Adolescence and puberty can be potentially troubling times for children and adults. A good sex educator becomes integral for these transition years. This can be a parent or a qualified professional … and books!
As children grow up, they begin to undergo various changes – physiological and psychological – and become increasingly aware of it. Although they anticipate growing up, physical developments – and the parallel emotional changes – can be very stressful for a child when it actually happens, especially if they do not understand what’s going on and why.
Parents and teachers often find it awkward to discuss puberty and adolescence with children, but it is essential to guide and expose young minds to correct information, rather than avoid the topic entirely. Educating children about changes that occur during puberty and discussing sexuality in a matter-of-fact way, puts it out there that physical changes and sexual feelings are normal, and that it happens to everyone. If you’re thinking that talking to children is not your responsibility, and that Sex Ed class will cover everything that they need to know, think again! Children generally have several questions and doubts that they are probably too embarrassed to ask in front of an audience. This leads them to discussing the topic with their peers which could result in the exchange of fictitious, exaggerated or incorrect information from not-so-credible sources.
Hippocampus has curated a list of books that addresses various aspects of puberty and the challenges that come with them. Do read the books yourself before you hand it over to a child or before you leave it around for them to read. You can decide what information you choose to present to a child and at what age. What’s appropriate varies for each individual child. Do introduce these books to parents of the children so they could also benefit from them. Go ahead and read these books yourselves, try to leave behind social, cultural and religious biases and help children live guilt-free lives and become confident individuals.
The Puberty Book – A Guide for Children and Teenagers
Written by: Wendy Darvill and Kelsey Powell
The authors recognise the primary role of parents and carers in the sexuality education of their children, but this book is written for the latter rather than the former. It is illustrated throughout with witty and informative cartoons, and all of the questions that are used are based on the thousands of questions that children and teenagers everywhere ask, all the time.
It’s Perfectly Normal
Written by: Robbie H. Harris | Illustrated by: Michael Emberley
‘It’s perfectly Normal’ offers young people the real information they need to know to make responsible decisions and to stay healthy. This award-winning book provides accurate, unbiased answers to nearly every conceivable question – from contraception and puberty to birth control and AIDS.
Menstrupedia – A Friendly Guide to Periods for Girls
Menstrupedia comic is the period guide for girls ages 9 and up. In this book you’ll find answers to questions related to the changing body, periods, nutrition and care taking during periods. This book helps young girls learn on their own in the most easy and fun way using stories and cartoon characters.
What’s Going on Down There? – Answers to Questions Boys Find it Hard to Ask.
Written by: Karen Gravelle with Nick and Chava Castro | Illustrations by Robert Leighton
Why is my voice making such weird sounds? When will I be able to start shaving? Why do I keep getting pimples? What is a wet dream? Your body has been behaving very strangely lately. You hardly know what to expect from one day to the next. Karen Gravelle, with some help from her two young advisors, Nick and Chava Castro, has written a down-to-earth and practical book that will help guide boys through the confusing time of their lives.
Are You There God It’s Me Margaret?
Written by Judy Blume
Life isn’t easy for Margaret. She’s moved away from her childhood home, she’s starting a new school, finding new friends – and she’s convinced she’s not normal. For a start she hasn’t got a clue whether she wants to be Jewish like her father or Christian like her mother. Margaret confronts various pre-teen female issues, such as buying her first bra, having her first period, coping with sanitary napkins, envy toward another girl who has developed a womanly figure, liking boys, and whether to voice her opinions if they differ from those of her friends.
Hope you find these books helpful. Do tell us about a book that you think is of relevance to the topic in the comments section below. Happy Reading!