The most recommended puberty books

Who picked these books? Meet our 24 experts.

24 authors created a book list connected to puberty, and here are their favorite puberty books.
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Book cover of Taking Up Space

Jenn Bishop Author Of Free Throws, Friendship, and Other Things We Fouled Up

From my list on middle school basketball books that show there’s more to life than the game.

Why am I passionate about this?

Despite playing precisely one year of competitive basketball myself, as a gangly sixth grader in the 1990s forced to play without her (desperately needed) glasses and capable of only granny-style free throws, I fell in love with the sport later in life as a superfan of my local college basketball team, the University of Cincinnati Bearcats. I’m forever interested in players as human beings, and the way forces from their off-court life affect the game and vice versa.  

Jenn's book list on middle school basketball books that show there’s more to life than the game

Jenn Bishop Why did Jenn love this book?

Body image issues affect so many of us, and it can feel particularly acute in the middle school years, when our bodies are undergoing so much change. Though it’s been decades, I palpably remember how strange my growth spurt felt from the inside and how it changed my confidence.

In Alyson Gerber’s excellent book, Sarah is used to excelling on the basketball court, but when the shots stop falling, she’s quick to blame her changing physique and takes matters into her own hands to rectify things by drastically altering her eating habits.

Gerber handles this material with empathy and compassion, never talking down to the reader or getting preachy. Whatever your gender (body image issues are hardly limited to girls), there’s so much to relate to in this story.

By Alyson Gerber,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Taking Up Space as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

From beloved author Alyson Gerber comes another realistic contemporary novel perfect for fans of Judy Blume. 

Sarah loves basketball more than anything. Crushing it on the court makes her feel like she matters. And it's the only thing that helps her ignore how much it hurts when her mom forgets to feed her.
But lately Sarah can't even play basketball right. She's slower now and missing shots she should be able to make. Her body doesn't feel like it's her own anymore. She's worried that changing herself back to how she used to be is the only way she can…


Book cover of Wait, What?: A Comic Book Guide to Relationships, Bodies, and Growing Up

Shafia Zaloom Author Of Sex, Teens & Everything in Between: The New and Necessary Conversations Today’s Teenagers Need to Have about Consent, Harassment, Healthy Relationships, Love, and More

From my list on healthy sexuality and relationships.

Why am I passionate about this?

Shafia Zaloom is a health educator, parent, consultant, and author whose work centers on human development, community building, ethics, and social justice. Shafia has worked with thousands of children and their families in her role as teacher, coach, administrator, board member, and outdoor educator. She has contributed articles to The New York Times, The Washington Post, and numerous parenting blogs. Shafia’s book, Sex, Teens, and Everything in Between has been reviewed as “the ultimate relationship guide for teens of all orientations and identities.” It is one that “every teen, and every parent and educator - and every other adult who interacts with teens - should read.”

Shafia's book list on healthy sexuality and relationships

Shafia Zaloom Why did Shafia love this book?

This fun and approachable book is fantastic! A prime pick for any preteen or young teen. Inclusive of many different genders, orientations, and other identities, this book covers relevant and important topics like body and body image, the media and cultural messages (in particular around bodies and sex), sexual and gender identity, gender roles and stereotypes, crushes, relationships, and feelings, as well as how to be kind, empathetic, and mature. The characters, Malia, Rico, Max, Sam, and Alexis, support each other while figuring out confusing feelings and experiences. What sets this book apart is not only how beautifully inclusive and positive the authors’ approach is, but how it empowers young people with effective questions for reflection that serve all of us no matter what age. Corinna and Rotman are expert sex educators who “get it” and all that goes along with navigating growing up in today’s realm of healthy sexuality…

By Heather Corinna, Isabella Rotman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Wait, What? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

From Heather Corinna, founder and director of Scarleteen.com, and Isabella Rotman, cartoonist and sex educator, comes a graphic novel guide that covers essential topics for preteens and young teens about their changing bodies and feelings.
Join friends Malia, Rico, Max, Sam and Alexis as they talk about all the weird and exciting parts of growing up! This supportive group of friends are guides for some tricky subjects. Using comics, activities and examples, they give encouragement and context for new and confusing feelings and experiences.

