A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Celebrate Your Body (and Its Changes, Too!): The Ultimate Puberty Book for Girls, by Sonia Renee Taylor, is a body-positive guide to puberty for younger tween girls. Covering breasts and bras, below the belly button, menstruation, caring for and fueling your body, family, friendships, and feelings, this age-appropriate guide will help growing readers understand and value their amazing bodies. Terms are defined, concepts explained, and a few diagrams make this educational, while encouraging text emphasizes that all bodies are good bodies, diets are dangerous, and puberty doesn't have to be scary or embarrassing. No content on masturbation, sexual intercourse, or other information about romantic or sexual relationships. Illustrations show girls of many different sizes, shapes, skin colors, hairstyles, and gender expressions engaged in a variety of self-care practices, sports, friendships, etc. Parents can trust this book for accurate information and positive messages for girls ages 8-10. For older girls, check out the follow-up guide, Celebrate Your Body 2: The Ultimate Book for Pre-teen and Teen Girls.
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What's the story?
After a foreword and introduction from the author, which includes a discussion of gender diversity (trans and nonbinary genders), the first chapter of CELEBRATE YOUR BODY (AND ITS CHANGES, TOO!) previews the major aspects of puberty and establishes that though all girls go through puberty, there's no one way or right way to go through it, and no matter how your body grows (fast, slow, big, small, etc.), it's an amazing body. Subsequent chapters maintain the upbeat tone and body-positive focus while elaborating on the preview in Chapter 1. Topics covered include how a girl's body changes, breast development and bra options, parts of girl's genitals, menstruation, self-care (physical and emotional), privacy and consent, and how to navigate friendships and family dynamics. A glossary, resources list, and a reference list provide a jumping off point for more learning and exploration.
Is it any good?
This "ultimate puberty book for girls" is in a league of its own given its body-positive focus. Unlike other puberty books that subtly or overtly suggest that being overweight or fat is bad or unhealthy, Celebrate Your Body (and Its Changes, Too!) takes the position that all bodies are good bodies, and regardless of body size or shape, there are lots of healthy things girls can do to care for their changing and wonderful bodies. Its conversational and upbeat tone is engaging, there's lots clear, science-based information, and girl readers will be able to see themselves reflected in the illustrations, which portray girls of many shapes, sizes, skin colors, hair styles, and gender expressions.
Some gaps exist in this guide, however. The clitoris is labeled in a diagram, but there is no discussion of masturbation or sexual pleasure as a normal part of puberty. Another topic that is missing is romance: there's no discussion of crushes, attraction, and relationships, things that loom large for many entering puberty. These omissions are particularly noteworthy given that this guide's companion book for boys, Growing Up Great! covers all of these important themes. Consent is covered, though it sticks to "touch" in general and doesn't cover inappropriate/illegal sexual touching. Gaps aside, the self-esteem boosting focus of this book and its accurate information do make this a go-to source for girls that avoids the pitfalls of other, older books.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the focus on body positivity in Celebrate Your Body (and Its Changes, Too!). What is your understanding of body positivity? Do you get positive or negative messages (or both) about your body and the bodies of other girls? Do you feel the way you want to feel about your growing body? How can the adults in your life help you feel good about puberty and your body?
How is this book the same and different from other puberty books you've read or information you've learned about puberty at school or elsewhere?
Talk about the suggestions for managing intense feelings and difficult family or friendship issues. Have you tried any of the suggestions? How did they work? What new ideas might you try in the future?
- Author: Sonya Renee Taylor
- Illustrator: Cait Brennan
- Genre: Body Awareness
- Topics: Adventures, Friendship, Great Girl Role Models
- Book type: Non-Fiction
- Publisher: Rockeridge Press
- Publication date: May 29, 2018
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
- Number of pages: 174
- Available on: Paperback, Audiobook (unabridged), Kindle
- Last updated: August 20, 2020
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