Many parents ask me what book I’d recommend for teaching girls about their developing bodies. I often respond that American Girl has several books that are geared toward providing girls with information and ideas related to the areas of physical and emotional development. One of my favorite books from American Girl is “The Care & Keeping of You: The Body Book for Girls” by Valerie Schaefer.
Geared for girls ages eight and up, the book focuses on the many physical and emotional changes that girls will experience as they get older. With respect to physical development, there are sections on hygiene, hair care, braces, acne, and sun sense. I especially like how the book includes “how to” sections with pictures and concrete steps for things like how to brush and floss your teeth or how to care for your nails. The book also covers body talk, including puberty, fitness, sleep, nutrition, and eating disorders. There is also a chapter about the girl “on the inside,” which explores feelings and “talking it out.” In fact, many of the topics addressed are ones parents might not think to cover with their daughters or may not feel comfortable talking about with their daughters.
I love that this book is very direct. It has lots of pictures and is relatively easy for a child/pre-teen to pick up and read on her own. In short, the book is a great way to start to educate your daughter on her changing body, and a great way to begin to help her care for herself. I hope you and your daughters enjoy reading this book — either together or separately.
By Rachel Ravin
Rachel is a clinical psychologist who specializes in working with children and adolescents. She has a private practice in Silver Spring, Maryland, and is in her 14th year working for Sulam, where she meets with students individually on a weekly basis, conducts social skills groups, and consults to teachers and parents. She received her undergraduate degree with a major in psychology from University of Michigan and her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the George Washington University.