________________ CM . . . . Volume XVI Number 27. . . .March 19, 2010


Girl in the Know: Your Inside-and-Out Guide to Growing Up.

Anne Katz. Illustrated by Monika Melnychuk.
Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, 2010.
112 pp., hardcover, $18.95.
ISBN 978-1-55453-303-9.

Subject Headings:
Girls-Health and hygiene-Juvenile literature.
Puberty-Juvenile literature.
Girls-Life skills guides-Juvenile literature.

Grades 5-9 / Ages 10-14.

Review by Tanya Boudreau.

*** /4



You're growing up, and that means lots of firsts- first period, first bra, first kiss, just to name a few. It's an exciting time, but it can be overwhelming, too. Being prepared for these changes, the obvious physical ones and the ones and the subtler emotional ones, is really important.

Maybe you've talked to your mom or older sister or cousin about what to expect, or you and your friends have dished, sharing everything and anything you know. There'll be advice coming at you from everywhere, and lots of what you'll hear will be true. But you might also hear stuff that isn't right. This book will set things straight.


internal artAnne Katz's first book for young adults prepares girls for the changes that attend puberty. Starting with the physical changes that come with breast development and menstruation, the author then segues into information about emotional and mental changes that result in mood swings and first crushes. Decision making and communication skills are incorporated into the sections dealing with peer pressure and cliques, and tips on personal safety and hygiene are listed in the final chapters on keeping the body and mind healthy. While there are examples of difficult situations and unexpected surprises girls may encounter during puberty, the tone of this book is positive and friendly.

     Girls are entering puberty at a young age, and this reality is reflected in the information presented in Girl in the Know. Although the book contains a wide range of information on puberty, (including short paragraphs on masturbation and sexuality), there is no information on topics such as birth control or pregnancy, and little mention of sex or sexually transmitted diseases.

      Monika Melnychuk's colorful illustrations depict girls of all sizes and ethnic backgrounds. While they engage in activities, such as reading, sports or socializing, they help reflect the message conveyed in this book about being "your be-you-tiful best, inside and out." Encouraging and constructive, a message like this can never be repeated enough at this age.

      Anne Katz, R.N., Ph.D., has written and edited books and journals in the health field. She works at the University of Manitoba as an adjunct professor and a sexuality counselor. She lives in Winnipeg, MB. Monika Melnychuk's illustrations have appeared in books, newspapers and magazines. She lives in Whitehorse, the Yukon.


Tanya Boudreau is a librarian at the Cold Lake Public Library in Cold Lake, AB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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