Inclusive of different kinds of genders, sexualities, and other identities, they talk about important topics like:…


Book cover of Breasts and Eggs

Michael Grothaus Author Of Beautiful Shining People

From my list on reads set in Japan.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve spent a lot of time in Japan, and my new novel, Beautiful Shining People, is a direct result of two profound experiences I had there. The first was when I was hiking through the hills of Kyoto late one night and turned around to see a glowing creature–some have said they think I saw a kami. The second experience happened when I was in Hiroshima at the Peace Park. I immediately started crying, seeing all the schoolchildren learning about the horrible atrocity committed against their ancestors. I have no idea why it affected me so much, but it was one of the most moving experiences of my life.

Michael's book list on reads set in Japan

Michael Grothaus Why did Michael love this book?

Where do I start? Breasts and Eggs is a fantastic example of contemporary Japanese literature.

The main character comes from a broken family that saw her mother die early. She feels that she is getting older and that if she is to ever have children she must act soon. But that’s only one small facet of this richly-drawn protagonist.

The novel also takes some great shots at the publishing industry, which, as a novelist, I found quite enjoyable. But most interesting is the history of this book. Kawakami originally wrote the first part as a novella, which was published in 2008.

Breasts and Eggs, published in 2019, saw her rewriting that novella and adding a second part to continue the story. If I have a favorite contemporary Japanese writer, it’s Mieko Kawakami.

By Mieko Kawakami, Sam Bett (translator), David Boyd (translator)

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Breasts and Eggs as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A BEST BOOK OF 2020
TIME Magazine・The Atlantic・Book Riot・Electric Literature・The New York Times (Notable Book of the Year)

The story of three women by a writer hailed by Haruki Murakami as Japan’s most important contemporary novelist, WINNER OF THE AKUTAGAWA PRIZE.

On a sweltering summer day, Makiko travels from Osaka to Tokyo, where her sister Natsu lives. She is in the company of her daughter, Midoriko, who has lately grown silent, finding herself unable to voice the vague yet overwhelming pressures associated with adolescence. The story of these three women reunited in a working-class neighborhood of Tokyo is told through…


Book cover of The Breast Book: A puberty guide with a difference - it's the when, why and how of breasts

Gill Rapley Author Of Baby-Led Weaning: The Essential Guide

From my list on western society’s obstacles to breastfeeding.

Why am I passionate about this?

I got hooked on breastfeeding when, during my health visitor training, our class had a lecture from Drs. Penny and Andrew Stanway, who wrote the original Breast is Best. I breastfed my own children, became a breastfeeding counsellor and lactation consultant (IBCLC), and championed breastfeeding as a health visitor and midwife. I then worked for 14 years with the UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative, teaching and supporting healthcare staff to improve standards of care for breastfeeding mothers and babies. Throughout, I gained a huge respect for babies’ abilities in relation to breastfeeding. This directly influenced my belief in their capacity to continue feeding themselves when they start solid food, which is my current focus.

Gill's book list on western society’s obstacles to breastfeeding

Gill Rapley Why did Gill love this book?

Whoever said ignorance is bliss was lying! Ignorance about one’s body is a massive obstacle to breastfeeding. As a newly qualified breastfeeding counsellor I remember being amazed at how many women become mothers without really knowing anything about how their breasts work. But why would they? In formal lessons about ‘growing up’, breasts are hardly mentioned (beyond the fact that they will appear at some point) – almost nothing about how they function, and even less about what they’re for. And, of course, most children in the UK never get to see breastfeeding in action. Emma’s book is the antidote to all that ignorance. It’s the book I wish I – and my daughter – had had, aged ten. I’m so glad it’s there for my granddaughter.

