Book Review: A book for girls about puberty that also talks about sex.
What's happening to me? (for Girls) by Susan Meredith is first book on puberty for young girls, published by Usborne Books.
Talking to young girls about puberty can be tricky, which is why books like, What's happening to me? (for Girls), are so important. Usborne Books are well known for publishing books for children and this book is one of their first books on puberty for children. They have also published a version for younger boys as well. The language that this book uses, is very simple and quite age appropriate.
So, what does this book talk about? It talks about a whole range of different things. It starts off with talking about the fact that you're growing up. That changes will be happening and it's called puberty. It talks about when puberty will happen and that what happens is different for everybody. You will grow taller and wider. You'll have a growth spurt and then your muscles will get stronger. You'll gain weight and then you'll start to get hairy. It talks about what the hair is for and where it grows ie under the arms, on your legs, pubic hair.
The first hair to sprout is your pubic hair. This gets more curly as it grows and may be a different colour from the hair on your head. It talks about getting breasts. Sooner or later, you might get some growing pains. It talks about how breasts work and why you have them, and the fact that they come in all shapes and sizes. It talks about bras. How to get measured up for one and what it all means.
How does it all start? It talks about how puberty happens and that it's hormonal and something gets triggered off in the brain and then the sex hormones kick in. Depending on whether you're male or female, depends on when the hormones happen.
How does it all work? It starts going into what sex is about. It talks about conception, fertility, about sperm being fertile and the penis going into the vagina. It talks about eggs. It also talks about myths about pregnancy. You can't find one in the cabbage patch in the back garden. It also touches on feelings as well. Grown ups have sex, not just to make babies but because it's a way of showing love. It's something that they enjoy as well. It touches on the fact that you can have sex without babies.
It talks about the changes happening inside you. It talks about the inside reproductive organs (uterus, ovaries) as well as the external ones (vulva). It talks about body fluids and stuff. It talks about why periods happen. How often, and how long. How to use pads. How to use tampons. Girls want to know about tampons because they hear so much, even though they may not be ready for them. It talks about coping with periods. It talks about your feelings and the fact that as you go through puberty, you can get moody and get mood swings. It talks about nutrition because as kids start going through puberty, all of a sudden that skinny, long, tall child that you had is now eating all this stuff and is starting to put weight on. It also talks about exercise.
What's happening to me? (for Girls) talks about personal hygiene. Making sure you have a shower, use deodorant. That sort of stuff. Talks about pimples and keeping skin clear. Eventually, we do get to a tiny little bit at the back about boys. There isn't much but it does talk about the fact that boys too go through puberty.
It then talks about things to avoid. Drugs, safe sex, body image, bullying, the right to say no. Porn's not in there. I would like to think that when they redo this book that porn will be mentioned as it is something that children need to be aware of.
What's happening to me? (for Girls) by Susan Meredith, is a nice little introduction for young girls about puberty. It does include talk about sex and other things. As a parent, if you've got a younger child, they're probably not really going to be interested in all that stuff that's towards the back of the book. So you need to decide if you are happy to provide them with all that stuff. It won't harm your child to have access to this info, it is just that they won't really be all that interested in it, just yet.
What's happening to me? (for Girls) is ideal for children between the ages of 10 - 12 years of age.
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.