A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Girl Guide is a fun, helpful read about how girls may feel during puberty, but it doesn't aim to be a comprehensive guide to sexual development. It reads like a chatty conversation with your big sister. Author Marawa Ibrahim -- a circus arts performer and hula hoop record-holder -- mines her own experience to help readers embrace puberty with curiosity, confidence, and humor. She helps demystify menstruation, choosing a bra, and increased body hair, shares techniques for soothing physical aches and emotional upset, and coaches on being kind to yourself. The book doesn't explain sexual intercourse, pregnancy, contraception, or STDs. But it does describe the clitoris as "your personal pleasure button" and advises girls to wait until they're older to have sex.
What's the story?
Reading THE GIRL GUIDE is like hanging out in your fabulous big sister's bedroom for a candid "ask me anything" session: It's packed with answers to questions girls may not even think to ask about the ups and downs of growing older. Fifty short chapters take on acne, periods, big butts, hair growth -- and hair removal, crushes, staying fit, bras, eating disorders, and more.
Is it any good?
Performer Marawa Ibrahim offers a friendly helping hand to tween girls entering the intimidating, exciting, and awkward years of puberty, empowering them by sharing insider tips and hard-won wisdom. The Girl Guide dives into some topics in-depth, like the section on menstruation. But most of the time Ibrahim hopscotches all over, bouncing from how to handle inappropriate attention to embarrassing poops, gender identity, fashion, yeast infections, UTIs, and drugs and smoking.
Ibrahim is fiercely feminist and body-positive: "Say it loud and say it proud: Vagina, vagina, vagina" prefaces a two-page illustration of vaginas fashioned out of cut paper. The colorful, creative photography and artwork by Sinem Erkas add delightful (and sometimes funny) touches, like using oranges and balloons to demonstrate breast size and sanitary pads for clouds and surfboards. The result of this collaboration is frank, funny, and sparkling with girl power.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how The Girl Guide promotes positive body image. Do you feel pressure to look a certain way? Does this book help?
How do you feel about the candid tone of this book? How does it compare with more straightforward books on puberty?
Do you have questions about your body or your emotional health that this book didn't help you with? If so, ask a trusted adult for information or advice.
- Author: Marawa Ibrahim
- Illustrator: Sinem Erkas
- Genre: Body Awareness
- Topics: Great Girl Role Models, Middle School
- Book type: Non-Fiction
- Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books
- Publication date: May 1, 2018
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
- Number of pages: 224
- Available on: Paperback, Nook, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: December 11, 2020
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