By Emma Pickett,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Breast Book as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When breasts first start to grow, no one talks about it. There aren't any greetings cards that say, 'Woo Hoo! Your breasts are developing!' but you get a birthday card when you are ten and that's just about planet Earth going around the Sun ten times.
Why don't we say, "Woo Hoo!"? Because we live in a society where we often get uncomfortable and look at the floor when it comes to talking about breasts. They seem to be important in lots of ways but then there are these confusing rules that say when we're allowed to notice them and…


Book cover of You Know, Sex: Bodies, Gender, Puberty, and Other Things

Rachel Ginocchio Author Of Roads to Family: All the Ways We Come to Be

From my list on anatomy, modern human reproduction, and family.

Why am I passionate about this?

For as long as I can remember, my parents answered any/all of my questions about the body, puberty, and sex; often giving me more information than I actually wanted! So when friends asked me questions, I was always eager to pass on my knowledge. Who knew that years later, it would land me a master’s degree in public health (MPH), jobs in sexuality health education, and a passion for writing about human reproduction and family formation? Plus, I have personal experience on the topic: I come from a three-generation family created through adoption and foster care; and overcame the trials and tribulations of infertility with the use of assisted reproduction. 

Rachel's book list on anatomy, modern human reproduction, and family

Rachel Ginocchio Why did Rachel love this book?

I’ve heard Cory Silverberg speak at various educator workshops, and I agree with his views that home is largely where sex education should take place.

Yes, of course most parents want it to happen in school as well, but home should be a place where kids can get honest answers to their tough questions. All of Silverberg’s sexual health books (they’re all worth checking out) are written to support these conversations, and You Know, Sex is no exception.

It covers all of sexual health: anatomy, puberty, consent, gender identity, sexual orientation, etc.; plus it boldly dives into controversial topics like pleasure, masturbation, and pornography.

I’m especially stoked about this book because the chapter on reproduction covers insemination, IVF, donor conception, and surrogacy. The explanations are straightforward, with informative, colorful illustrations. 

By Cory Silverberg, Fiona Smyth (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked You Know, Sex as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

2023 ALA RAINBOW BOOK LIST

A completely new approach to learning about puberty, sex, and gender for kids 10+. Here is the much-anticipated third book in the trilogy that started with the award-winning What Makes a Baby and Sex Is a Funny Word

"Silverberg's writing is fearless . . . Here is that rare voice that can talk about the hardest things kids go through in ways that are thoughtful, lighthearted and always respectful of their intelligence."   
—Rachel Brian, The New York Times Book Review

In a bright graphic format featuring four dynamic middle schoolers, You Know, Sex grounds sex…


Book cover of The "What's Happening to My Body?" Book for Boys

Rachel Ginocchio Author Of Roads to Family: All the Ways We Come to Be

From my list on anatomy, modern human reproduction, and family.

Why am I passionate about this?

For as long as I can remember, my parents answered any/all of my questions about the body, puberty, and sex; often giving me more information than I actually wanted! So when friends asked me questions, I was always eager to pass on my knowledge. Who knew that years later, it would land me a master’s degree in public health (MPH), jobs in sexuality health education, and a passion for writing about human reproduction and family formation? Plus, I have personal experience on the topic: I come from a three-generation family created through adoption and foster care; and overcame the trials and tribulations of infertility with the use of assisted reproduction. 

Rachel's book list on anatomy, modern human reproduction, and family

Rachel Ginocchio Why did Rachel love this book?

How could you not love a book written by a mother-daughter combo? It’s impossible.

Though the books in this series (My Body, My Self for Boys/Girls; What’s Happening to My Body for Girls/Boys) are getting a little old copyright-date-wise, they are packed with detailed information that I go back to over and over again, each time I pull together material for a puberty class.

Though they were written at a time before gender-inclusive language hit the scene, they cover the topics youth are most curious about; and provide checklists, games, inquiries, and other interactive activities for readers to work through. 

