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Celebrate Your Body (and Its Changes, Too!): The Ultimate Puberty Book for Girls Paperback – May 29, 2018
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From the Publisher
Explore the when, whys, and hows of puberty with advice on:
A Wonderfully Wild Ride
Puberty is a natural part of having a body. Everybody goes through it. On occasion it can feel more like a roller coaster, but puberty can be a wonderful journey and the perfect time to notice and learn about all the brilliant things your body will do on its way to adulthood.
Growing and Changing
Dig into the specifics about the changes you may experience during this wild and wonderful time. Your body is perfect exactly as it is today, and it will be perfect during and after puberty, no matter how it changes! Let’s explore all the fascinating details of these exciting changes.
Beyond Your Body
Becoming you can be confusing at times. It can feel like you don’t really know who you are and what you like anymore because it is different from the past. Listening to yourself will help you find wise people to answer your questions or give you support and encouragement when needed.
"The last thing I expected to do while reading this colorful and celebratory book for youth was cry, but as I went through each page I found myself with tears streaming down my face. Tears for my "past pre-teen self" who finally, after twenty years, felt seen... and tears for the next generation of amazing humans who will have this extraordinary guidebook (and Sonya) to hold their hand while explaining how their bodies are undeniably remarkable in every way."—Jes Baker, Body Positive Activist, author of Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls and Landwhale
"Celebrate Your Body is a wonderful book full of wisdom and affirmation for young girls at a time when their lives are fraught with change. Thank you, Sonya Renee, for writing a book about puberty that is both informative and joyous! What a gift! A must read for the tweens in all of ourlives."—Deb Hauser, President, Advocates for Youth
"This book exemplifies the love and care that is necessary to help young people grow into healthy adults. As an educator, I am privy to unfortunate outcomes of miseducation when talking about puberty. Sonya has managed to create an experience of celebration through her thoughtful approach to delivering the facts about puberty in a way that can help girls feel proud of their bodies and the puberty experience."―Patrick Smith Director of Education, Equity & Inclusion, Planned Parenthood Southeastern Pennsylvania
“Taylor’s book unapologetically leads with the positive, focusing much more on what bodies can do rather than what they look like. Even with that focus, Taylor manages to hammer home that all bodies are beautiful, that it’s possible to be healthy at every size, and that each body progresses at its own rate…”―Rachelle Hampton, slate.com
About the Author
Sonya Renee Taylor is the founder and Radical Executive Officer of TheBodyIsNotAnApology.com, a digital media and education company committed to radical self-love and body empowerment as the foundational tool for social justice and global transformation. Sonya is also an international award-winning performance poet, activist, speaker, and transformational leader whose work continues to have global reach.
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Everything in Sonya Renee Taylor's approach is positive and encouraging. She acknowledges many colors and body types and provides just the right amount of detail for a tween/pre-teen reader.
*Every other book I researched in this genre had an inordinate focus on appearance & traditional notions of beauty.* Something I wanted to avoid.
They also, without exception, addressed interest in "boys" - excluding anyone who might not be interested in boys & reinforcing the confusion they may be feeling about not being "normal." To be clear, the book doesn't encourage or even go into detail on this topic, it simply refers to developing feelings for "someone" using generic pronouns. This is just one example of Sonya Renee Taylor's subtle approach to inclusiveness & cultural sensitivity.
If you're looking for an encouraging, straightforward, medically accurate, inclusive guide for your 9-12y.o, This. Is. Your. Book.
Adult readers: If you haven't already checked out the author's other book, "The Body Is Not An Apology," I highly recommend doing so. Sonya Renee Taylor is a gift to Humanity ♡
Top international reviews
However, there are just a few messages that I disagree with and mean that I will not give this book to my daughter. Firstly, I found some of the food recommendations kind of "diety," which I was surprised about. There is an emphasis on eating fruit and vegetables, and then eating "chips, candy or cake" in moderation. Most tweens are not doing the grocery shopping for a household, and so the advice to "try to avoid processed foods" and lauding a fresh peach over "canned peaches in sugary syrup" may create undue anxiety and pressure on young people who cannot control or change the food their caregiver buys. It would all depend on the personality of the reader and their moral and intellectual development whether such "should" and "should not" messages would be taken up as helpful suggestions to consider or rigid guidelines to live by in all circumstances. A 9 or 10 year old may have a more black-and-white reaction than an older teen to such advice.
Lastly, this book's message on gender was more progressive than I anticipated. In the introduction, Taylor gently broaches the topic of gender identity: "In this book I use the world 'girl' to describe the gender of the humans I imagine are reading it. The word 'girl' may not feel like the right word to describe you. Maybe you feel more like a boy or maybe you feel like a boy and a girl sometimes. That is okay! You don't have to feel like a girl at all to read this book and learn how your unique body works. The information in these pages will help you understand your body even if the word 'girl' isn't the right fit. As you read, you can swap out 'girl' for any word that feels good for you and your body. If you have questions about your gender, check out the amazing resources in the back of this book and share them with an adult you trust" (xii). While I am in full support of Taylor's broader message to adults that all forms of oppression focused on the body are harmful (including racism, homophobia, fat phobia, transphobia, and ableism), I am uncomfortable with handing over these nuanced subjects to her to teach to my daughter in a book that is supposed to be about puberty.
If a parent thought their daughter was struggling with gender identity, this book might be a good fit. Because my concern was more with disordered eating, this book's messages did not fit my needs. I have found My Body's Superpower by Maryann Jacobsen, who is a registered dietitian to be a closer match to my own views on food and have given this book to my daughter instead.
I would have given the book five stars but I had a very strong negative reaction to one of the ideas in the chapter on feeding and fueling your body. The author writes: "not getting enough healthy food can keep your body from launching the necessary hormones to begin puberty. And eating too much unhealthy food can cause your body to begin puberty changes sooner than it is supposed to." Although there may be some data to support this assertion, I believe that this statement is more harmful than helpful. I do not want my daughter reading this and feeling guilty that, at 9 years old, she is beginning puberty possibly because her diet hasn't been healthy enough and that she could've avoided this fate by making better dietary choices. Talk about laying guilt and potentially laying the foundation for future disordered eating! I felt so strongly about the implications of this statement that I actually took a black marker and crossed these lines out of the book before giving it to my daughter.
She LOVES this book and reads it every night. I’m so grateful for the author of this book. Covers body image, puberty, friendships, relationships, and online safety. I’m so pleased.