It can be one of the toughest topics for parents and guardians to discuss with their children (and one of the most embarrassing), but it is also one of the most important- the onset of puberty.
Below are some puberty education books for children which might make the task that little bit easier…
Secret Girls’ Business – Fay Angelo, Heather Anderson & Rose Stewart (Illustrated by Julie Davey)
If you’re looking for a very simple introduction for young girls about puberty, then you need look no further than this thin pink book. Providing just enough detail for girls aged 7 and up (although not too much- that comes in the sequel More Secret Girls’ Business), this book explains all about the changes that girls’ bodies undergo, as well as about breasts, periods and sanitary products. Rather than use technical details about hormones, this book gives a basic overview of what happens, so that girls are not caught completely unawares by what is happening to them, but aren’t thrown by too much information. Featuring cartoon drawings and simple language, this book aims to provide a general idea about puberty, rather than an in-depth analysis, and delivers a good opening to the topic. There are also a few hints pages at the back for parents, teachers and carers (as well as a special hints section just for dads), so that adults can easily approach the topic with the growing young females in their lives.
Rating: 3/5 Published: May 2004
Secret Boys’ Business – Rose Stewart, Fay Angelo & Heather Anderson (Illustrated by Jeff Taylor)
Like its girl version counterpart, Secret Boys’ Business is only a thin book, but it provides a wealth of information for young boys about to hit puberty. Aimed at boys aged from about 8 years and up, this book covers all of the physical and emotional changes that they will undergo as they get older. However, unlike the girl version, this book focuses much more on the facts involved in puberty, giving slightly more information about the various body parts and their functions. It also has quite a strong focus on moods, self-esteem and confidence, but the authors manage to get their message across without sounding too preachy or overly sensitive. With cartoon illustrations and easy-to-understand language, young boys will appreciate this informative book, as will adults (who once again are provided with various hints and tips at the end of the book).
Rating: 3/5 Published: August 2011
What’s Happening To Me? [Boys] – Usborne
Growing up has its challenges, but as with anything, having knowledge about what is happening can make all the difference. In this book, produced by UK publishers Usborne, boys are given an insightful guide into the changes they will face as they hit puberty. Using easy-to-understand language, and appealing illustrations, this book begins with information about physical changes and leads through to some of the more technical information (such as hormones and genital functions). It details what can be expected and covers any concerns that young boys might have about their changing bodies. Good nutrition, exercise and hygiene are also covered in this book, as well as an informative section on the changes girls go through (so that boys don’t have a one-sided knowledge about what happens). There is also a little bit towards the end of the book about peer pressure, sexuality, and harmful substances, covering topics that, while not directly linked to puberty, are still likely to crop up during this time. This book is informative, covers a wide range of relevant topics and would make a great addition to any household which is about to go through the onslaught of puberty.
Rating: 4/5 Published: February 2007
“What’s Happening To Me?” – Peter Mayle (Illustrated by Arthur Robins)
You’ve probably seen (and maybe even used) the classic children’s’ book, “Where Did I Come From?”, so it should be no surprise that the author of that informative icon has also released a guide to puberty. Created in a similar style to its predecessor, this book covers some of the tricky questions involved in puberty, using humorous illustrations and plenty of honesty. Rather than split the information into girl/boy categories, the questions are asked and answered so that the knowledge is shared. This book doesn’t give a full explanation of everything that happens during puberty- it merely covers some of the questions that boys and girls might have- but it is a good guide for parents who don’t really want to deal with some of the more embarrassing questions they might face.
Rating: 3/5 Published: February 1988
Puberty Boy – Geoff Price
Featuring real-life anecdotes from men and boys, this puberty book differs slightly from the others, as it provides a more personalised view on the changes that males face as they grow older. While the information covered is basically the same (physical, psychological and emotional changes in the body), this book- which was written by a man who runs wilderness camps and who is a representative for men’s health and wellbeing- also focuses strongly on healthy attitudes, responsibility and sensitivity. This book is illustrated with diagrams and cartoon drawings, and features photographs of boys from various cultural backgrounds, highlighting the fact that although everybody looks physically different, they are all going through the same changes. Providing a wealth of information, Puberty Boy is probably the pick of the lot when it comes to finding the perfect puberty-based information book for boys.
Rating: 4/5 Published: October 2005
Puberty Girl – Shushann Movsessian
This book had the potential to be just as good as it’s boy counterpart but unfortunately it was let down by the author’s insistence on ‘relating’ to her readers. She uses (sometimes dated) language to try and communicate with her pre-teen audience but too many attempts at ‘teenager’ speak make it feel tedious to read. This particular writing style is not to my taste but some girls may appreciate it. That said, Puberty Girl, does contain a wealth of information regarding the maturity of the female body, ideals of beauty, and healthy living. This book also contains personal anecdotes, cartoon illustrations, diagrams and photographs, and, while it isn’t the best puberty book around for girls, they are sure to glean plenty of information from its pages.
Thanks for this overview. I'm not sure I like the idea of having separate books for boys and for girls instead of one guide for both, since boys need to know about stuff like periods too, and girls need to know how boys' bodies are changing as well. I would think keeping it separate and "secret" would foster a lack of understanding between the sexes. And making the boy's book blue and the girl's one pink is just lame.