Book Review: A comprehensive guide to puberty and growing up for boys.
A short overview of this book
My Changing Body Book (Boy’s Edition) by Linda Picone is a puberty book for boys that talks about everything that boys may possibly want to know about puberty and growing up.
This book was published in 2010 and is probably the most diverse puberty book that I have found. By diverse, I mean that it also covers topics like transgender and intersex ie topics that most other books have yet to include. It is also very comprehensive and includes a lot of really good sexual content for older kids.
There is also a Girl’s Edition available.
An overview of the book
My Changing Body Book (Boy’s Edition) starts off with the physical changes that happen to the body. It talks about the whole body and then moves onto the emotional changes. Your emotions and also your friendships will change as you go through puberty. It introduces the concept of sexual thoughts, explaining why you start to think about peers in a new and sexual way. It also talks about what it means to be male or female, and that sometimes we can be in the wrong body.
The changes to the reproductive organs are outlined in their own chapter. The changes to the outside parts ie the genitals (penis and scrotum) are discussed in greater details as well as the workings of the internal reproductive organs ie the bits that create sperm. Masturbation or sexual arousal when you touch yourself is explained, including wet dreams.
My Changing Body Book (Boy’s Edition) dedicates a whole chapter to explaining what sex is all about. The information is simple but it provides a really nice overview of not just the physical but also the emotional aspects of sex. The different types of sex are also discussed along with consent. I am glad that consent is included, as it is increasingly being ignored by teens, which can lead to accusations of rape. Porn is also discussed in that it is one way to learn about sex but that it is often inaccurate.
Falling in love is next, where dating, love vs like, sexual values and beliefs (or morals), same-sex attraction and making a commitment. These are described very age-appropriately, written simply but with enough information to make sense.
My Changing Body Book (Boy’s Edition) then moves onto looking after your body. Eating properly, getting enough sleep, exercising or playing sport, and having a healthy (not obsessed) self-esteem and body image. Self-care specific to boys includes penis problems, testicular self examination and sexually transmitted infections. Dangerous activities such as alcohol, drugs, smoking and driving are also included. Some risks aren’t discussed ie porn, sexual selfies and sexting.
The next chapter is dedicated to birth control ie how to not have a baby. Puberty is all about making the body fertile, which means that kids need to know that there is a real risk that sexual intercourse can lead to pregnancy. All of the different methods of birth control are discussed in enough detail.
My Changing Body Book (Boy’s Edition) then talks about conception ie how the sperm and egg meet up. Pregnancy is discussed, along with miscarriages and abortion, as well as labour, birthing and the responsibility of looking after a baby.
The book finishes up with a very comprehensive dictionary, where the pronunciation of words is provided along with a definition.
My Changing Body Book (Boy’s Edition) is actually a very good book. I love the depth of information that is also quite age-appropriate. By age-appropriate, I mean that it is written in a simple way, without using medical jargon or big words that you need to look up in a dictionary. It is also written in a very positive way and value-free way.
If you have a child who is curious about sex and what it means, then this would be a good book to start with. It provides a really nice description of what sex is all about.
What’s the ideal age for this book?
The book is recommended for 9-12 year olds but personally, I wouldn’t use this with younger children. First of all, the book is all words and no diagrams, so it could be overwhelming to a younger child who isn’t a good reader. It is the sort of book that boys could keep in their bedroom.
The sexual content wouldn’t alarm younger children, but I think that there are better books for younger kids. But if you have a child who is really curious about what sex is all about, then this would book would give them positive information that conveys that sex is more than just sharing genitals.
So what age? 11-14 years would be a good age for this book. Younger if they are mature and especially curious.
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You can find more books like this in my extensive list of Sex Education Books for Children.
Have a look through the book