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Best books about puberty and growing up for girls

Puberty can be a confusing – and completely exhausting – time for young girls. To help your daughters feel more prepared to take on whatever their body throws at them, we've put together a list of the five best books about puberty and growing – as recommended by you

By Mumsnet HQ | Last updated Jun 3, 2021

Teens Puberty

What's Happening to Me? – Susan Meredith and Nancy Leschnikoff

Mumsnetter recommendations:

“I bought this book for my daughter and she got all the details she wanted. I told her to have a little read and to ask me any questions, which she did. It covers periods/sex/other body changes, and body changes for boys too. It's very good. I basically just told her about periods and then left her with the book. She really loved reading it.”

“I bought What's Happening To Me? for my first daughter when she was eight. Had a few large drinks, then sat down and read it cover to cover with her. Then gave it to her to look at whenever she wanted. It's straightforward, a little funny, non-threatening and not patronising.”

“It's a lovely book with a lot about body changes and feelings, but less about the mechanics…”

The Smart Girl's Guide to Growing Up by Anita Ganeri and Katie Mac

Mumsnetter recommendations:

“We bought this for our nine-year-old and she has devoured it and feels quite empowered by her knowledge I think. It covers periods, tampons/towels, physical changes, emotional changes, friendship, moodiness, tearfulness, and touches on the biology of sex without too much detail. We both felt it was just enough info and opened up good discussion. I would recommend.”

“My daughter just turned 10 and I gave her The Smart Girl's Guide to Growing Up a few months ago (she was starting to develop very fast). She wasn't shocked, liked it, and uses it as a basis for discussions about bodies and changing with me, and with her best friends.”

“My daughter also really liked The Smart Girl's Guide to Growing Up. I really liked it and felt it also dealt with worst-case scenarios like leaking periods really well.”

Related: Read on the go with our collection of the best audiobooks for children

Girls Only! by Victoria Parker

Mumsnetter recommendations:

“My daughter loved this book. She read it loads and I think it really helped her. I think she liked the fact that she could read it and then come to me with any questions. I was completely open about it all – why wouldn't you be? – and we had lots of conversations.”

The Care and Keeping of You by Valorie Schaefer

Mumsnetter recommendations:

“I found this book extremely useful. It deals with periods, but just as part of general grooming – skin, hair, how to keep your nails and hands clean and tidy, etc. It's helped us hugely, and meant that my daughter was okay when I bought her deodorant (a children's one). She's even started telling me about her five-a-day, and how much exercise she needs.”

“It is PERFECT. Exactly what I was looking for, and more. I love their positive, reassuring, empowering approach. Oh, and my daughter thinks it's brilliant – she read it almost in one sitting!”

“My 11-year-old has found it invaluable and she refers to it often. She often shows it to friends to when they come round!”

Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume

Mumsnetter recommendations:

“Not a sex education book per se, but Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume is a frank, humorous novel covering puberty and other pre-teen issues. It has been a favourite amongst girls for a long time – I'm 33 and remember it fondly. I found it a lot easier to relate to than talking to my mum or reading a sex ed textbook!”

“My first introduction to the concept of periods was Judy Blume's book Are You There, God? about a group of 11-year-old girls who were surprisingly desperate to get their first period!”

“I told all my friends in my first year of high school about 'Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret' and there was a waiting list in the school library for it. It got back to the head that I'd started the craze and I had to write a review of the book for him to explain why I had liked it so much – blush.”