Girl to Girl Honest Talk About Growing Up and Your Changing Body

by Alli Arnold and Sarah O'Leary Burningham

Author Alli Arnold and Sarah O Leary Burningham Isbn 9781452102429 File size 8 4MB Year 2013 Pages 136 Language English File format PDF Category Family and Friendship Being a girl isn t always easy and growing up is far from a walk in the park This time of transition is particularly confusing without a confidante to help Meet Sarah O Leary Burningham a real life big sister here to coach preteens through all of life s big moments from first bras to first periods Filled with letters and te

Publisher :

Author : Alli Arnold and Sarah O'Leary Burningham

ISBN : 9781452102429

Year : 2013

Language: English

File Size : 8.4MB

Category : Family and Friendship

For my sisters: Annie, Katie, and Jennie. Thanks for always being there—
before, during, and after puberty.
And for my daughter, Leigh. I will always be here for you.
—S. B.

Note: Names have been changed to protect girls who shared their stories.
Text © 2014 by Sarah O’Leary Burningham.
Illustrations © 2014 by Alli Arnold.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form
without written permission from the publisher.
ISBN 978-1-4521-1625-9
The Library of Congress has catalogued the previous edition as follows:
Burningham, Sarah O’Leary.
Girl to girl : honest talk about growing up and your changing body / by Sarah O’Leary
Burningham ; illustrated by Alli Arnold.
pages cm
Audience: 8-12.
Audience: Grade 4 to 6.
Includes index.
ISBN 978-1-4521-0242-9 (alk. paper)
1. Girls—Health and hygiene—Juvenile literature. 2. Teenage girls—Health and hygiene—
Juvenile literature. 3. Beauty, Personal—Juvenile literature. 4. Grooming for girls—Juvenile
literature. I. Arnold, Alli, illustrator. II. Title.
RA777.25.B87 2014
613’.04242—dc23
2013008427
Design by Jennifer Tolo Pierce.
Typeset in Adelle, Galaxie Polaris, Girard Script, and Prater Block One.
The illustrations in this book were rendered in pen, ink, and digital color.
Chronicle Books LLC
680 Second Street, San Francisco, California 94107
Chronicle Books—we see things differently. Become part of our community
at www.chroniclekids.com.

Contents
INTRODUCTION
Girl Talk
First Things First: Your Body’s Time
Is the Right Time
CHAPTER ONE
Let’s Start at the Top!: Everything from Skin
to Glasses, Hair, and Your Happy Smile
CHAPTER TWO
Body Basics: Growth Spurts, Body Odor, Sprouting Hair,
and Other Changes Happening on the Outside
CHAPTER THREE
Bust-ed!: Buds, Breasts, and Bras
CHAPTER FOUR
Let’s Talk, Period: What You Need to Know About
Menstruation
CHAPTER FIVE
Be Good to Your Body: All About Healthy Habits
CHAPTER SIX
You Are Still You!: Dealing with the Emotional Parts
of Puberty
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

INDEX

INTRODUCTION

Girl Talk
As the oldest of four girls, I had plenty of girl talk while I was growing
up. I was the first of us to develop, which means my sisters came to me
with lots of questions. We talked about everything, from shaving our
legs to wearing bras. Since then, I’ve written a few books for girls, and
I’ve had the chance to interview thousands of teens. I’ve gotten
countless questions—and real-life stories—from girls like you about
what it’s like to grow up. So, while you read this book and go through
puberty, think of me as a big sister. I’ve been there, and I’m going to
share everything I know.
I remember the day in fifth grade when I officially learned about
puberty. The boys left the classroom with the gym coach, and the girls
stayed with our teacher. She drew the shades and turned on an
animated video about our bodies. It was hard not to giggle at the
cartoon character on the screen, especially when she clutched her
stomach and said, “I have cramps!” All of us were laughing nervously.
Sure, it looked funny in the movie, but were cramps really going to be
that bad? And what about all the other stuff—like wearing deodorant
and actually getting my period?
That night, my mom sat me down and asked if I had any
questions. I’d had so many while I was sitting in class, but I was
nervous—even with my own mom!—and the entire video was jumbled
in my brain. My mom told me I would probably have lots of questions
during the next few years. And I did! There’s no way I could’ve figured
out the answer to every single thing in that one night. With every
change, whether it was shaving my armpits or using tampons, I had
new questions. And you will, too.

