If we said that kids’ bodies go through a lot of changes between elementary school and high school, would you be surprised to hear it? Probably not. Most kids are really interested in this topic, and not at all squeamish about it—quite the opposite, in fact! Many grownups, however, find it embarrassing to talk about these physical changes that you can expect soon. Which is where books written by puberty experts come in handy.
Here are a few well-known books on the topic. Depending on your age and your family’s worldview, some of these might be more appropriate than others—so make sure that your grownups take a close look before they share these books with you.
Boy’s Body Book, The: Everything You Need to Know for Growing Up YOU (2007)
by Kelli Dunham
From voice and bodily changes to tips on coping with siblings, peer pressure, and other issues that adolescent boys face, it’s all here. Dunham is a registered nurse and a comedian who has assembled experts—including a Coach of the Year and a professor who researches adolescence—to create an informative and fun-to-read resource.
Girl’s Body Book, The: Everything You Need to Know for Growing Up YOU (2008)
by Kelli Dunham
As she does with her book for boys, Dunham gives girls aged 8-12 the scoop on both the physical and emotional aspects of adolescence. This fun-to-read resource covers everything from hygiene to exercise to body changes, to dealing with parents who drive you nuts. It also includes “Notes from a Real Girl,” by Dunham’s 12-year-old niece.
Period.: A Girl’s Guide (1979, revised in 2001)
by JoAnn Loulan and Bonnie Worthen
Not a book about all aspects of puberty, this illustrated classic is strictly for girls interested in learning more about menstruation—what it is, and how to care for yourself while it’s happening. While the reading level is for 5th through 7th grades, the information is appropriate for girls (and curious boys) who are younger than that.
What’s Happening to Me? A Guide to Puberty (1975)
by Peter Mayle
Ask your grownups if they read this when they were your age. We did! Written by the British author of the bestseller A Year in Provence (a detail your grownups might be surprised to learn), this is a lighthearted but informative guide to your questions about puberty. It’s written for ages 9 and older, although teenagers may feel it’s too young.
“What’s Happening to My Body?” Book for Girls, The (3rd edition, 2007)
by Lynda Madaras and Area Madaras
Lynda Madaras, who taught puberty and health education in California schools for over 25 years, teamed up with her daughter to create a go-to resource, full of very detailed straight talk about all sorts of questions asked by preteens and young teenagers. The third edition addresses questions raised in thousands of letters written by girls.
“What’s Happening to My Body?” Book for Boys, The (3rd edition, 2007) by Lynda Madaras and Area Madaras
Growth spurts, zits, shaving, getting crushes, and body changes get a thorough investigation in this practical book that offers both facts and sensible advice. Like its companion book for girls, this is a resource for kids aged 10 and older. Boys will enjoy taking the quizzes that allow them to keep track of which phase of puberty they’re in.