Thursday, November 9, 2017

CYBILS JUNIOR HIGH NONFICTION NOMINEE: Girling Up by Mayim Bialik


ABOUT THE BOOK

Mayim Bialik, star of The Big Bang Theory, puts her Ph.D. to work as she talks to teens about the science of growing up and getting ahead. A must-have book for all teenage girls.

Growing up as a girl in today's world is no easy task. Juggling family, friends, romantic relationships, social interests and school sometimes it feels like you might need to be a superhero to get through it all! But really, all you need is little information.

Want to know why your stomach does a flip-flop when you run into your crush in the hallway? Or how the food you put in your body now will affect you in the future? What about the best ways to stop freaking out about your next math test?

Using scientific facts, personal anecdotes, and wisdom gained from the world around us, Mayim Bialik, the star of The Big Bang Theory, shares what she has learned from her life and her many years studying neuroscience to tell you how you grow from a girl to a woman biologically, psychologically and sociologically.


REVIEW

I wasn't sure what to expect when I picked up this book.  I was aware the author was/is an actress and I was impressed that she also had a PhD, but that's about all I knew.  I actually ended up being quite impressed with the quality of the writing, the readability of the book, and the wide coverage of topics important to teenage girls.  That's not to say that I agreed with everything she said because I didn't, but that's mostly because of my own personal beliefs.

There ended up being a lot of information and advice in the book that I wish I'd had in junior high and high school.  Information about puberty and the bodily changes that occur during that time.  Advice about emotional and social changes and desires, including friendship and romantic relationships.  Bialik goes on to cover topics related to nutrition and exercise, school and learning, and making a difference in the world.  I think what makes the book so easy to relate to is the author's willingness to share some of her own struggles with 'girling up'  Her suggestions for learning to cope with stress and learning to take care of ourselves in healthy ways are especially valuable.

For those concerned about content, the book does give basic, science-based explanations of the changes that happen to both girl's and boy's bodies during puberty (including diagrams).  Descriptions of what sex is, the impact it can have on you as a girl, and the importance of consent are all part of the section on love.  Information about contraception and birth control as well as warnings about relationship abuse and rape are also included.

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