Many young women have fond memories of receiving their first copy of the classic guide The Care & Keeping of You: The Body Book for Girls. The ultimate introduction to growing up a girl, the American Girl book provided young women with answers to important (and sometimes awkward) questions. Now, the book that has sold more than three million copies and helped countless girls enter adulthood is getting an update and a follow-up companion.
The original Body Book is aimed at girls of eight or nine years old, and its new companion, The Care & Keeping of You 2: The Body Book for Older Girls, will help girls ages ten and up address the unique issues they face as they undergo puberty. The separation of content will allow girls and their guardians to decide which information is most relevant for them during particular stages of their lives.
For older girls who already know the basics of hygiene and physical health, the new guidebook for living well will focus on one of the most crucial, yet often overlooked, aspects of growing up: mental and emotional health.
How Will Girls Benefit from the New Book?
The Care & Keeping of You has been praised for its straightforward, easy-to-grasp explanations of difficult subjects for young women. For those too embarrassed to ask friends or mothers about menstrual cycles or choosing the right bra, the book is a lifesaver. Its combination of professional advice, useful illustrations, and clear language can make bodily changes a little less frightening.
Now, younger and older girls can benefit from information that is better tailored to their needs.
Why The New Focus on Mental Health?
Mood swings and emotional distress are something of an afterthought in our cultural discussion of puberty. The "sulky teen" archetype is often ridiculed or dismissed without a deeper discussion of where these feelings come from.
The second Body Book for Girls will shed light on the psychological changes associated with adolescence. This is especially important now because children are experiencing puberty at a younger age and facing physical and emotional struggles earlier. Changes in the brain during puberty are real and should be addressed with the same care and understanding as physical changes.
Mental health can be a touchy subject for women regardless of age, but young women undergoing puberty may be particularly confused. This introduction to lifelong mental health awareness could not come at a better moment.
How Can You Help a Girl Going Through Puberty?
The Care & Keeping of You is a staple in puberty literature, but it won’t replace a trusted adult—male or female—who can advise a young woman about her physical and mental well-being.
Whether she needs space and time alone to reflect or someone to talk to, let her know that you’re there for her. You can use the book as a starting point for discussion and let her come to you with concerns, or provide suggestions about other age-appropriate resources, including websites, books, and films.