American Girl Finally Released A 'Body Book' For Boys

"Our social conversation about puberty has been largely directed at girls."

Remember when you were a kid going through puberty and had no idea how best to deal with what the hell was going on with your body? Maybe you learned a few things from your health class or picked up some advice from your parents, but asking teachers, mom, or dad personal hygiene questions isn't always comfortable for the average kid. 



Luckily, lots of girls have been able to turn the pages of American Girl's The Care and Keeping of You: The Body Book for Girls to answer at least some of their questions about body hair, healthy eating, periods, pimples, and more. Filled with illustrations, advice, and facts about health from medical experts, the book has served as a resource for over three million girls to figure out how to take care of their bodies. Some parents even used it as a tool to open up great conversations about challenging topics with their kids. 

The first book was such a success, American Girl later released a second book, The Care and Keeping of You 2, for older girls. It expanded on some of the information in the first book and focused on some of the physical and emotional changes teen girls experience. 

Nearly 20 years after releasing the first book in the series, American Girl has just released a version for boys titled "Guy Stuff: The Body Book for Boys."

The author, Cara Natterson, a board-certified pediatrician, Board Chair of the Starlight Children's Foundation, and mom-of-two who hopes to help boys better understand the changes their bodies will go through. 

"Boys have very little information in the print world. Our social conversation about puberty has been largely directed at girls," Natterson said. "We are really good at talking to girls about puberty and body changes and social changes and emotional changes, but we are really bad as a society at talking to boys about it."

Just like the book for girls, this one includes helpful explanations and tips about skin care, body hair, hormones, sexual development, peer pressure, bullying, and more. It also features an entire chapter on the emotions boys may experience during puberty and explains why it's healthy that they express them. Too often, boys feel pressure to bottle up their feelings instead of letting them out. 

"Many boys have mood swings, too, but unlike the girls who may laugh or cry much more readily than they used to, boys often swing in a different direction — becoming quiet and even withdrawn. This further reinforces the socialized pattern of not talking about what is going on because boys in puberty are chemically influenced not to," Natterson said.  

Sure, there's plenty information like the stuff written in these books available for free online now. But random searches may not return results with credible information. These books offer kids facts, advice, and context from a reliable source. And, hopefully, it can help parents be a part of the conversation, too. 

"When you give kids information written directly to them, and parents read these books as well, then there's a common language and a common starting place where you can begin to have conversations. The entire goal of this series, and now for boys as well, is to start conversations between kids and trusted adults before puberty," Natterson said.

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