A lot of my friends are talking about the book, The Care and Keeping of You by Valorie Schaefer.
Now I don’t always jump on the bandwagon of book club popularity, but even as an adult woman, I still have some questions about my body.
Instead of the talk, I got a book from my mom when I was ten years old.
It was a small black and white paperback, clearly written by a male doctor. I shoved that thing in my nightstand drawer and got it out only under cover of darkness, past bedtime with the door closed so no one would catch me reading it. It was take only as needed as far as I was concerned, this instruction manual for the impending curse of womanhood.
I think a lot of us received similar books … and why American Girl’s The Care & Keeping of YOU, The Body Book for Girls is such a delight to us.
My friends all say the same basic thing.
“I bought it for her thinking we’d read it together. But the next day I realized she’d already read the entire thing.”
Girls devour this book. What does that tell us?
It tells us that they are hungry for information about their bodies.
I had forgotten how much body there is! I remember my book was about menstruation. (I’m not sure it ever even used the common word period.) But there was also the embarrassment over my first bra and the angst over wanting to shave my legs and the struggle with my complexion. This book covers head to toe. And I mean that literally. There is information about oily hair and smelly feet.
It also tells us that this book is extremely approachable.
Remember my description above of the book from childhood? This book is larger and colorful. The illustrations are not medical drawings. The people are not stick figures. Just look at the cover.
That’s a group of girls. The pictures throughout the book provide opportunities for girls to both relate and remember they are not alone.
See the smiles on that cover illustration? Faces throughout the book show confusion, frustration, disappointment, and surprise. Real life feelings and emotions.
This book stays positive. If you’re headed towards puberty, then believe me – you need repeated doses of positive.
This book also promotes conversation. It continues to encourage girls to talk to mom or another adult. It even suggests the words to use on occasion. Do you remember when you started your first period? I wish I’d had this book. I could have just taken it to my mom and pointed to this paragraph –
“Find your mom, an older sister, or a woman you trust. Take a deep breath and say, “I think I just got my period. Do you have something I can use?” You may feel like crawling into a hole, but remember, getting your period is normal. There’s no reason to be ashamed. The older person will probably remember how it felt her first time and will be glad to help.”
Thank you, American Girl!
I was delighted to find that not only is there a second book in this series for older girls, there is also a set of books specifically for mother/daughter conversation. The Care and Keeping of Us gives dozens of how-to-say-it scripts.
But back to my own issues. I am waiting for them to release a book on perimenopause. I have lots of questions.