Whether you’re feeling ready for puberty or a little unsure of
what’s happening inside you, this book is here to help you along the
way. We’ll talk about all the changes you can expect and how to deal
with them. Whether you want to know how to find the right bra size or
how to deal with acne, I’ll help you get to the bottom of things, as well
as explore common rumors and myths. I also answer questions from
real girls that deal with everything from how to handle sweat stains to
whether it’s okay to swim when you have your period. Your body is an
amazing thing, and understanding how it works will help you be
healthy and happy.
I was lucky that my mom was around to answer my questions,
and you have people who care about you, too. While you’re reading this
book and thinking about all the changes you’re going through, be sure
to talk to your parents or another adult you trust. It might feel
embarrassing to talk about your body—it’s normal to want to keep
some things private—but they’re here to help. Even though it might be
hard to imagine, every single woman you know has been through what
you are going through, from your female teachers to the latest movie
star to your mom or stepmom. And men have to go through puberty as
well (though it’s a little different for them), which means you shouldn’t
feel embarrassed talking to your dad or stepdad or another trusted
adult male. Puberty is part of growing up for everyone.
The most important thing to remember while you’re dealing with
all these body changes is how amazing you are. Even though I giggled
when I watched that video in my fifth-grade class, I remember thinking
how impressive it was that my body would just know, on its own, when
it was time to start growing up. Think about it. An airplane can’t fly
itself, and even the fastest computer in the world needs someone to
turn it on. But your body is able to figure out exactly what to do and
when to do it so you develop into a woman. How cool is that?

So over the next few years, remember to be patient with your body
—and yourself. Growing up is an adventure, and that means you’ll have
some ups and some downs. But I’m here to help you get through it all
and have fun in the process. Ready? Let’s get going!

Experts Praise Girl to Girl
“Girl to Girl is an engaging resource for girls going through
puberty. Sarah O’Leary Burningham addresses the wide range of
emotional and physical changes that girls experience in a way
that is comprehensive, fun, and caring.”
—Mark A. Schuster, MD, PhD, William Berenberg Professor of
Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, Chief of General
Pediatrics at Boston Children’s Hospital, and co-author of
Everything You Never Wanted Your Kids to Know About
Sex (But Were Afraid They’d Ask)
“Ever wish you had a smart, savvy, cool big sister to give you the
inside scoop on your changing body and emotions? Sarah
O’Leary Burningham delivers! Practical and confidence-building,
she covers everything from taking care of your changing hair
and face, to a great how-to for learning to shave your legs. Going
through puberty leaves some feeling alone and confused. Girl to
Girl leaves girls feeling understood and self-assured.”
—Alan Greene, MD, Pediatrician, father, speaker, and author
of Feeding Baby Green and Raising Baby Green
“Girl to Girl is the perfect guide for girls going through the many
changes of adolescence! The friendly text, positive attitude, and
expert information (from grown-up girls who have ‘been there

and done that’ as well as some medical professionals) provide
reassuring advice for young women. I highly recommend this
book to my patients who are looking for healthy ways to deal
with tween and teen hygiene, practical tips for buying bras, and
a whole lot more!”
—Jennifer Shu, MD, Pediatrician, mom, speaker, and co-author
of Food Fights and Heading Home with Your Newborn, and
editor of Baby & Child Health
“Growing up is never easy, but with today’s media pressure on
girls to be perfect, it is wonderful to read Girl to Girl, a lovely,
engaging book for kids going through the transition into
puberty. It’s a great book for girls to share with their mums, as it
will open up dialogue easily and make asking and answering
those often embarrassing questions a breeze! The friendly,
conversational tone and lively pictures will make it fun to
explore the exciting changes involved during puberty.”
—Sue Atkins, Parenting coach, speaker, and author of
Parenting Made Easy: How to Raise Happy Children
“The illustrations, organization, and tone of voice are all pitch
perfect for girls entering puberty. Girls will have fun reading this
terrific health and hygiene chapter book by themselves, and
following up afterwards with questions for mom. Girl to Girl will
help every girl hold up a thoughtful mirror to her concerns about
her changing body, and in a way that should minimize
obsessions with body image.”
—Joan Jacobs Brumberg, Professor at Cornell University and