By Lynda Madaras, Area Madaras, Simon Sullivan

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The "What's Happening to My Body?" Book for Boys as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

Everything preteen and teen boys need to know about their changing bodies and feelings Written by an experienced educator and her daughter in a reassuring and down-to earth style, The "What's Happening to My Body?" Book for Boys gives sensitive straight talk on: the body's changing size and shape; diet and exercise; the growth spurt; the reproductive organs; body hair; voice changes; romantic and sexual feelings; and puberty in the opposite sex. It also includes information on steroid abuse, acne treatment, sexually transmitted diseases, AIDS, and birth control. Featuring detailed illustrations and real-life stories throughout, plus an introduction for parents…


Book cover of All Over Again

Joanne C. Hillhouse Author Of Musical Youth

From my list on Caribbean teen and YA for readers everywhere.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an Antiguan-Barbudan writer. When I was a teen, there weren’t a lot of books from my world. So, I was excited when the Burt Award for teen/young adult Caribbean literature was announced. While that prize ran its course after five years, it left a library of great books in this genre, including my own Musical Youth which placed second in the inaugural year of the prize. I have since served as a judge of the Caribbean prize and mentor for the Africa-leg. I love that this series of books tap into different genres and styles in demonstrating the dynamism of modern Caribbean literature. For more on me, my books, and my take on books, visit my website.

Joanne's book list on Caribbean teen and YA for readers everywhere

Joanne C. Hillhouse Why did Joanne love this book?

This has often been recommended for boys (including by me) but, since there is no such thing as exclusively boy books and girl books, I’m calling this a good book period – with a highly entertaining and deeply endearing adolescent-ish boy, surrounded by a robust cast of supporting characters, at its center. More vignettes than plot, it is rooted in character and voice – in this case, the rare and highly effective use of the second voice. Tonally, it’s a callback to the adventures of boyhood captured in Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer and the mostly harmless incorrigibility of the boy protagonist as he moves between home, school, and community (the community, in this case, being rural Jamaica), getting into trouble and growing up. It’s the heart and humour for me!

By A-dziko Simba Gegele,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked All Over Again as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

All Over Again is a hilarious and enchanting coming of age story as a young boy goes through the trials and joys and puberty, battles with his 6-year-old sister who is the bane of his existences, worries about disappointing his mother and understanding his father. He has to learn to get around the town's bully while moving beyond know-it-all Kenny. The story is energetically told and has an enchanting narrative style that pulls you into it immediately. Growing up is hard. You know this. And when your mother has X-ray eyes and dances like a wobbling bag of water? When…


Book cover of Let's Talk about It: The Teen's Guide to Sex, Relationships, and Being a Human

Meg-John Barker Author Of Sexuality: A Graphic Guide

From my list on comic books about sexuality.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a queer writer who is passionate about getting good awareness of gender, sexuality, relationships and mental health out there into the world. I create comics, zines, blog posts, and self-help style books to try to reach as wide an audience as possible, bringing together the work of activists, scholars, therapists, and creators - and drawing on a diverse range of knowledge and experiences - in the hope of helping us all understand ourselves and our world better.

Meg-John's book list on comic books about sexuality

Meg-John Barker Why did Meg-John love this book?

Most of the people I’ve spoken to received terrible sex and relationship education. This is the comic book to rectify that. Buy it for young people so that they have a better experience than you did, and buy it for yourself to make up for what you went through back then.

Let’s Talk About It is an awesome inclusive, accessible graphic book, and beautifully illustrated throughout. Erika and Matthew do a great job of covering the questions young people really want answered, through dialogues between a beautifully drawn cast of characters who are navigating their own way through this complex, confusing territory. 

The guidance given is warm, friendly, realistic, and clear, likely to alleviate much of the fear and shame we all have around these topics.

By Erika Moen, Matthew Nolan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Let's Talk about It as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

Is what I'm feeling normal? Is what my body is doing normal? Am I normal? How do I know what are the right choices to make? How do I know how to behave? How do I fix it when I make a mistake?

Let's talk about it.

Growing up is complicated.

How do you find the answers to all the questions you have about yourself, about your identity, and about your body? Let's Talk About It provides a comprehensive, thoughtful, well-researched graphic novel guide to everything you need to know.

