We Recommend: Changing Bodies Edition

Yet another edition of We Recommend, in which we attempt to match kids up with their perfect book (and we're STILL not caught up. But we will be!) Got a kid in your life who needs a recommendation? Write us at thediamondinthewindow (at) gmail (dot) com with the age, reading tastes, favorite books, and any other relevant (or irrelevant) information, and we'll give it a shot. And really? All the good suggestions are in the comments, so be sure to look there!

We all have to deal with them. You know, the questions. You think you're going to be all cool and say something like "When two people love each other…." But that's because you don't know you're going to be hit with "Can people and cats have babies together?" And all those inevitable "But that means you and Daddy…" followed by unfeigned looks of utter horror. That's right, it's human sexuality day here at The Diamond in the Window, and all I can say is: well at least there are a whole lot of good books about it.

But first, let's deal with the question in question (can I say that?):

My daughter is 8, in 3rd grade. She's started to ask a few questions about her body. I find that despite my strong feeling that she should feel free to ask whatever she wants, I get a little tongue-tied when she asks, well, just about anything. I apparently lack the vocabulary to deal with the developing body. So I'm looking for book recommendations for sort of introductory "about your body" type books, good for a 3rd grader. Not so much about sexuality, although that will come. But right now we're just looking for something very basic that she can read either by herself or with me.

OK, I've actually looked through a lot of different body books, partly because this is happening so much earlier among kids of this generation than mine own. It's hellish to deal with your changing body in 7th grade (at least it was for me), it's downright disconcerting when you're in 3rd grade. My favorite of the ones I found? The Period Book.

(Image Courtesy Better World Books)

What I liked about it: they talk a lot about the fact that just because your body might be changing doesn't mean you have to stop being a kid. And if that's important for a 12-year-old to hear, it's doubly important for an 8-year-old. Plus it has information I didn't know (your feet are the first part of you to reach adult size—who knew?). Plus it's just kind and helpful, without being gooshy. It focuses on your body, what goes on with it. I do worry a little about whether it's too mature for this reader, but the 8-year-olds I know who have read it have been pretty happy and comfortable with it.

That said, this doesn't do much for the boys out there (not that this question asks for those, but it sort of begs the question). So put any suggestions on either in the commets. Also? When asked about whether cats and people can have babies together, just say "No, people and cats can't make kittens," and leave it at that. Trust me on this.

8 thoughts on “We Recommend: Changing Bodies Edition

  1. I am kind of anti American Girl, but I have heard The Care and Keeping of You (American Girl Library) is excellent. I have not read it myself, but I made a mental note of this book when a similar question was posed on another forum. My daughter is only 4, but I want to be well prepared when our time comes!


  2. I gave my 10 year old who is having the same experience:
    “It’s So Amazing!: A Book about Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies, and Families” (The Family Library).
    This fit the bill perfectly. It does cover s-e-x though. It does it in a matter of fact way, and it includes Girls AND Boys and how they change and grow up. Both of my 8 year olds have read it as well, one by and one girl…


  3. My daughter swore by the American Girl Book on Changing Bodies mentioned by Lee Anne. She got it when she was about 10(?) or so and finally gave it away this year to a mom who wanted to have something for her 9 year old daughter. I looked through it back in the day and it was stellar for that middle school to junior high crowd.


  4. Yes, we actually have that one, it’s way more readily available and it’s fine, but it didn’t speak to me or my kids the way the Period Book did for some reason. That one seemed more willing to acknowledge how intense this could be for some kids, while at the same time trying to chill everyone out and put it all in perspective.


  5. OMG, I just had to laugh at your suggestion. We went to a library book sale about a month ago. My son (age 4) gets to choose whatever books he wants and after about a minute of searching book covers he held that book up and said “I want this one!!!!” LOL. I distracted him with another book and swiftly threw that one back in the bin.


  6. I’m going to second (third?) the recommendation of “The Care and Keeping of You”, even though it is an American Girl book. It talks about all kinds of stuff from how to clean your face to how to insert a tampon. I liked this because it demonstrates that these are all natural processes and there’s really no difference between clipping your fingernails and wrapping your pads before you throw them in the garbage. There’s nothing about sexuality in it, it’s just all about girls bodies and how they change. If you put this kind of book on her shelf, she will keep going back to it and looking at different parts of it and absorbing the information on a new level as she gets older.


  7. Thanks to all–I’m the mom in question. She actually isn’t starting to go through any changes yet (whew!) but I realized at some point how little I’ve really told here. Plus there was the moment in the women’s lock room of the local Tech College, after a Brownies swimming party, when a number of the girls asked me “what are those pink boxes by the drinking fountain for?” umm…
    Anyway, after I emailed my request (but before it got posted) we discovered both the AG book and “it’s so amazing” (along with the predecessor, “it’s not the stork.”) And my AG-obsessed child thought the AG book was okay–but was done with it quickly, and sent it back to the library. However, she loved “it’s so amazing” and reread it several times.
    We’ll tackle the Period Book in another year or so…


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