Puberty isn't easy, for kids going through or their parents. But fear not! There is help available for both and Discovery Girls Guide to Growing Up: Everything You Need to Know about Your Changing Body is a comprehensive book that takes away the fear, gives solid information and makes girls feel less alone.
I really liked the advice to girls to "[i]magine yourself as a caterpillar transforming into a beautiful butterfly. And just like no two butterflies are exactly alike, you, too, are one of a kind."
The messages that everyone is different and develops at their own pace and that's okay are hugely important. It's one thing to hear the info from your mom, but another to read about the experiences of many, many girls.
Quickly on the heels of that message comes one about loving your body, as it develops and what it ultimately ends up being. The book explains that "sometimes it seems like every girl or woman would like to change something about her breasts . . . But here's the thing . . . they're just a unique and special as the rest of you. Instead of comparing yourself to someone else, focus on embracing and loving the body you have."
To that I say true, and Amen.
A section on airbrushing and why girls shouldn't compare themselves to celebrity photos is also helpful reinforcement of message that girls should love themselves exactly as they are.
I really liked that the book focuses on making girls feel empowered. I liked the emphasis on knowledge and preparation and also responsibility. When addressing mood swings, the book does not use hormones as an excuse and specifically states that they are not an excuse to take a bad mood out on other people. It also has a running theme of girls doing what's comfortable for them, not what their friends say, be that shaving their legs or other firsts.
In addition to providing emotional support, the book offers practical advice, including how bra color works with shirt color, suggestions like keeping an extra pair of jeans in a locker for period-related accidents and tips for relieving menstrual cramps or managing emotions. It covers acne, body odor, depression, pads vs. tampon. This is a jam packed 147 pages, but it doesn't feel overwhelming.
It's also easy to break down into small, easily digested segments, and doing so gave me opportunities to open up conversations with my daughter. I've mentioned before that she was very open to discussing body issues until around the time she turned 10 and then that open door slammed. Right in my face. It suddenly became awkward and tricky and very different than it was before. (Friendly reminder: talk early, while that door is open.)
My tween and I both read the book. My tween liked it and said she especially appreciated the quotes from girls in similar situations. She liked that the book had lots of illustrations, bright colors and is easy to read. While some of the drawings were a little graphic for her, they were helpful, too.
The book is available online here.
Disclaimer: I was given a copy of the book Discovery Girls Guide to Growing Up: Everything You Need to Know about Your Changing Body to review. I received no compensation and the opinions here are those of mine and my daughter, who will happily tell me just what she thinks of something.
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