Covering relationships, friendships, gender, sexuality, anatomy, body image, safe sex,…


Book cover of It's So Amazing! A Book about Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies, and Families

Rachel Ginocchio Author Of Roads to Family: All the Ways We Come to Be

From my list on anatomy, modern human reproduction, and family.

Why am I passionate about this?

For as long as I can remember, my parents answered any/all of my questions about the body, puberty, and sex; often giving me more information than I actually wanted! So when friends asked me questions, I was always eager to pass on my knowledge. Who knew that years later, it would land me a master’s degree in public health (MPH), jobs in sexuality health education, and a passion for writing about human reproduction and family formation? Plus, I have personal experience on the topic: I come from a three-generation family created through adoption and foster care; and overcame the trials and tribulations of infertility with the use of assisted reproduction. 

Rachel's book list on anatomy, modern human reproduction, and family

Rachel Ginocchio Why did Rachel love this book?

When I first sat down to fully explain human reproduction to my own child, I grabbed It’s So Amazing because it included explanations of insemination and IVF – subjects that most books in the genre don’t explain.

The book also covers many topics leading up to and after conception: anatomy, puberty, gestation, birth, genetics, and family. Its graphic-novel format enables readers to digest the information-rich content in bite-sized pieces, at their own pace. The book is funny and warm, and normalizes kids’ curiosity about the body.

There are two other books in this series: It’s Not the Stork and It’s Perfectly Normal. They are all great books to add to any family’s collection. 

By Robie H. Harris, Michael Emberley (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked It's So Amazing! A Book about Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies, and Families as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 7, 8, 9, and 10.

What is this book about?

From the trusted team of Robie H. Harris and Michael Emberley, this classic resource for younger children receives its most ambitious update yet.

How does a baby begin and how is it born? How did I begin? Why are some parts of kids’ bodies different from some parts of other kids’ bodies? Most younger kids have questions about reproduction, babies, love, sex, and gender too. Some also have concerns. For over twenty years, It’s So Amazing! has provided children age seven and up with the honest answers they’re looking for through age-appropriate, reassuring words and accurate, up-to-date, inclusive art. Throughout…


Book cover of I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts On Being a Woman

Leslie A. Rasmussen Author Of The Stories We Cannot Tell

From my list on captivating stories of women’s life journeys.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always gravitated towards women’s issues both in my writing and how I lead my life. I believe that women need to speak their truth to each other and gain the support of their friends who are likely going through the same thing. I have also spoken about and been on panels about women’s empowerment in midlife. I am a woman in the middle of her life, and I have lived through so many of the issues that I speak about.

Leslie's book list on captivating stories of women’s life journeys

Leslie A. Rasmussen Why did Leslie love this book?

As women age, we often hide the things that are happening to our bodies.

We can be too embarrassed to talk about the new wrinkles that are spreading on our faces, or how going through menopause makes us sometimes think we are losing our minds. Women go through so many changes both physically and emotionally in their lives, and these changes are what this book is all about.

I read this book long before I was even close to Nora Ephron’s age, but hearing how she accepted this inevitable journey made me feel so much better about what would eventually happen to my body. Nora Ephron’s writing is frank and filled with wit and charm and absolute truth, and should be a must read for all women of a certain age.

By Nora Ephron,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked I Feel Bad About My Neck as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

#1 NATIONAL BESTSELLER • A candid, hilarious look at women of a certain age and dealing with the tribulations of maintenance, menopause, empty nests, and life itself.

“Wickedly witty ... Crackling sharp ... Fireworks shoot out [of this collection].” —The Boston Globe

With her disarming, intimate, completely accessible voice, and dry sense of humor, Nora Ephron chronicles her life as an obsessed cook, passionate city dweller, and hapless parent. But mostly she speaks frankly and uproariously about life as an older woman. Utterly courageous, uproariously funny, and unexpectedly moving in its truth telling, I Feel Bad About My Neck is…