Book Review: A comprehensive guide to puberty and growing up for boys.
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.
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.
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.
You can find more books like this in my extensive list of Sex Education Books for Children.
My mission is to create resources that will help you to naturally talk to your kids about sex, all while respecting your personal values.
Which means that inside this website, you'll find lots of resources to help you with talking to your child about love, sex, relationships and growing up.
My Sex Education 101 page includes all of the information on sex education. You'll find lots of different blogposts to help with getting started, on a wide range of different topics.
My Puberty 101 page includes all of the information on puberty. You'll find lots of different blogposts to help with talking to your child about growing up.
You'll find videos about sex ed in my Sex Education Videos resource page that you can watch with your child or to learn more about sex education yourself.
You’ll also find an extensive range of sex education books for children, for kids of all ages. There's even some books in there for parents!
If you're looking for some ideas on how to talk to your child about bodies, How to Talk to Kids About Bodies, will help you to start naming the private body parts and to have shame-free conversations with them about bodies. It is filled with lots of different ideas on how to have natural converasations with your child about their body.
You'll also find some child friendly anatomically-correct cartoon illustrations of the genitals and internal reproductive organs that are appropriate for children from the age of 3 and up. Let's Look at Different Body Parts is a printable that will help take the awkward out of talking to your child about their body, so they grow up feeling educated, confident, and comfortable in their own skin.
If you're worried that talking to your child about bodies might lead to questions about sex, then you can relax. How to Talk to Kids About Sex, will help you to explain sexual intercourse to your child in a way they will understand. It breaks sex down into simple steps that take the stress out of explaining!
If you want a printed book to hold in your hands, then the The Sex Education Answer Book will give you age-specific answers to the most common questions kid's ask parents about sex. Which means you don't need to worry about finding a child-friendly explanation that your child understands.
If you want the answers to questions about a lot more than just sex, then Sex Ed Quickies is your best option. It has answers to 300+ questions that kids commonly ask parents, including how babies are made, sexual intercourse, body parts, puberty, relationships, pregnancy, birth, masturbation, sexual diversity, gender, pornography, STIs, contraception and much more.
I'm Cath, a sex educator living in Australia with my husband and 2 kids. I help parents to talk about sex (with less cringe and more confidence) and empower their child to make smart sexual decisions. To find a better way to talk about sex, you can join my community of parents and visit my shop for helpful resources.