Every year, we devote our Jan-Feb New Moon Girls magazine to some of the big changes that girls go through while growing up. It can be a time of her life when it feels like nothing, from friendships to her relationship with parents, to her body or emotions, stays the same. The books below can help get all of you through some of the rough patches and remind her that she’s not alone.

Real Life

For more than 20 years, The Care & Keeping of You 1: The Body Book for (Younger) Girls by American Girl has been the go-to book about the emotional and body changes that happen with puberty. You can learn how to care for your various body parts (from ears to toes and everything in between!) and get your big questions about breasts and periods answered. If you’re an older girl who has already gone through puberty, you might want to check out The Care & Keeping of You 2: The Body Book for (Older) Girls.

For a more in-depth guide to body changes, check out Bunk 9’s Guide to Growing up: Secrets, Tips, and Expert Advice on the Good, the Bad, & the Awkward by Adah Nuchi. This book’s handwritten letters, drawings and cartoons will make you feel like your best friend or older sister is sharing “everything there is to know about being comfortable with your changing body.”

Of course, there’s more changing in your life than just your body. Caring for your mind is just as important as taking care of your body, and The Book of No Worries: A Survival Guide for Growing Up by Lizzie Cox and Tanja Stevanovic can help. It covers the day-to-day worries like fitting in and responding to peer pressure, as well as the bigger issues like depression, bullying, and romantic relationships.

If you’re shy, big changes can feel especially hard. That’s where the “Shy Guide” books, which have advice tailored specifically to shy kids, can help. Books in the series include That’s Awkward!: The Shy Guide to Embarassing Situations by Megan Cooley Peterson; Quiet Confidence: The Shy Guide to Using Your Strengths and Getting Out and Getting Along: The Shy Guide to Friends and Relationships by Karen Latchana Kenney; and The Science of Quiet People: The Shy Guide to the Biology of Being Bashful by Ruth Bjorklund.

This Book Gets ME

Sometimes, a good story about someone who is going through something you can relate to is better than any self-help book on the shelves. See if one of these might be a good fit for the changes you find yourself facing.

Do you ever feel like your moods change as often as the weather? In Shouting at the Rain by Lynda Mullaly Hunt, Delsie loves tracking the weather — but she feels like all the biggest storms are happening in her own life. She’s starting to long for a “regular family” after she’s lived with her Grandma her whole life, and one of her best friends is growing apart from her. Can she find new friends and the inner strength to weather the storms life throws at her?

Life is constant change for December in Extraordinary Birds by Sandy Stark-McGinnis. She doesn’t know where her next foster home will be, but she’s sure she won’t be there for long — because she believes wings will burst from her back and allow her to fly away to her real home and find her mom. But when she ends up with foster mom Eleanor, who cares for injured birds, December starts to know what home feels like. Will it be enough for her to give up her dreams of flight for good?

You deserve to be extra kind to yourself in the midst of all these changes, and the Girls’ Home Spa Lab by Maya Pagan can help you do just that. It’s filled with recipes for restful teas, facial scrubs, soothing baths, and more. Plus, you’ll find lots of information about getting your period, body hair, and other topics related to growing up

Girls Home Spa Lab book
From Girls’ Home Spa Lab

There are few changes as scary as having someone you love facing a serious illness or injury. That’s why 12-year-old Josephine doesn’t want to tell anyone that her mom has breast cancer in Pink Hair and Other Terrible Ideas by Andrea Pyros. But then her brother dyes his hair pink in support of their mom, and it’s all anyone can talk about. Suddenly Josephine is questioning all her priorities, like whether it’s OK for her to care so much about getting invited to the best parties when her mom is sick.

cover of the book Pink Hair and Other Terrible Ideas

What about you? What are your favorite books about changes and growing up? Have you read any of the books listed above? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

Lacey Louwagie is an adult writer and editor who got her first editing job with New Moon Girls in 2002. She is currently an editor for a legal news organization, which means she reads a lot of lawsuits! She has also been a teen services librarian and coordinates book-related goodies for New Moon Girls. She is the author of “Rumpled,” a retelling of Rumpelstiltskin for ages 14 and up, and the co-editor of “Hungering & Thirsting for Justice: True Stories from Young Adult Catholics.”

Lacey Louwagie is an adult writer and editor who got her first editing job with New Moon Girls in 2002. She is currently a freelance writer and editor and stay-at-home parent of 2 little boys. She has been a teen services librarian and coordinates book-related goodies for New Moon Girls. She is the author...

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  1. As a former school nurses and mentor for girls I really liked the read in that sex should be pleasurable for them as well that’s a really tough topic to approach

  2. So glad they are helpful, Julie. There are so many great books out there for girls that as a book-lover who cares about girls, I love doing what I can to match the two up!

  3. I love getting all these suggestions. I will be checking them out at the library or local bookstores. As a parent they are so helpful