A graphic-novel guide to puberty, sexuality, and growing up.
Groundbreaking sexuality educator Corinna, founder of the website Scarleteen, works with cartoonist Rotman to bring her knowledge and experience to this slim but mighty guide. In a fashion similar to Cory Silverberg and Fiona Smyth’s Sex Is a Funny Word (2015), five friends (multiracial and multigendered) talk through complex questions with one another and with readers. This book consistently puts the needs of its readers first, meticulously working to emphasize gender diversity, individuality, and the messiness of adolescence. Preteens and teens who might be “worried [their] genitals look weird” are informed that “genitals ARE weird, but that’s okay.” Puberty is treated as the confusing, unpredictable process that it is, with the reassurance that “puberty doesn’t mean you’re grown up or mature” and that “emotional maturity” is more important. Body parts are intentionally ungendered, sexual orientations are shown as fluid and joyful, and there is a constant emphasis on the importance of friendships and mutual support. While brief, this guide manages to cover crucial topics thoroughly and humorously, reassuring readers that while all of this is a big deal, it’s something they can handle. The cartoony illustrations are appealing and fun, the book includes interactive activities such as word searches and crossword puzzles, and there’s a fairly thorough glossary in the back.
This extremely modern guide to growing up excels in its field. (further reading) (Graphic nonfiction. 10-18)