Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume

9781481409940_p0_v3_s260x420 Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.

by Judy Blume

Reading Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret was a rite of passage when I was a certain age, and I remember reading it several times over.  As my twin daughters are approaching 11 and already experiencing some of the ups and downs of adolescence, I’ve been thinking back on that beloved book and wondering, first, how I might perceive it now as an adult, and second, if it would be a good choice for my daughters at this point.  Rather than digging my old hardback copy out of the dusty box on a high shelf in the garage where I’m pretty sure it’s located, I bought a new paperback copy to read, and then to pass on to my girls, depending.

Two things I worried about when I started re-reading it were: was it God-heavy? (It was hard to remember.) And, was it outdated?  I mean, let’s face facts: this book is now FORTY-FIVE years old.

Well, I loved it, I really did.  Yes, some things about it are outdated – like Margaret’s mother setting her hair in rollers (nobody does that anymore, do they?), “supper parties,” and plaid dresses with loafers.  But those are superficial things.  The story itself is timeless – a young girl caught in that angsty middle place of no longer being a little kid, but not quite being a young woman yet – watching her body change and wanting it to hurry up and change faster, navigating friendships and high emotions, and suddenly realizing that boys aren’t so yucky.

It’s also not at all God-heavy, as I feared it might be.  If anything, it speaks to the confusion and ambivalence kids and teens may have about God and religion.

I cried at the end when Margaret finally (finally?!) gets her period – even though I remembered that part, so it wasn’t a surprise.  Honestly, it just brought up a lot of emotions for me – remembering what this book meant to me when I was that age, remembering getting my own first period (and being thrilled, not scared!), and anticipating the changes coming down the pike for my own daughters.

In writing this book all those years ago, Blum really had her finger on the pulse of girls of a certain age.

I handed the book over to Daisy, one of my twins, this morning, and by lunch time she was halfway through it.  May it mean as much to her as it did to me.

The Boy’s Body Book by Kelli Dunham and Steven Bjorkman

the-boys-body-book_1The Boy’s Body Book: Everything You Need to Know for Growing Up YOU (Boys World Books)
by Kelli Dunham and Steven Bjorkman

PUBERTY.  It’s a rare parent who can utter that word aloud without shuddering, or at least squirming a little.  Eventually, though, we all find ourselves face to face with people who resemble our sweet children, but who seem to have been taken over by cranky aliens.

I have found myself in just such a situation lately with my second son, age 10 1/2.  It’s not full-blown puberty yet, but it’s a-comin’; oh, the mood swings!  The tantrums!  The storming off!  And while I pride myself on being able to have frank conversations with my kids about most things under the sun, sometimes it helps to have a book at one’s disposal to get the conversation started, or to further the conversation.

boysbodybook02

I actually stumbled across this book on Amazon while I was searching for something of a similar nature geared towards girls, because my twins aren’t far behind.  I’m really glad I found this book for boys.  It covers all the important stuff – stuff, I’m pretty sure, that is covered in what used to be the Fifth Grade Growth and Development Film shown at school, but which is now, apparently the Sixth Grade Growth and Development Film (probably a year too late, since by sixth grade, most boys are knee-deep in a lot of these changes already) in our school district.  It covers everything from body odor to body hair to peer pressure, to feelings – all in straightforward, down-to-earth language.

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I read it cover to cover in about an hour, and will be leaving it in my son’s room for him to read at his leisure.  I’m hopeful that it will ease his mind about what he’s experiencing, and provide a springboard for further conversation between him and me, him and his dad, or even him and his older brother.

Highly recommend.