A straightforward explanation of growth and changes in puberty aimed at girls approaching their teens.

A pediatrician who also serves as an online expert for several parenting sites offers sensible descriptions of and answers to common questions about body basics, physical, emotional and mental changes, and relationships with family and friends in this latest self-help title from the American Girl group. The target audience for this follow-up to The Care & Keeping of You (1998) is clearly the upper end of the company’s publishing focus (ages 8-12), but the information provided about puberty is generally similar to that in the previous title, which covered girls’ good health more broadly. There are clear instructions for breast self-examination and for inserting a tampon. (Shaving one’s legs and determining bra size return from the earlier book.) The text does not include sexual feelings among its set of physical and emotional changes. In the diagram of the vagina, the clitoris is shown but not labeled. Parents will be particularly pleased by the author’s repeated reminder that parental rules rule. Preteen readers will appreciate the positive, personal tone. Sure to be welcomed, and especially useful for families and collections where the more explicit It’s So Amazing, by Robie Harris and illustrated by Michael Emberley (1999) would be unacceptable. (Nonfiction. 9-12)


Pub Date: March 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-60958-042-1

Page Count: 103

Publisher: American Girl

Review Posted Online: Jan. 16, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2013

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Adults may have to force-feed this purposive book to those not yet committed to the important causes outlined here.



"Organic," "sustainable" and "food miles" all appear in the comprehensive glossary of this book, whose simple title and cover photograph imply a basic approach to the international topic of food.

This very political book, biased toward food equity, explains why certain foods are eaten in certain countries and why school lunches are important. They fill various needs, from the teaching of courtesy and table manners in France and Japan to the supply of basic nutrients for Somali children in refugee-camp schools. Efforts to improve children’s eating habits, curb obesity, encourage use of local crops and provide food to students with limited economic resources are discussed. As the book is from Canada, naturally there are some references to that country in many of the comparisons. Though published in a seemingly picture-book format, the text is complex. Most two-page spreads describe school lunchtime in an individual country, with a cartoonish illustration on the left and a large photograph of a typical meal on the right with numbered arrows pointing to particular elements. Lengthy captions are keyed to each number. Small globe images in each spread point out countries, but larger maps and a bibliography would be useful. “The Message to Parents, Teachers and Students” provides project ideas.

Adults may have to force-feed this purposive book to those not yet committed to the important causes outlined here. (Nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-88995-482-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Red Deer Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2012

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For a preteen who enjoys writing her thoughts and a mom whose relationship with her daughter is already good, this...



A “How-to-Say-It” package about preteen physical, emotional, and social concerns for mothers and their daughters.

The period between childhood and adulthood can be challenging to navigate. This boxed set includes two 48-page paperbacks, one for mom and one for her daughter, and a much longer blank journal with writing prompts for the two to share. They follow the pediatrician/author’s highly successful titles about girls’ changing bodies and feelings and a similar but preteen-directed journal some users have chosen to share with parents. Topics covered include personal concerns (hygiene, nutrition, exercise, sleep, safety, body changes, periods, beauty, clothing, eating disorders) and relations with the outside world of family, friends, the Internet, romance, and time management. Each double-page spread addresses a separate topic and includes “how to say it” prompts. There are conversation starters, talking tips, and sensible suggestions about negotiating the social-media world, including a sample family contract. Appealing cartoon illustrations show a range of girls and mother-daughter pairs who are clearly communicating. The “completely private” journal has color-coded pages to indicate mother, daughter, and joint entries, as well as similarly coded ribbons to mark pages. The pages labeled “TOP SECRET” seem to contradict the open approach.

For a preteen who enjoys writing her thoughts and a mom whose relationship with her daughter is already good, this well-meant offering might help ease the pair through a difficult time. (Nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-60958-978-3

Page Count: 92

Publisher: American Girl

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2015

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