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Sex, Puberty, and All That Stuff: A Guide to Growing Up Paperback – September 1, 2004

4.4 out of 5 stars 80 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-10 - A wryly humorous approach to the topic, coupled with colorful cartoons, makes this a particularly friendly book. Bailey takes an honest, nonjudgmental tone in the clearly and cleverly written text, busting myths, dispelling confusion, and calming fears for readers whose "world has suddenly got a whole lot weirder," thanks to raging hormones. The coverage is comprehensive, including everything from body image to crushes to STDs. The author continually emphasizes a young person's right to choose not to engage in sexual activities, although no reference to abstinence is specifically included. Teens are encouraged to wait until they are involved in a mature, loving relationship, and not give in to peer pressure. The chapters on relationships are especially insightful, highlighting the differences in how boys and girls see sex and listing reasons and ways to say "No." The comical illustrations portray a variety of teens in typical scenarios, ranging from getting a leg wax to being confronted with a broken condom to having a pelvic exam. Anatomical diagrams clearly depict and identify the different parts of internal and external sex organs. Color-blocked sidebars with pertinent information appear on nearly every spread. Lynda Madaras's The "What's Happening to My Body?" Book for Boys and The "What's Happening to My Body?" Book for Girls (both Newmarket, 2000) cover similar information with an equally reassuring tone, and include introductions for parents. - Joyce Adams Burner, Hillcrest Library, Prairie Village, KS
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Review

"Gr 5-10-A wryly humorous approach to the topic, coupled with colorful cartoons, makes this a particularly friendly book. Bailey takes an honest, nonjudgmental tone in the clearly and cleverly written text, busting myths, dispelling confusion, and calming fears for readers whose "world has suddenly got a whole lot weirder," thanks to raging hormones. The coverage is comprehensive, including everything from body image to crushes to STDs. The author continually emphasizes a young person's right to choose not to engage in sexual activities, although no reference to abstinence is specifically included. Teens are encouraged to wait until they are involved in a mature, loving relationship, and not give in to peer pressure. The chapters on relationships are especially insightful, highlighting the differences in how boys and girls see sex and listing reasons and ways to say "No." The comical illustrations portray a variety of teens in typical scenarios, ranging from getting a leg wax to being confronted with a broken condom to having a pelvic exam. Anatomical diagrams clearly depict and identify the different parts of internal and external sex organs. Color-blocked sidebars with pertinent information appear on nearly every spread."


—Joyce Adams Burner, Hillcrest Library, Prairie Village, KS

School Library Journal, January 2005
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Barron's Educational Series (September 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764129929
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764129926
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 7.8 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #191,710 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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This book is my second-favorite book to talk to boys about sex. (The best, in my opinion, is "What's going on down there?") This book is written in the style of a teen magazine, with lots of short articles and drawings. I found it annoying because it demanded a short attention span. My son, who HAS a short attention span, loved it! It discusses everything about the physical and emotional changes a teen goes through. It discusses anatomy in perhaps more detail than necessary to communicate the topic. (I liked "What's going on down there?" because it gives ENOUGH detail without reading like a pre-med textbook!) The one thing I really didn't like about this book was that it discusses both boys and girls in exhaustive detail. My 12-year old son was embarrassed to find himself faced with VERY detailed discussions of menstruation. While he needs to know about that, he doesn't need the same level of detail that a girl does, especially at this age. I think that the topic of puberty and adolescent changes is best discussed in a single-sex environment, so I give this book 4 out of 5.
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I have a daughter that is 13 years old and knows everything. Apon learning of my daughters first kiss, I decided it was time to have "THE TALK". Not knowing how to begin, I decided to cunsult the good old internet. After a few vaige articles and a few chat rooms, I decided to turn to good old books. I mulled over quite a few reading samples and still wasn't sure. I finally turned to the customer reviews. I ended up ordering three books in all. The best one by far, that covered all the topics I felt were most important was Sex, Puberty, and all that stuff. I found this book covered all the improtant subjects thourouly. I read this book by myself to ensure it covered everything, all rapped up in a nice paper package. Then I sat down and read it with my daughter It was a little uncumfortable at times, but lets face it this is not an easy subject. I feel so much better now knowing I covered all the bases. When we were done with the read (split up over four nights). I gave the book to her in case there was anything she had questions about and was to afraid to ask. I ordered three more to give to friends and family with young teenagers. This would be an excellent book for boys as well. Lets face it it's as much the boys responsibility, to keep themselves safe from unwanted pregnancy as well as STD's.
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I purchased this for my 2 sons ages 12 and 13. They really enjoyed this book and felt comfortable asking questions afterwards. This book really does give a lot of information. It is a big help when you dont know how to explain these type of things to your teens and pre-teens. Good book for all to go review together!
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I've been looking through sex ed. books, trying to find a good one for my grade school son. This one was promising, but after I read it, I decided not to share it with my son.

It's hard to write a sex education book that will please everyone. For instance, I found it to be not "sex positive" and progressive enough, while others might find that its outlook is too liberal. In that way, it's fairly balanced in its approach. It's full of a lot of good, useful information, and is certainly better than many books I've seen on the topic. The problem is, I wouldn't want to leave it on our bookshelves for my son to find, and peruse by himself, because it gets so many things wrong.

The book tends to perpetuate sexist stereotypes about boys being interested in sex, and girls not. For instance, in a section about how many boys worry about their penis sizes, the book asks the question, "What do girls think about penises?" It answers this question, "Mostly they don't think about them at all. Girls are much more interested in how boys behave." This seems very dated and untrue.

I hate to mention this, and perhaps the book's author did too; because you can't mention circumcision these days without setting off a firestorm, but here goes. The book states, "People used to believe that it was healthier and cleaner to have a circumcised penis, but these days we know that there is really no medical proof of that . . .." That's a line that's sure to please the anti-circumcision crowd. The problem is, it doesn't exactly square with what the medical profession has said, at least in the United States. It should be noted that the author lives in the UK, where doctors view circumcision very differently from in the U.S.
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makes learning about puberty fun & easy for kids. I read it to my 9 & 10 year olds and it was straight forward and honest with interpretations of other kids written in the book. Makes it not only easy to discuss but fun too !
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This book is great! I bought it to use in therapy with teens, and it covers many important topics.
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I bought this to be one part of the "library" of materials we have at home to read and discuss with our kids. I don't feel the school does a good job with growing up, puberty, sex, and relationships, so my aim was to supplement that. We are a family of introverted readers, so for us, the best way is to have books we can share together. It has opened a lot of discussion. That's one thing I will say in this book's favor--just skimming it led to some great conversations. I feel that this is the job of any decent book on the subject, whether kids talk to each other, their parents, or another trusted adult.

Now for the not so good. This book is not terrible. There is some decent material. I disagree that it's too mature for my kids--I have a 10yo and a 12yo, and it seems age-appropriate to me in terms of the type of content. However, I disagree with a lot of the way this is presented. I think the writers have an extremely heteronormative view of relationships. A lot of it plays into common stereotypes about gender, such as boys fixating on sex and girls on emotions. A good example is in the section on "homosexuality." It talks about boys exploring sex together while girls might want to "cuddle." I can assure you that girls do indeed explore with each other sexually, even if they are not gay or bisexual.

Which brings me to my beef with their explanation of bisexuality. For starters, there is nothing--not a word--about gender identity and how that interacts with puberty. So it's no wonder that they perpetuate a limited definition of bisexuality (attraction to "both" boys and girls, vs. the correct definition of "more than one gender"). They seem wholly unaware that puberty has unique challenges for people who are under the transgender umbrella.
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