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|The Care and Keeping of You|
|No. Of Pages: 106|
|PDF Size: 7.9 MB|
|Category: eBooks & Novels|
|Author: Valorie Lee Schaefer|
The Care and Keeping of You Summary
Periods were initially introduced to me via a cartoon. My mother brought me a huge white book with three cartoon females on the front, each wrapped in a towel and dripping wet, as if straight out of the shower, just before I entered middle school. The book was titled “The Care and Keeping of You: The Body Book for Girls” and was published by American Girl. The more you know about your body, the less strange and humiliating growing up will seem—and the simpler it will be to speak about it, “read a note to readers on the first spread.”
The comprehensive book began by stating that “everyone” goes through puberty and then divided into parts covering everything from routine body cleanliness to receiving your first period. Every page showed happy cartoon females of all ethnicities and sizes, exhibiting anything from shaving their legs to shopping for their first bra. I recall feeling a bit less terrified of what my body might become as my mother and I read the book together. My mother, on the other hand, closed the book when we completed reading about the differences between training and underwire bras. “When you’re older, we’ll read more,” she remarked.
I couldn’t wait any longer. That night, I snatched the book from her dresser and read about periods and vaginas while kneeling next to my room’s nightlight, learning about the hormones that would transform my body from “small girl to grown-up woman.” I went back to the book many times over the next few years, even when I finally got my period two years later.
The Care and Keeping of You was not the only book that gave me comfort. Since its first publication, the book has sold more than 5.1 million copies. It will be 20 years old in September. It was still on the best-seller list of the New York Times as recently as 2016. It has been appreciated by preteens, parents, and sex educators alike for its friendly tone and mild introduction to major physical changes.
“This book is one of the finest there is in terms of just a nice, fundamental, ‘This is your body, this is how it works, and this is what’s going to happen to it,'” says Heather Alberda, a sexuality educator with the Ottawa County Department of Public Health in Michigan.
The book was an instant top seller, and Barbara Stretchberry, an executive editor at American Girl who has been there for 20 years, recalls messages from tweens thanking her for the book. In 2013, the business updated the book with even more varied images and issued a sequel, The Care and Keeping of You 2: The Body Book for Older Girls, which focused on the emotional changes that occur throughout puberty and was aimed at readers aged 10 and older. (The original and its revised version are intended for children aged 8 and above.) American Girl has also written a number of other advice books, including one for boys called Guy Stuff: The Body Book for Males, which is a guide to puberty for boys.