When you have an older boy and a girl two years younger, puberty seems to hit simultaneously. Our family has leapt from childhood to transition almost overnight it seems and we realised we needed books to fill in the gaps. Not that we hadn’t talked to them over the years, so that they knew the general picture, but in a reading family you have to have a book on everything! And of course an objective outside perspective, the questions that never get asked, the ones that you forget about because it was all so long ago.
Books on puberty have come a long way since I was that age. I remember a dour paperback with technical illustrations, very medical, very unreal, not very interesting. Today on Amazon you are bombarded with choice. Brightly illustrated books aimed at various age groups, some even for pre-pre-adolescents in picture book mode. Some have an encyclopaedic amount of detail covering the whole of growing up, some are more focussed on the changes of puberty itself.
We tried to look in our local bookshops to get a better idea of what was on offer and be able to read before buying, but nothing available here really seemed to provide just the right level of information. There were still even some medical type paperbacks of the kind that went out in the 70s. So it was back to Amazon.
After reading endless reviews we decided upon this pair of books – Puberty Boy by Geoff Price and Puberty Girl by Shushann Movsessian. They have just the right amount of information for our age children, 11 year old girl and 13 year old boy, and can also be read by our nearly nine-year old girl who isn't quite there yet, but will be soon enough. They are intended to prepare children at the beginning of puberty, enough detail, but easily readable by this age group. Our son read it through in two evenings, our daughter was engrossed in it to start with and tailed off rather half way through, but is still dipping into it.
There are loads of pictures of real kids doing stuff – boys on skateboards, girls hanging out with friends, so the emphasis is on puberty being what you’re all going through, as a normal part of life. Of course there are the line drawings of the body and its changes too, but they are way better than the medical text book ones I remember. The tone is friendly and chatty, approachable without trying to be too street smart and hip.
We’ll need to get a further book or two later on that address more complex teenage issues such as relationships, sex and drugs, as these topics weren’t covered. These books are definitely meant for the beginning puberty girl and boy rather than the full on teenager, which is perfect for our kids.
Published in Australia, they are available on Amazon.co.uk, which is still doing free super-saver delivery to South Africa, so they were easily affordable and we just had to wait three weeks for them to arrive.
Puberty Boy currently costs £5.82 and Puberty Girl costs £6.72.
10 months ago