AMA Boy’s Guide to Becoming a Teen: Getting Used to Life in Your Changing Body, by Amy B. Middleman, MD and Kate Gruenwald Pfeifer, LCSW

AMA Boy’s Guide to Becoming a Teen: Getting Used to Life in Your Changing Body. By Amy B. Middleman, MD and Kate Gruenwald Pfeifer, LCSW.  Illustrated by Brie Spangler.  Jossey-Bass, 2006.  128 pages. $12.95

Content:  This book provides boys with an overview of the physical, emotional, social, and relational aspects of entering into the teen years.  Puberty and it accompanying body changes are explored in depth, from acne and growing taller to nutrition and the reproductive system.  There are also chapters exploring feelings, describing situations boys might find themselves in and helping them to articulate their feelings.  Changes and challenges in relationships are explored including with parents and elementary school friends.  The book provides ideas about how to address bullying, peer pressure and conflicts with peers.  This book also discusses sexuality, including crushes, dating, and sexual activity.  Boys having crushes on other boys is briefly mentioned with advice to talk to a trusted adult if the feelings are confusing.  There is mention of STD’s, sexual harassment, and sexual assault, as well as ideas for “healthy ways to be close,” ie non-sexual.  The book is illustrated with a multi-cultural cast of teenagers (all stereotypically attractive, none overweight) as well as anatomy diagrams.

Review: Overall this book provides a lot of important information in a matter-of-fact and approachable way.  It goes into detail about puberty and the other topics are addressed with less depth, but it is amazingly comprehensive, and touches on many important topics.  As mentioned above, it even speaks to boys having crushes on other boys, though it falls a bit short in stating that a boy might have those feelings, and fairly soon after telling them to talk to a trusted adult, if they feel confused.  I’m not sure that would be validating for a young boy with those feelings.  I also question how realistic some of it is, though I think it’s well intentioned, as I’m not sure teenagers who really want to have sex are going to, instead, try playing “together with a new puppy,” (p. 106), which is one of the book’s suggestions.  On the other hand, it certainly is a good message to send that there are other options, and that boys shouldn’t feel pressured into doing anything that does not feel comfortable to them.  The text is readable for all tweens, but the subject matter, particularly the discussions around sex, make it likely more appropriate for older tweens and young teens.  This would be a great one for parents to screen before giving to their child, to make sure the material is appropriate for that child’s maturity level, as they are so varied in the tween (and teen) years.

Genre(s): Non-Fiction

Reading/Interest Level: 12 -14 years

Available in: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook

ISBN: 978-0787983438

Similar Books: The “What’s Happening to My Body?” Book for Boys, The Boy’s Body Book: Everything You Need to Know for Growing Up YOU, On Your Mark, Get Set, Grow! A “What’s Happening to My Body?” Book for Younger Boys

Subjects: puberty, boys’ bodies, human bodies, growing up, hygiene, health, nutrition, sexuality, feelings, sex

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