For more than 20 years, Julie Metzger and Robert Lehman have been meeting with children, teens, and their parents. Their goal? “To promote positive communication about pubery, sexuality, in topics around adolescence and growing up.” In Will Puberty Last My Whole Life?(Sasquatch Books, 2012), they share some of the questions preteens have asked them on these topics and offer readers honest answers.
During their classes, Metzger meets with the girls and their mothers, and Lehman with the boys and their fathers, and the book, which is designed as a flip book, addresses those topics these kids want information about. Subjects covered include family relationships, friendships, physical changes (from menstruation and pimples to facial hair and wet dreams), dating, STDs, and more.
The questions range from the poignant (“How can I make my mom seem like more of an option to talk to?” “Why would someone want to be popular by being mean? “) to the practical (“What exactly do you do on a date, anyway?” ). The authors’ responses, which vary in length from one line to a long paragraph, dispel fears, acknowledge differences, offer advice, and remind readers that puberty is a natural part of growing up.
Concerns and questions about sex, sexuality, and physical changes are often direct: “What does the semen do?” “What is the point of a porno movie?” “Are there ways for lesbian moms to have a baby?” The authors state the facts and throughout the book encourage children to sit down with parents and other “trusted adults” to find out what they think about different issues. The book is illustrated by Lia Cerizo and includes spot-art line drawings and full- and half-page color illustrations. Some of the art provides levity, some information in the form of labeled diagrams.
As teachers and parents have commented, sex-ed classes and conversations often generate many additional questions and this book tackles a number of common concerns. When it comes to the subject of puberty, anyone who is interested in “what’s on the minds of kids” will want to read this book.
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