Girl Talk – Lizzie Cox

Illustrations – Damien Weighill

Girl Talk is a wonderful guide for young girls that takes them through what happens to their body and mind as they go through all of the joy and drama that is puberty. I would have devoured this book growing up if it had been available back in the olden days. It includes a couple of case studies and the answers to some of the more common but often embarrassing questions young girls need to know.

This book covers a wide range of topics:

  • What puberty is
  • Why it happens and how it affects the outside of your body as well as your brain
  • Individual sections with information about breasts, bras, periods, body hair, pimples and skin care, eyes and teeth, body odour and personal hygiene, feet
  • The stages that boys’ bodies go through during puberty
  • Love and relationships
  • Sex and how babies are made
  • Contraception
  • Healthy eating and fitness
  • Body image
  • Body shaming
  • Social media and phones
  • Cyberbullying
  • Bullying and peer pressure
  • School life
  • Sexism and gender equality
  • Family talk
  • Depression
  • Growing up happy.

One of the things I love about this book is how it keeps telling its readers that what they’re experiencing is completely normal and that they’re OK!

  • One of your breasts is bigger than the other? Normal!
  • You like boys, you like girls, you like both, you like neither? Totally OK!
  • You don’t know how to tell if a bra fits you correctly? Here’s a checklist!
  • Not ready to have sex yet? Then don’t!

The writing style is engaging. While Lizzie Cox never forgets who her target audience is, she also doesn’t talk down to the girls who’ll be reading this book. Her writing style is very down to earth so no topic feels sensationalised and there’s no drama. It’s all just good common sense advice. She also consistently encourages girls to talk to a trusted adult for information and advice if they’re worried, scared or have questions. The illustrations by [author: Damien Weighill] are age appropriate, humourous and quirky at times but in good taste.

The helplines provided towards the end are UK specific and the target audience is listed as 8 to 11 year olds.

When puberty hit me I was best friends with a few extraordinarily sheltered girls from church families. I have nothing against church families but these ones in particular had their daughters so embarrassed about anything to do with their bodies that the girls wouldn’t even use the word breasts in conversations. They were referred to “up top”. Interestingly hypocritical though, one of the families had no problem at all with their 13 year old daughter that couldn’t name her body parts dating a 20-something creepy, slimy leprechaun (sorry to all the leprechauns out there for disparaging your good name!).

Needless to say these girls, while lovely, weren’t the most useful buddies to talk birds and the bees with, so my education came mostly through sneaking short reads of Derek Llewellyn-Jones’ 1971 Everywoman when my parents were out or hoping that someone had written in (using actual paper, an envelope and postage stamp) to Dolly Doctor asking one of my burning “Am I normal?” questions. For those of you that didn’t grow up in Australia, reading Dolly magazine was one of those girl rites of passages for those of us growing up in the pre-2000’s and still exists today.

I’d recommend this book for parents to give to their young girls, either for them to read alone and ask questions at the end or to go through together. It would certainly make it easier for parents to discuss topics that they may not be overly comfortable explaining to their daughter. It would also be a great addition to public and school libraries, and during school sex ed classes. There’s also a companion book by the same author and illustrator called Guy Talk which I haven’t personally read but if it’s anything like this book I would recommend it by association.

Thank you very much to NetGalley and Quarto Publishing Group – QEB for the opportunity to read this book.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

From puberty to relationships, social media to school, this essential guide for girls growing up covers everything you have always wanted to know but were afraid to ask. Growing up can be hard and, at times, embarrassing. This funny yet sensitive book is here to offer practical advice and helpful information to help make growing up just that little bit less scary. Covering daunting but important subject such as personal hygiene, different types of bulling, relationships, and how to stay safe online, this book features case studies and questions from “real-life” anonymous readers to explore those embarrassing questions you don’t want to ask! Written by a former teen magazine editor and with funny illustrations and diagrams throughout, this is the go-to guide for any girl going through or approaching puberty.

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