Posts tagged #book

Puberty Book Review


Here’s my review of some more books about puberty that hopefully you will find of use. Books are a reliable source of information; much more reliable than what one can find on the world wide web. Think about it, a lot of care and attention is put into the printing of a book. The author puts their name on it for all time. The publisher verifies the information and has fact-checkers and proofreaders. Can you say the same for whatever website you visit? No. The internet is the new school yard and information is passed around willy-nilly and without licence. Facts about puberty are integral to a young woman being set on the right path of life concerning her body, cycle, sexuality and authority. Books such as these are a great addition to the conversation, along with intimate conversation, some samples such as DivaCup, GladRags, and disposable napkins and tampons, along with perhaps the most important component, a feby bracelet.

What’s happening to me? by Susan Meredith, illustrated by Nancy Leschnikoff

This is a great book to start the conversation about puberty and all the changes young girls go through, both physically and emotionally. It is a slim volume at under 50 pages and each chapter has 2 pages relating to its topic, which includeGetting hairy, Getting breasts, Why periods happen, Using tampons, Your feelings and even How boys’ bodies work and Boys have worries too.

I love the concise information that is imparted with each subject. For example in the section about the bra business a lot is covered in a mere 2 to measure yourself to find your bra size, the importance of the right fit and how to tell and  the different types of bras and for what occasions. Very practical information interspersed with cute illustrations by Nancy Leschnikoff.

I would recommend this book for girls ages 8-10

 Why Do I Have Periods? by Isabel Thomas

Here is a book geared directly at pre-pubescent and pubescent girls which concentrates solely on menstruation and puberty.

It’s a slight book (32 pages) with large text and lots of graphics that help to describe what exactly a period is and when a girl should expect to get her first one and why.

I was disappointed with the instructions given regarding what to use to catch the flow. The page dedicated to that only lists tampons or sanitary pads as possible methods (has the author not heard of a menstrual cup?) and no mention is made of toxic shock syndrome which I find negligent.

Overall, this book is okay for young girls (6-9 years old) but I wouldn’t recommend it because of the above stated glaring omissions.

girlology’s there’s something new about you

Written by the founders of Girlology, Melisa Holmes, M.D. and Trish Huthison, M.D., this book is 122 pages of relevant information to help families “improve communication about puberty, sexuality, and adolescent behaviors.”

It’s a comprehensive look at the concerns of a pubescent girl with many antidotes and scenarios from real girls that adds warmth and understanding to the subject matter.

The author promises 3 things to the readers of this book which are:

1. You’ll be proud you know so much.

2. You will be more comfortable asking questions about growing up.

3. You will be more comfortable about your body and the amazing (and sometimes confusing) things it does.

Of the three books reviewed here, I give top honours to this one. It is well written with tons of information from a bra vocabulary, graphics and proper names for all the parts of the vulva, why we get them and how to manage periods (including how to insert a tampon and the dangers of toxic shock syndrome), healthy hygiene habits and healthy eating. I thought one blurb about pubic hair which simply said “hair is down there for a reason and you should probably leave it alone” doesn’t really address the issue that so many younger women have with pubic hair and their quest to remove it.

Overall I think this is a great book for girls ages 10+.

Happy reading!

Posted on May 20, 2014 .

'Dancing at the Shame Prom'


shame. noun. a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behaviour:

  • His face burned with shame.
  • She hung her head in shame.
  • He could not live with the shame of other people knowing the truth.
  • I would die of shame if she ever found out.

The first feminist book I have read this year to fulfill my pledge at the Hiding Spot2013 Feminist Reads Challenge is ‘Dancing at the Shame Prom: Sharing the stories that kept us small.’ This is an anthology by 28 assorted female writers, edited by Amy Ferris & Hollye Dexter. 

Shame is an inherently human emotion ( a fox feels no shaming for brutally killing a rabbit) and one that can hide in the recesses of our consciousness for a lifetime.  Shame can alter our core self-esteem, making us vulnerable and so many aspects of our lives can be negatively affected.  Shame is also oftentimes transferred onto us by others, be they family members (which occurs frequently in this book), acquaintances or society as a whole and this is commonly done to keep us quiet about our transgressions (real or otherwise) and made to feel small.  But as these stories prove, the shame we carry deep within the shadows of our soul can be diluted by sharing it with others, and with any luck, release the bearer of her burden.

This book is a banquet of emotions, filled with dark details and lonely depths but one which is ultimately cathartic. The stories inside are many things including poignant,  tragic, human, profound, hopeful and most especially loving.

Recently I read the quote “I write to give testimony. I read to bear witness” and that sentiment has never felt truer to me than when I read this book. I was bearing witness to the shame felt by these courageous writers who entrusted me with their stories. Stories as harrowing as being sexually abused as a young girl, having an abortion at the age of eighteen, and walking away from an adoption when a child became available, and all are stitched together with honesty from the author and trust towards the reader. This book is at once heavy in theme and substance yet made lighter for the reading; a  necessary step on the road to enlightenment. As I alluded to in the title of this post, I am grateful and wish to express my intense thankfulness to the authors for allowing me the privilege of reading their words and sharing their lives. I would like to be the kind of person that could admit my shame publicly, but even after reading this graceful tomb I am unable to follow the intrepid example of these talented writers. (Does this mean my shame is compounded?)

I quite enjoyed the extra page at the end of each story with a blurb about what the author hopes the reader takes away with them. I was piqued by my takeaway being different to what the author had hoped on more than one occasion, which made me appreciate how the art we create can be interpreted in so many different ways by others.

If you have the opportunity to read this book, I highly recommend you do so. If you’re anything like me you will be given the gift of intense emotional impact and may even find yourself wiser, kinder and more empathetic as a result.


Posted on March 15, 2013 .