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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Definitions of terms, explanations of ideas, and illustrations related to puberty and boys bodies (what puberty is, body changes, parts of genitals, hormones, etc.). Arousal, masturbation, and intercourse defined and explained briefly.
Puberty doesn't have to be scary or embarrassing. How your body grows is the way that’s right for you. Don't compare your body to other bodies; bodies are just different and that's ok. Respect yourself and others. Exercise and mindfulness helps emotions and the body. Boys have feelings and can to learn to respond to them in healthy ways. Communication is key to healthy relationships.
Positive Role Models
There are not characters in this nonfiction book, but illustrations show boys of various shapes, heights, skin tones and hairstyles, engaging in self-care practices, sports, friendships, etc. Pictures generally do not picture large or fat bodies, and, with the exception of a couple of longhaired boys, there's not a lot of variance in terms of gender presentation.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Growing Up Great! The Ultimate Puberty Book for Boys, by Scott Todnem, is an encouraging guide to puberty for boy tweens. Covering how to care for a changing body, below the belt, feeding and fueling your body, family, friendships, and feelings, this age-appropriate guide will help growing readers understand and respect their body. It defines terms, explains concepts, and is full of illustrations. The conversational text emphasizes that puberty doesn't have to be scary or embarrassing, expressing emotions is healthy, and that you shouldn't compare your body to other bodies because we all grow and develop differently, and that's OK! The book briefly discusses, in an age-appropriate way, arousal, masturbation, sexual intercourse, crushes, and romantic relationships. Illustrations show boys of different shapes, skin colors, and hairstyles engaged in a variety of self-care practices, activities, friendships, etc. Parents can trust this book for accurate information and encouraging messages for boys ages 8-12.
Is It Any Good?
This puberty book for boys is an engaging, funny, and comprehensive guide for tween boys. Unlike other puberty books that focus on body changes, author-educator Scott Todnem takes a whole person approach to physical, emotional, and mental health. Its informal and upbeat tone will pull readers in and there's lots of clear, science-based information. Unlike its companion book for girls (Celebrate Your Body (and Its Changes, Too!)), Celebrate Your Body, Growing Up Great! briefly and age appropriately covers masturbation, sex, crushes, and romantic relationships. Boys will be able to see themselves reflected in the illustrations, which portray boys of many shapes, skin colors, hair styles, and gender expressions.
Areas of concern include no mention of gender identity (trans or nonbinary genders), and the illustrations don't capture the full range of body diversity: There are some "stocky" boys, but none are large or fat. Finally, reproduction is defined as the "act of a man and a woman creating new life," which might cause raised eyebrows in readers with same-gender or single parents who relied on donor sperm/eggs to create a family. But the rest of the book uses inclusive language and generally avoids presuming heterosexuality. Critiques aside, the confidence-boosting focus of this book and its accurate information make this a wonderful go-to source for boys entering puberty.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.