Knowledge is power, and I believe in girls being empowered. Girl Stuff 8 – 12 by Kaz Cooke does just that. It gives them the knowledge to cope with the modern world of being a ‘tweenager’.
The book is delightfully illustrated by the Kaz Cooke cartoons which add a light touch some heavy matters. I am an admirer of her other books ‘Up the Duff’ and ‘The Real Guide’, a book on parenting and ‘kidwrangling’.
For those who want their daughters’ information to come from a factual source and not playground whispers, this book is ideal.
There is a section on physical changes for the targeted age group, 8 – 12, with such practical advice as getting a period kit together and what to expect during a period. This section talks about changes in hair and skin.
The section on being healthy focuses on the importance of exercise and eating. A double page spread is called ‘Stuff Girls do for fun and Exercise’. The advice on eating is sensible emphasising a ‘diet’ should be to improve health.
The different types of families are outlined and the topic of abuse in families discussed with phone numbers, people and organisations to approach are given. There are good suggestions on improving communication with parents and understanding a parent’s viewpoint.
Friendship can be a fraught area of children’s lives. The book discusses strategies for dealing with bullying, the dynamics of friendship groups and coping with peer pressure. There are dot point suggestions of what to say and do in situations that arise in a young person’s social interactions. This chapter also has sound practical and legal advice on cyber friendships. The targeted audience is, of course, legally not able to open social media accounts. There is an advice to parents section on managing a child’s internet life. There are also positive notes on the wonderful value of friendship.
The last section deals with moods and emotions, including grief, being sad or depressed. Tips on handling anger are also given. I thought the ‘Top Ten Ways to be Strong’ and ‘Top Ten Cheer Up Hints’ were a great idea.
At the end, there are decorated pages for the reader to record their thoughts such as Dreams, Ideas, Adventures.
There are lists of books, movies, real life heroines, fictional heroines at the end also.
A guide to further information in books and websites for girls and parents is also given.
We’ve come a long way from the Mothers’ and Daughters’ evenings of the 1950s.
What I really like is that the book gives sound, practical advice to girls and parents, communicating the joy of living.