1 by Valerie Schaefer is for younger girls, while The Care and Keeping of You 2 by Cara Natterson is for older girls. The American Girl website has games related to each book. Check out the interview with the doctor who wrote the second book about how parents can help their daughters through puberty.
My Body, My Self for Girls by Lynda Madaras and Area Madaras is chock-full of information about everything girls need to know about their changing bodies. Quizzes, journal pages, and activities throughout the book make it interactive. Search for the book on the Amazon or Google Books websites to see sample pages and a table of contents.
HelloFlo was created by CEO Naama Bloom to help girls and women everywhere get access to personal care information and products. HelloFlo sells period starter kits featuring products from Always, a maxi pad company, which are essentially first-period care packages. The site also has videos, a blog, a store for girls and women, and a place to ask questions of a doctor. One of the Q&A posts is titled “When’s the best time to talk to my child about puberty?”
My Body, My Self for Boys by Lynda Madaras and Area Madaras is loaded with information about everything boys need to know about their changing bodies. As with the partner book for girls, the book engages readers with interactive quizzes, journal pages, and activities. Search for this title on the Amazon or Google Books websites to see sample pages and a table of contents.
The Boy’s Body Book: Everything You Need to Know for Growing Up You by Kelli Dunham, R.N., goes beyond just puberty and covers topics such as friendship, divorce, cyber safety, and more. View sample pages and a table of contents on Amazon.
Puberty & Hygiene
Check out these resources that are not gender-specific.
The PBS Kids—It’s My Life website/video series covers a number of topics related to preteens and teens. The Puberty: A Whole Lotta Changin’ Goin’ On section has information for both boys and girls as well as some general information about zits, body odor, brain development, and more.
KidsHealth: All About Puberty is another great Web resource for general information about puberty, along with an option to hear whole articles read aloud. More in-depth information for boys and girls is hyperlinked in a single “More on This Topic” sidebar, so subjects like shaving and menstruation are listed together, giving readers a chance to learn more about the opposite sex.
No B.O.! The Head-to-Toe Book of Hygiene for Preteens by Marguerite Crump (eBook) is recommended for upper elementary and middle school students, parents, and educators. It is a comprehensive guide for the many body changes that tweens and teens experience. This book is very kid-friendly and has fun facts and illustrations related to the topics.
In addition to these resources, I recommend reaching out to school or health professionals if you are seeking additional information. You can also contact your child’s school to learn in which grades they will discuss puberty and changing body-related health material. By knowing ahead of time when puberty and other topics are discussed, you can prepare yourself for conversations with your child.
What puberty resources do you recommend to parents or educators?
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I pen a blog on WordPress called TeenWorldConfidential. We provide medically-accurate, honest, and non-judgmental information for parents and other adults who care about adolescent sexual health. Because the young people we care for might think we don’t know anything about sex (we ARE old, you know…at least over 20!), we present factual information about all topics. The kids will know you are well-informed and will (maybe?) think you are supercool because you know all this stuff. (Or they may wonder just what exactly it is you do all day while they are at school….) It’s not always easy being a parent, but we hope to make this important conversation a little easier.