Talking Puberty: A Tool to Help


I had the great pleasure of meeting Dr. Cara Natterson last October. She is a pediatrician from California with a unique pediatric consulting practice, and a passion for family education. During our dinner, she shared her newest project with American Girl. (Now before you all hide your wallets and shield your daughters’ eyes... stay with me.)

Although American Girl is most well known for its dolls, boutiques, and cafes; American Girl is also known for one of the most popular books about growing up. The Care and Keeping of You (TKCY) has sold well over 3 million copies since its publication date in 1998; and has been a long-time, go-to recommendation for my female patients who are beginning body changes. 

Since its original publication, TKCY had been recommended for girls 8 years and older. The book’s challenge, however, was adequately covering biology for a wide age audience. Specifically, most parents and I agree some topics in the “old” TKCY were not necessary for a just-curious-8-year-old to discover. 

The great news is that Dr. Natterson has partnered with American Girl to author a new book, The Care and Keeping of You 2(TKCY2). This new edition becomes the 2nd volume in what is now a 2-part set. The more “biologically-advanced” material originally available in TKCY has been moved to TKCY2; creating a slower, smoother transition in puberty topics within the series. TKCY is now more appropriately tailored for girls with initial curiosities about their body, while Dr. Natterson’s TKCY2 is more tailored to girls who have already entered puberty. 

In TKCY2, Dr. Natterson does an excellent job of providing a global approach to presenting puberty. Information about biology is presented with straight-forward diagrams and language, while maintaing age-appropriate grace. The greatest strength of TKCY2, however, is that anatomy is only one quarter of the book! 

The majority of TKCY2 is great information on growing up topics that many girls are eager to know. Sleep, mood changes, healthy food choices, body image and self esteem are just a few. Girls reading the book can relate to the well illustrated examples, and be reassured that their experience of body changes and emotional experiences are shared by many others.

Puberty and body changes can be difficult topics to discuss with our children. Finding strong resources to help with questions and answers can also be challenging. Dr. Natterson’s TCKY2 provides a solid solution for both parents and girls beginning these conversations. This book is a great reference to read with your daughter, or a book you can hand to your daughter with confidence to read on her own; allowing self-discovery and self-awareness about growing up. 

For more information on TCKY2, visit the American Girl website. And don’t miss this great list of conversation startersfor girls of all ages. 

Good luck.