By Valorie Lee Schaefer, illustrated Josee Masse, Cara Natterson MD, medical consultant
American Girl, 2012 Revised edition
Middle grade non-fiction, ages 8 and up
ISBN: 1609580834/ 978-1609580834
Last December, during one of our regular and highly ritualized Taco Nights, I asked my nine-year-old goddaughter, a loyal Girls of Summer reader since 2011, “Hey, Yumi, what book would you recommend for Girls of Summer next year?”
My girl had a title at the ready. “The Care & Keeping of You!” she shouted, as she loaded up my plate with tofu crumbles, jalapenos, and black olives.
Yumi is a good reader and a great thinker. As an athlete, a scholar, and a performer, she values keeping herself healthy in body, mind, and spirit. Naturally, I took her advice.
Not only do girls need information about health from multiple trusted sources, such as parents and teachers, they also deserve a way to learn and reinforce good information privately, if and when they so choose.
Owning a trusted book about the beauty and wonder of being female and being given the free time to explore such a book can ease a girl’s anxiety about the physical and emotional changes she’s experiencing and the changes to come. Books like this one introduce and normalize a positive lexicon of body-words and concepts to help girls to process the biological facts of how girls transform into women.
The Care & Keeping of You offers a friendly and informative exploration of the female body with illustrations depicting girls of all shapes, sizes, races, and ethnicities. But it’s not only physical health that’s covered. The World Health Organization defines health as, “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” The authors of this book embrace the same kind of holistic approach to health information. Parents will appreciate that the content aims to build girls’ confidence and pride, as well to encourage girls to talk about their bodies with their parents. – Gigi