cover image It's a Girl Thing: How to Stay Healthy, Safe and in Charge

It's a Girl Thing: How to Stay Healthy, Safe and in Charge

Mavis Jukes. Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, $12 (144pp) ISBN 978-0-679-87392-1

It's difficult to imagine an adolescent girl who wouldn't benefit from this candid, supportive and often genuinely funny guide to surviving--and enjoying--those awkward pre- and early-teen years. Newbery Honor author Jukes bares her soul about her own sometimes misguided experiences growing up in the 1950s, when typical parental strategy ""was to withhold all facts about sex from kids until the kids got old enough to be so embarrassed by the topic that they would refuse to talk about it."" A rich supply of personal anecdotes lightens up her explicit, thoroughly accessible discussion of puberty and sexuality; Tilley's (Riddle-icious) breezy cartoons also put readers at ease. The author fills her text with sage advice adolescents can't hear often enough, stressing the importance of resisting peer pressure, respecting and taking good care of one's body, and communicating with and seeking help from parents and other responsible adults (""Looking like an adult doesn't mean that you're expected to take on adult roles and responsibilities. You're a kid, entitled to the love, care and protection of the adults around you""). While she tackles tough subjects like sexual abuse, harassment and sexually transmitted diseases, she includes tips on more frivolous, kid-pleasing topics, such as shopping for clothes and selecting the right makeup. Written with a bracing, inspiriting honesty, this volume will spark communication between parents and daughters. Ages 11-14. (Apr.)