The Care and Keeping of You: The Body Book for Younger Girls

Book review by
Darienne Stewart, Common Sense Media
The Care and Keeping of You: The Body Book for Younger Girls Book Poster Image
Helpful American Girl guide for girls starting puberty.

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 8 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Explains breast development, menstruation, hair growth, and other changes that come with puberty. Packed with practical tips: how to shave, use sanitary pads, get gum out of your hair, cope with swimmer's ear, eat healthfully, choose a bra, avoid athlete's foot, get rid of warts, warm up and cool down when you exercise, and much more.

Positive Messages

Focus on what your body can do, not what it looks like. Be kind to yourself and others. Instead of lashing out or isolating yourself when you're angry or unhappy, try to talk it out. Anger can be helpful when it leads to change. There's no reason to be ashamed about your body. Strong emphasis on confidence and being true to yourself. Warns against drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes. Includes some negative messages about appearance, weight and dieting, in the form of questions girls may be asking themselves about their appearance and weight, that could be damaging for young girls. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Depicts girls with a variety of skin shades, hair types, and body shapes cheerfully taking care of themselves and bringing concerns to caring adults.

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Care and Keeping of You: The Body Book for Younger Girls, published by American Girl, is a thorough, practical head-to-toe handbook to help girls handle everyday hygiene and manage the physical and emotional changes of early puberty. Author Valorie Lee Schaefer walks girls through the basics of puberty, including how girls' bodies change, how to choose a bra, and what menstruation is and how to manage it. It also discusses basic self-care from good sleep habits to exercise and nutrition, and discusses issues surrounding body image, including some negative messages about weight and dieting that could be damaging for young girls. Illustrations depict breast development and how to use sanitary pads. The book does not cover sexual activity. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byMommacoo November 21, 2020

Good information

I and my daughter love this book it is very informational but I would not recommend this for younger kids like 8, and younger but I love this and if you love it... Continue reading
Parent of a 10-year-old Written byLushes October 26, 2019


I think it was really good it helped my child threw puberty and talk to me more often I just got her the care and keeping of you 2 and she loves it I definitely... Continue reading
Kid, 9 years old January 27, 2018

Informational book packed with helpful details

This book was really educational and I learned a lot here. I think all girls at least 9 should read this book to get informed about the upcoming (or even alread... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old November 19, 2017

This was really useful for me!

My mom bought me this book when I was eight or nine, and it was super useful. It taught me so much, you know, everything that I needed to know about my body abo... Continue reading

What's the story?

THE CARE AND KEEPING OF YOU: THE BODY BOOK FOR YOUNGER GIRLS is geared toward girls who are nearing -- or just beginning -- puberty. It covers all the basics of self-care, such as keeping hair clean and tangle-free, using sunscreen, cleaning teeth with braces, coping with acne, pampering blisters, and treating a sprain. One chapter focuses on changes in the pubic area and getting your period: what it is, what to do when it first begins, how to choose supplies and how to use them, and how to deal with PMS. The final chapter offers advice on navigating emotional ups and downs and maintaining good relationships.

Is it any good?

This empowering self-care manual is targeted to young girls who are on the brink of growing up -- and trying to figure out how to embrace these major changes with competence and confidence. Valorie Lee Schaeffer's mostly positive language and Josee Masse's cheerful illustrations help strip away self-consciousness children might have about discussing puberty or personal hygiene. It is important to note that while informative, this book does include some negative messages about body image and dieting that could be damaging for young girls.

Schaeffer offers tons of practical tips for solving problems girls might not even think to ask their parents about. She also urges girls to ask trusted adults for help and more information; parents may want to preview the book before handing over to kids, and then check in and make themselves available for questions. Older girls -- or girls who've already begun their period -- may appreciate the companion book, The Care and Keeping of You 2: The Body Book for Older Girls.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about body image and confidence in The Care and Keeping of You: The Body Book for Younger Girls. Are you happy with the way your body is changing? What messages in this book were most helpful to you?

  • This book gives a lot of attention to girls' concerns about body image. Do you think there's an ideal body type? Do you compare yourself to other girls, or models, or actresses?

  • Do you have questions this book didn't answer? If so, ask a trusted adult.

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love coming-of-age stories and strong girls

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