author of The Body Project: An Intimate History of American
Girls and Fasting Girls: The History of Anorexia Nervosa
“Girl to Girl is a must-read for girls and their parents. Filled with
practical, sensible, and informative advice from an array of
experts and written in a reassuring big sister tone, it’s sure to be
a great conversation starter for parents who want their
daughters to be confident in their changing bodies. Sarah
O’Leary Burningham has put together an important resource for
girls who will find answers to all of their questions about what’s
happening with their bodies as they grow up. An added bonus is
the wonderful illustrations which help ease discussion about
some sensitive topics.”
—Sue Scheff, Founder of Parent’s Universal Resource
Experts, Inc. (P.U.R.E.™) and author of Wit’s End: Advice and
Resources for Saving Your Out-of-Control Teen
“As adult women, we sometimes forget what it feels like to be a
young girl entering puberty in a body image–obsessed culture.
Sarah O’Leary Burningham has not forgotten. Girl to Girl will
enable girls to navigate the sometimes treacherous passage into
womanhood while holding on to a healthy sense of self-esteem. I
wish Girl to Girl had been available for me and my daughters.”
—Kate Della-Piana, LCSW, Executive Director, Family
Counseling Center

First Things First
Your Body’s Time Is the Right Time
Even though puberty seems like it’s all about physical changes in your
body, it actually starts inside your brain. When you reach a certain age
—for most girls, between eight and twelve years old—your brain starts
sending out hormone signals to your body that it’s time to get ready for
puberty. You won’t know that these signals are happening—they’re
part of your normal body function, just like breathing.
Using these hormone signals as instructions, your body starts
doing its job—growing. I mean really growing. Puberty usually lasts
three to four years, and during that time you will become taller and
rounder, your breasts will develop, you will start your period, and you
will grow pubic hair and hair on the rest of your body. You are a
growing machine! It’s a lot of work for your body, so your brain keeps
the hormones pumping, which is why you might feel emotional during
puberty, too.
It’s important to remember that you’ll start on this puberty
journey at the time that’s right for your body. Since every girl has a
different body, you can’t expect to start developing at an exact age or in
a certain grade, and you probably won’t develop at the same time as
your friends or classmates. Some girls start maturing early, while
others are “late bloomers.” You might start puberty around the same
age your mom did, but there’s no guarantee. When I started my period, I
was almost four years younger than my mom was when she got hers,
but my sister started at the same age as my mom. Don’t worry if you
are at a different stage than your sister or friends. Just like no one else
on earth has your same fingerprint, no other girl will have your exact
same experience going through puberty. And that’s a good thing. You

are 100 percent original!

CHAPTER ONE

Let’s Start at the Top!
Everything from Skin to Glasses,
Hair, and Your Happy Smile
Wash Your Face!
Now that you are going through puberty, you need to start washing
your face every single night to keep it clean after a busy day at school
or playing softball with friends. Most girls who wash their faces right
before bedtime don’t need to worry about doing it again in the morning.
Skin care expert Dr. Rosemarie Ingleton, director of Ingleton
Dermatology in New York City, says, “the most common mistake that
young girls seem to make when dealing with skin care is they wash
their faces too much. They think that every problem they have on their
skin is due to dirt—so they wash and scrub and wash again.” Your skin
needs some oil to be healthy. Don’t strip all the oils from it by washing
your face too much or being too rough—no harsh scrubbing!
A regular bar of body soap is too harsh for most girls’ faces.
Instead, Dr. Ingleton recommends using a “gentle soap-free liquid
cleanser.” You can get effective, inexpensive cleansers at the drugstore.
Don’t worry about whether it’s a name brand. Just make sure the label
says “noncomedogenic,” which means it won’t block your pores. If you
have more than a few pimples, talk to a parent about trying an overthe-counter acne cleanser with benzoyl peroxide. Just be careful, since
this medication can dry out skin, causing itching and redness. You may
want to apply a thin layer of lotion to your face after washing,
especially if you have dry skin. (I do.) Again, you want to use
noncomedogenic lotion, and there’s no need to go overboard. More is

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