Everything changes

24th May 2013 at 01:00
Two frank and informative books demystify puberty for children

A-Z of Growing Up, Puberty and Sex

There is no such thing as a stupid question. And while A-Z of Growing Up, Puberty and Sex covers just about everything a teenager might want to know, perhaps its greatest wisdom is in giving them the permission to ask - and the desire to know - even more.

Authors Lesley de Meza and Stephen De Silva are experts in training and education and have written the book in clear, specific language that includes the slang for body parts alongside the correct terminology. They admit that "some adults might find the contents too detailed". But they have also taken the stance throughout that "it's better to wait until you are older to have sex".

The book's greatest appeal, perhaps, is less in its concise and informative chapters on the expected subjects of acne, abortion, sex, masturbation and foreplay, and more in the fact that it deals with other aspects of emotional development that can prove equally and unexpectedly troublesome. The sections on bereavement, depression and divorce are touching. It is also pleasing that the writers have dedicated a page to dealing with stress.

An index of keywords is included, alongside a list of useful contacts connected with physical, sexual and emotional health.

A-Z of Growing Up, Puberty and Sex is published by Franklin Watts (#163;12.99, hardback). www.franklinwatts.co.uk

Dr Christian's Guide to Growing Up: boys' and girls' questions answered by TV's favourite doctor

As you would expect from a book written by the personable Dr Christian Jessen, presenter of Embarrassing Bodies on the UK's Channel 4, this guide to maturing is chatty, informal and has a lively and appealing format, with brightly coloured drawings and cartoons.

Designed for 11- to 18-year-olds, the book uses the sort of language that Jessen imagines teenagers would feel comfortable with. For example, it calls a penis a "willy".

The tone is friendly and reassuring right from the start. "I wrote this to help explain to you all those strange goings on that happen to your body as you get older," Jessen says in the introduction. "Your friends will tell you things that may sound scary... a lot will be exaggerated or even completely made up."

Alongside the facts of life, the book offers information on sex and body image, chapters on cyber-bullying and staying safe online, and a particularly helpful section on healthy eating.

A glossary and a list of useful websites appear at the back.

Dr Christian's Guide to Growing Up: boys' and girls' questions answered by TV's favourite doctor is published by Scholastic (#163;8.99, paperback). www.scholastic.co.uk.

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